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Sisterhood is powerful: meet our Women@Dior’s mentees

In recent years, the fashion universe and the world of education have been focusing on valuing women, helping them attain job leadership but also for greater self-awareness and self-worth. 

That’s what happened with the Women@Dior project, a programme created by the French fashion house Dior in 2017 to mentor and support many young talented women through education. With participants selected from various business – engineering, art and fashion schools – and coming from almost 58 different countries, such as France, China, Nigeria, Kenya, Costa Rica, Brazil, Iran and Bangladesh, Women@Dior focuses on five core pillars: self-care and self-awareness, autonomy, creativity, inclusion, sustainability.

 

women

This global mobilisation is part of an even larger project: we are talking about UNESCO’s Global Education Coalition, joined by Dior in 2020 on World Youth Skills Day. The first couture house to embrace this kind of educational (r)evolution, Dior opened its Women@Dior programme to over 200 female students from Nigeria, Kenya, Ghana, Tanzania, Jamaica, Pakistan, the Philippines and Sri Lanka. So, they set a milestone in supporting young women from disadvantaged backgrounds by giving them a chance to fulfil their dreams.

In the third consecutive year of a special partnership, UNESCO and Dior presented the “UNESCO & Women@Dior Global Conference” in Paris on March 2022. The event celebrated Women@Dior’s priorities, such as gender equality, access to education and inclusion, and how to inspire young women through workshops. 

Istituto Marangoni student during Women at Dior's interview

One Women@Dior's mentee selected from Istituto Marangoni London

By constantly enhancing talent, Istituto Marangoni encourages students to acquire the skills they need to enter the world of work and pursue personal growth. Of course, Women@Dior can be a key moment to enrich their cultural background. So, seven students from Istituto Marangoni London had the incredible opportunity to be selected as mentees for the class of 2022-2023. Luckily, this recruitment does not sound new to Istituto Marangoni students: in 2021, the Paris school participated in the mentorship programme with six students from different courses selected by Dior.

What about the IM talent experience? Let’s give the floor to Istituto Marangoni London’s young- students who participated in the Women@Dior programme.

Istituto Marangoni London student during Women at Dior's interview

One Women@Dior's mentee selected from Istituto Marangoni London

 

Mariia-Arianna Kerdei, Fashion Business student (year 3)

Women@Dior is a fabulous opportunity to learn and thrive within a community of women. As a participant in the mentorship programme, I completed online courses held by industry leaders around self-awareness and sustainability, met new people from all over the world, and worked in a team on a project for the #DreaminDior initiative. My greatest support during this 1-year journey was my mentor Tatiana, who motivated me to become a better version of myself and helped me overcome my challenges. 

This programme expanded my knowledge, which was also helpful for my BA in Fashion Business, as I am currently working on my business idea as an Honours project. Within the Istituto Marangoni environment, sustainability is one of the core values, which helped me develop not only the #DreaminDior project but also other academic ones. As a graduating student, I leverage every opportunity to take steps toward my future. In this respect, IM always proves to be a supportive and motivating place that brings talent together. 

 

Maria Guardiola, Fashion Business student (year 3)

It was a pleasure to be part of the Dior Mentorship Programme! Not only because Dior is one of my favourite luxury brands, with its incredible history and heritage and beautiful designs throughout the decades, but also for the brand’s desire to make a positive impact among women beyond their garments. It is truly inspiring. I learned a lot with this mentorship programme, but most importantly, I got to meet Anastasija, a truly amazing woman, and I am so glad she is my mentor. We met a few times to discuss my dreams, goals and passions for my future within the Fashion Industry. About this, she gave me some great advice, guidance and support! She also took me to the Dior Cafe and Exhibition in Harrods during the festive period –  which was beautiful!

I am currently attending my last academic year studying Fashion Business in London. After I graduate, I would like to work again for the fashion industry, which I enjoyed doing during my second academic year with Victoria Beckham and Helmut Lang; with them, I gained so much experience and made excellent connections. On top of that, I will start working on launching my own sustainable luxury ready-to-wear women’s brand! I will also keep working on as many humanitarian projects as possible, an ever-growing personal passion that led my family and me to start our charitable organisation last year.

 

Giulia Cosso, Fashion Business and Buying student (year 3)

The Women@Dior sisterhood reflects the inspiration and never-ending support between women in any situation, which is crucial in any ethnicity and culture today. It is also an opportunity to establish enduring relationships based on the values every woman aspires to live by with other powerful women from around the world.

My experiences this year have pushed me to think deeply about the topic already mentioned before, which is the value of showing support to and for other women. I am in my third year of BA in Fashion Business and Buying. Last year, I began studying topics associated with the subject I chose: buying. The assignments I have completed so far, which are all unique and intended to teach the essential concepts of what I am learning, have served as fundamental pillars to expand my knowledge.

Some Istituto Marangoni students selected for the Women at Dior Mentorship Porgramme

Some Istituto Marangoni students selected for the Women@Dior Mentorship Programme

 

Jacqueline Frey, Fashion Business student (year 3)

Being part of the Women@Dior and UNESCO Mentorship Programme taught me many things, especially how to stay in touch with myself and find ways to deal with stress through the inspiring video classes. Participating in the programme also allowed me to get to know fellow mentees from my university while joining together to create the Dream for Change project. 

As I am nearing the end of my BA in Fashion Business, I am proud to think of all the industry projects I have successfully submitted and how much I have learned that I can now implement in my final honours project and my work life. In the summer of 2022, working for the Dior Sustainability Taskforce in NYC, studying and joining the Women@Dior programme, I felt like I got to put into practice what I have learned in real life and gained a broader understanding of the luxury industry from several perspectives, emotionally, physically, and practically.

 

Veronika Alpadova, Fashion Business student

The Women@Dior Mentorship Programme was an inspiring and unique experience. Throughout this journey, I have explored and discovered new knowledge about gender quality, sustainable future, and women’s leadership. 

 

Tilda Akke, Fashion Business student (year 3)
The most rewarding part of my journey was the precious experience of having a mentor.Having someone similar to you (but more experienced), to bounce your thoughts and ideas with is priceless. It was fascinating how brilliant the matching system used by this program to pair Mentees with a Mentor works; so great as I felt a perception of confidence towards my mentor from the beginning.  Another aspect of the program that meant a lot to me is the networking aspect and how everyone in this network truly supports each other. TheUNESCO & Women@Dior programme participants build a sense of sisterhood, as every Mentee supports each other's projects and root for one another.

From the start, my academic path in Istituto Marangoni has gotten a deeper meaning for me as the tutors truly see every student as an individual and try their best to inspire and support us in reaching our dreams in a very realistic way. This has motivated me to not only perform at my best in the school projects but also to take every possibility the school offers to participate in workshops and listen to the exciting and wise speakers invited by the school. All these aspects of my education, usually outside the classroom, in the corridor or in the open spaces, have motivated me to interpret these learnings in my projects and my private and professional life. At IM, the academic path doesn't only happen during the lectures, and that has meant much to me as a student as it has made me more curious to gain further knowledge and studying more fun.

Some Istituto Marangoni students selected for the Women at Dior Mentorship Porgramme

Some Istituto Marangoni students selected for the Women@Dior Mentorship Programme
 
Silvia Tarini
Editor
 
School
LONDON
Course
Programme
postgraduate-Master's Degrees • Master's Courses