McDonald’s Teams Up with Black Fashion Designers for a Groundbreaking Initiative

Can we talk about how Black fashion designers are taking it yet severely underrepresented?

Despite driving the culture, Black designers make up only 7.3% of fashion designers in America. The biggest hurdle they face is funding. After most companies dismantled their DE&I departments and reverted to “normal” post-2020, the push for Black designers has fallen short. McDonald’s USA is stepping into the ring with the launch of the Black & Positively Golden (B&PG) Change of Fashion program. This innovative initiative aims to uplift and support emerging Black fashion designers, providing them with the tools and resources they need to succeed and elevate their careers.

The B&PG Change of Fashion program pairs five emerging Black designers with five industry experts for a year-long mentorship. Throughout this period, the designers will develop their own capsule collections while receiving invaluable guidance from seasoned professionals.

For designer Larissa Muehleder, the opportunity to work with McDonald’s was unexpected. A friend she knew from social media suggested she apply, and without knowing much about the opportunity, she decided to go for it. “I just feel like serendipity, like I don’t question the universe. I never want to shy away from an opportunity. So I said, you know what, what do I have to lose? If anything, it’s practice, right? Like applying and presenting yourself.”

“I applied, and then it was very, like, staticky, right? I wasn’t holding my breath or checking on it constantly. I thought, ‘Okay, cool. I did it’ Then they emailed me for an interview, I did the interview, and a few months later, they switched over who was going to reach out to me again. Now I know that if they do that, it probably means you got it.”

As a designer who’s faced letdowns in her career, Muehleder was cautious but hopeful. “Everything I thought was going to be the next big break usually turned out to be a letdown,” she admits. “But this opportunity with McDonald’s has been amazing, and it hasn’t even really started yet.”

In addition to mentorship, the program provides financial support through grants totaling $200,000, funded by McDonald’s and its Owner/Operators. Participants will also have access to expert-led masterclasses and other resources designed to help them thrive in the fashion industry.

This initiative is part of McDonald’s ongoing commitment to investing in future voices and creating bright futures for the Black community. The B&PG Change of Fashion program builds on the success of the brand’s Black & Positively Golden Change Leaders initiative, now in its third year, showcasing McDonald’s dedication to supporting diversity and inclusion in all areas of business.

Updated: June 7, 2024 — 12:02 pm