Design.District fosters economic empowerment through creativity, knowledge and design to children who do not have the means or access to tools to enhance their artistic abilities. Identity Lounge is a creative workspace, dedicated to providing a unique designing opportunity for 16-20, African American/ Hispanic students. The program fosters the entrepreneurial spirit, through an “identity” process that involves creative expression, cultural awareness and self-motivation through fashion design and free enterprise. Of the 140 students we've affected, none have had basic to no art skills and to watch their creative confidence grow and become small business owners is so rewarding. Identity Lounge is so much more than just an afterschool art project. It is a safe space for marginalized young students of Coolidge SHS with an interest in the design and apparel industry to utilize the expertise of African American leaders in the fashion and business world and apply newly attained skills in a classroom setting. The program challenges some of the issues present as a result of economic injustices in communities of color, consists of a curriculum catered to the individual creative needs of each child. Young students of color participate in beginner to advanced fashion design classes, where they develop cooperative leadership skills and that will help restore economic opportunity.
Our goal is to create a space where the students WANT to be a refuge, where mentors and opportunity are accessible and where physical hunger doesn’t trump creative and financial success. It is in this space that we strive to initiate a creative business platform and opportunity for young minority artists. This coming year, 2016, will also be taking our students on field trips to other successful designer work spaces and NEW YORK FASHION WEEK, to see with their own eyes
Funded by Washington, DC (January 2016)