“I tell my students, when you get these jobs that you have been so brilliantly trained for, remember that your real job is if you are free, you need to free somebody else. If you have some power, then your job is to empower somebody else.” — Toni Morrison
Founded by Kenya Hunt as a grassroots support network in 2015, R.O.O.M. Mentoring works to tackle the fashion industry’s persistent lack of racial diversity. During the course of her career, which includes roles as Deputy Editor of ELLE UK and Deputy Editor of Grazia UK, Kenya recognised the urgent need to help students and entry-level professionals of colour get a foot on the career ladder and progress within the fashion industry.
So she enlisted peers — Black and brown women and men with thriving careers in fashion — to mentor Black, brown and marginalised students from London’s top fashion schools including Central Saint Martins, Royal College of Arts and London College of Fashion. She paired students with editors, publicists, academics and stylists from brands including ELLE, i-D, Vogue, Karla Otto, Burberry, Michael Kors, and more.
And through sustained work with each student, R.O.O.M.’s mentees have gone on to secure roles at The Telegraph, Grazia, Vogue, Glamour, Refinery29, The Sunday Times Style, Farfetch and more — and gone on to be selected for Fashion East and British Fashion Council NEWGEN. R.O.O.M. is proud that some of its mentees have gone on to become mentors, sharing their knowledge with new students who have joined the group. For context, listen to Kenya’s BBC Radio 4 documentary about fashion’s race problem in the UK, and R.O.O.M.