New Max Mara scholarships at Manchester Metropolitan University aim to improve diversity in fashion industry

02 March 2022

Six undergraduate students at Manchester Fashion Institute will benefit from financial support



New scholarships funded by fashion brand Max Mara will enable budding designers from underrepresented backgrounds to study fashion at Manchester Metropolitan University.

The Max Mara Opportunity Scholarships in Fashion will provide funding for six students over three years from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic backgrounds, addressing the need to improve racial diversity and inclusivity within the fashion industry.

University fashion alumnus Ian Griffiths, now Creative Director of Max Mara, has supported the creation of the scholarship and is delivering a guest lecture for current Manchester Fashion Institute students today (March 2).

Beginning in September and running until 2024, two undergraduates who are enrolled on BA (Hons) Fashion degree each year will receive scholarships to help meet living and study costs.

Max Mara Creative Director Ian Griffiths visting Manchester Fashion Insitute

Manchester Metropolitan admits more students from low-income households than any other university in the UK. In addition, around 50% of our UK undergraduate students are among the first of their family to progress to higher education and over a third of the student body identify as coming from a Black, Asian or Minority Ethnic background. The scholarship recognises the further need to provide financial support, clear career pathways and access to professional networks for underrepresented communities in the creative subjects, including fashion.

Professor Malcolm Press, Vice-Chancellor of Manchester Metropolitan University, said: “Manchester Metropolitan is proud to be one of the most diverse universities in the UK, striving to expand opportunities across all subjects and for all communities. I am delighted that Max Mara shares our ambition and grateful for their support. These generous scholarships will support wider access to higher education and enhance career opportunities for students from underrepresented backgrounds.”

These generous scholarships will support wider access to higher education and enhance career opportunities for students from underrepresented backgrounds.

Griffiths graduated from the University in the 1980s, before progressing on to the Royal College of Art and then joining Max Mara as a junior designer, to later become Creative Director.

He said: “Let’s talk about the culture of fashion. At street level, it’s hugely enriched by the participation of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic communities, but on a structural level their voices are largely absent. At Max Mara we have always thought that communities that the brand seeks to engage with need to recognise themselves within the overall brand identity: so it’s time to open up the culture of fashion. These scholarships will open the door and develop the full potential of talent which might otherwise be wasted.

"In the 1980s, Manchester Polytechnic - now Manchester Met - enabled me to launch my own career. Now, I am proud to be part of this initiative which will create opportunities for others. Like Manchester Met and Max Mara, I personally believe in tearing down any and all barriers to inclusivity.”

Max Mara

Max Mara, founded in 1951 by the late visionary Achille Maramotti, is one of the highest expression of Italian luxury and style. A contemporary collection of ready-to-wear and accessories for today’s powerful women. Recognised for its timeless designs and its luxurious fabrics, Max Mara is revered for the classification of the absolute coat, sharp suiting and modern accessories. Max Mara is distributed in 2,500 locations in more than 100 countries worldwide. The Max Mara Fashion Group counts nine different brands. The company remains privately held and managed by the Maramotti family.

Ian Griffiths speaking at Manchester Metropolitan University

BA (Hons) Fashion

The BA (Hons) Fashion programme at Manchester Fashion Institute, one of the largest fashion schools in the UK, focuses on contemporary fashion design and encourages students to be creative and experimental while challenging the conventions of fashion and textile design practices.

In the 1980s, Manchester Polytechnic - now Manchester Met - enabled me to launch my own career. Now, I am proud to be part of this initiative which will create opportunities for others.

Students follow an arts-based studio practice model through which they develop concepts and ideas using in-depth research processes and experimentation, learning how to design and make original fashion outcomes with a focus on contemporary craftsmanship.

They learn essential skills for designing and making to progress into the fashion industry, including the opportunity to develop a textile specialism such as knit, print or embroidery.

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