URBN, the Philadelphia-founded company behind Urban Outfitters, and Drexel University have joined forces to launch a new, barrier-breaking fashion program, writes Ariana Perez-Castells for The Philadelphia Inquirer.
The two-year apprenticeship provides students with free courses at the university along with hands-on experience as they work part-time across URBN brands at the company’s Navy Yard headquarters.
The program aims to be an alternative track into the fashion industry that does not require a traditional four-year college degree.
“A lot of kids, especially in Philly, don’t have art classes so they don’t have the ability to make a portfolio that would gain them entry into a four-year university,” said Rachel Ford, owner of Made Institute in Philadelphia, which offers fashion courses.
URBN started considering the program and having internal conversations about it in the fall of 2021. The company then approached Drexel early the next year. They started to design the program last year and opened applications this January. Six finalists were selected in May.
“It’s a game changer in terms of removing barriers to access,” said Denise Marie Snow, of Drexel’s Antoinette Westphal College of Media Arts and Design.
Read more about the program in The Philadelphia Inquirer.