About Us

Mission Statement

Empowering Youth through Fashion Education.

United Colors of Fashion Inc. (UCOF) Academy is a New York City-based 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to providing fashion-focused:

to under-resourced youth in New York City. Under our UCOF Academy Educates: STAND, these youth are afforded opportunities to pursue their fashion careers free of charge to them. As fashion students leave school, they forfeit access to school facilities such as sewing machines, steamers and well-equipped workspace in which to create.

Due to the repayment of student loans and the inability to find work after graduation, many cannot afford to purchase items on their own, and their dream of becoming a designer gives way to harsh reality. To date, 80% of new designers go out of business within two years of inception due to lack of resources, funding and support. UCOF Academy aims to alleviate the burden of these students, allowing them to apply what they have learned in school and build their own brand.

Our WorkUnited Colors of Fashion, Inc. (UCOF) Academy is a New York City-based non-profit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to providing fashion focused:

Education | Mentorship | Counseling | Internship Opportunities
Entrepreneurial Development | Scholarships

to under-resourced youth in New York City. 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. Under our UCOF Academy Educates: Student Training Arts and Design (STAND) program, these youth are afforded opportunities to pursue their fashion careers free of charge to them. Our core mission, thanks to a dedicated compliment of staff who all volunteer their time, is rooted in our STAND program. The program allows students to learn in areas of fashion design, fashion merchandising, global fashion, PR & marketing, production and product development. Since inception the project has assisted over 350 students in gaining access to institutions of higher learning and facilitated the allocation of scholarships to them. As a means to give back, UCOF also raises funds to assist children infected and affected by HIV in South Africa. Our mission has also recently taken us to Haiti to provide medical assistance and teacher training – a mission we aim to expand in 2015.


350 students

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6 States


3 Countries



Benefactors cover out operating costs to ensure that 100% of donations are used to fund fashion education



We prove everything we do via photos and videos of all our students’ activities ensuring that every cent is accounted for

UCOF on NBC 4 New York

Ciano Clerjuste, founder and president of UCOF, Sandi Bass, casting director, and Devyn, UCOF’s global ambassador, join Janice Huff to give a preview of the 4th annual United Colors of Fashion Gala.

UCOF on Fox 5 New York News

Members of United Colors of Fashion (UCOF) talk about its upcoming Gala. Devyn, UCOF International Model Ambassador and winner of “The Face” talks about her experience being bullied.

UCOF Academy Cares: Initiative

UCOF Academy Cares: Initiative harnesses the fashion community’s compassion for those suffering with HIV/AIDS to bring relief to victims in developing countries that lack access to adequate medical care. It is estimated that 67% of the 33 million people suffering from HIV/AIDS live in Sub-Saharan Africa. In South Africa alone, there are 300,000 children living with HIV/AIDS and another 1.4 million who have been orphaned by the disease.

Since 2010, UCOF Academy Cares: Initiative has provided funds and supplies to 100 children living with HIV in South Africa. UCOF Academy partners with Mapetla Day Care in South Africa to provide financial assistance, food, and clothing to young children suffering from HIV/AIDS. UCOF Academy Cares: Initiative plans to expand this program to other parts of the world as our organization gains more traction.

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