For many who have dreams of choosing fashion as a profession, a long difficult road lies ahead. The progression of the fashion industry has led it to create a partition between the elites who made it in and newcomers who aspire to get in. The partition proves, for most, to be a challenge too hard to confront.
It is for this reason that President of United Colors of Fashion (UCOF) Academy; Ciano Clerjuste started this one of a kind organization four years ago. His dreams of becoming a fashion designer were unfortunately deferred due to a personal tragedy. Although he chose a different career, he never forgot his dream and instead of wallowing in bitterness, he chose to invest in the dreams of the many young people who have their hearts set on the same journey.
Today, UCOF Academy actively helps under resourced youth in the tri-state area gain exposure and opportunities within the fashion industry in various fields. As interns of the UCOF Academy Educates: STAND (Students Training Arts and Design) program, which is the only one of its kind offering free training to students, these fashion hopefuls get the opportunity to learn everything about the industry. The experience they take from UCOF Academy equips them with the understanding and resolve thrive in fashion.
UCOF Academy is the first registered 501 (c)(3) organization in the U.S. to offer FREE Fashion Education to under-resourced youth. The organization is registered with New York Department of Education, NY Charity Bureau, NY Department of State and the Internal Revenue Services (IRS) as a 501 (c)(3) organization under the name of United Colors of Fashion, Incorporated.
Within its four years of inception, via UCOF Academy, Clerjuste has nurtured the dreams of 350 youths from the tri-state area by exposing them to the “behind the velvet ropes” experience of the fashion industry. In addition to educating, Clerjuste and UCOF give back by providing funds and supplies to 100 children living with HIV in South Africa. With the support of an international team of philanthropically-minded, skilled professionals with backgrounds in fashion, beauty, the arts, and business; Clerjuste‘s dream and those of many others have become a reality.
Each year UCOF Academy hosts a Gala, where funds are raised to keep the program running. This year our Gala will take place on October 8th, 2014 at the historic Lexington Avenue Armory in New York. The theme for our Gala is “PAPER DREAMS: WRITING NEW RUNWAYS”Celebrities, designers and dignitaries from all over the world attend this Gala. Previous Galas have honored Pat Cleveland (2013 Lifetime Achievement Award), Nigel Baker (2012 Fashion Icon), Fern Malis (2013 Fashion Icon), Sandi Bass (2012 Casting Director of the Year), Jan Malan (2012 Producer of the Year), Dionne Warwick (2012 Gala Co-Chair), and many other dignitaries in attendance. The students work throughout the year to make the Gala the spectacular event it is and gives them full exposure to the process of producing a world class fashion show.
We look forward to engaging you further. Please watch the video to learn more about United Colors of Fashion, Inc. (UCOF) Academy and our impact.