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Michelle Obama fashions the next big designers

CompanyDanielle Samaniego, Gap Inc. BloggerComment

Seven top fashion designers. Roughly 150 students. U.S. First Lady Michelle Obama.

That's the gist of this week's Fashion Education Workshop at the White House, hosted by the First Lady. Gap’s own Maria Chen, vice president of design, is one of the seven designers taking part. Attendees will walk away with a better grasp of how to make it in the fashion business.

The one-day session for underserved students is part of Mrs. Obama’s larger Reach Higher initiative, meant to inspire teens to further their education past high school.

“My message to these young people is that while all of us adults—teachers, administrators, and policymakers—have to do a better job of giving them the best schools and opportunities for their future, at the end of the day, they also need to step up and take responsibility for their education themselves,” the first lady wrote in a recent op-ed.

Chen will host a hands-on session on garment construction, where participants will create a garment from design to execution.

“It’s such an incredible opportunity to not only support the efforts of our First Lady, but to highlight what a career in fashion truly looks like,” Chen said. “Creating an actual garment with these students shows that such a career is within their grasp.”

Ultimately, it’s about creating opportunity. It is yet another way we continue to support education opportunities in our communities. From the Boys & Girls Clubs of America to This Way Ahead and Gap Inc. for Community Colleges, we continue to invest in the next generation of talent.

“We're doing all of this because we know that these days, a high school diploma simply isn't enough,” Ms. Obama wrote. “We need a highly trained, highly educated workforce to compete in the 21st century.”

The workshop will be held tomorrow.