Launched back in July 2020, the WGSN Future Makers mentorship programme partnered 26 individuals with mentors from WGSN, from design and sales to HR and content, drawing on our global pool of knowledge to match everyone with a mentor best placed to help them. Now, as our mentees graduate from the programme, we celebrate their time with us and find out their key takeaway from their experience.
“As someone who decided to run their own business, I was a creative who had not thought much more beyond just selling my work online. I gained so much confidence in my approach because of the business advice given by my mentor. She advised me to shift some of my focus away from the product and look at how I was running it as a business. Now I have spreadsheets for everything and a point of sale system. I carried out a social media audit and developed a strategy out of learnings from that. The mentorship really helped me develop my business in a way that will enable me to move forward and scale it.
“When I think about how I can pass on the learnings, I would say that I have learnt to help people in a similar situation by ensuring that I focus first on building their confidence, really making clear to them the skills they already have and how they can re-employ them for a task, perhaps in a way they had not thought of. I now try to use what I learnt during my time as a mentee to help people I sell alongside think about their businesses differently.”
– Hannah Bew, mentored by Lorna Hall, Director of Fashion Intelligence, WGSN
“Researching within my own city, I recently found that Supima is local here in Tempe, Arizona, but it has a yearly fashion show in New York. I am looking into subtraction cutting as my next project. I would like to give back to others as an educator, bringing this information to the classroom and connecting others.”
– Martha Pena, mentored by Nick Paget, Senior Menswear Strategist, WGSN
“I got into the programme in August 2020, a point in my life when I was disappointed with having to go through the new normal. With the restrictions and lockdown, my family and I spent seven months at home trying to understand how we could recover from that. That was when I received the notification that I had been accepted into the Future Makers programme.
“I couldn’t believe it at first, but it was a dream come true. When I began the programme with my mentor, Maria Pascua, we had the idea to digitise a brand and rebuild it. That’s when we worked in corporate identity, choosing the logo, design, letters and colour, and the strategy to get data from consumers. I felt very supported by Maria, telling her about political situations that were happening and the troubles that the fashion industry was facing. Even though the programme has ended, I am grateful to WGSN for organising this programme and Maria for all the support and patience she has shown me.”
– Eledir Indira Orocondo Subelza, mentored by Maria Pascua, WGSN
“Academic learning is necessary and important in this world, but with the programme, I understood that the stories that join these learnings are essential for the soul and for people who are touched by them. It was amazing to know and have contact with people from all over the world.”
– Caroline Aparecida da Silva Oliveira, mentored by Raquel Leao, WGSN
“One of the most important things I learnt from the programme is to believe in your talents and strengths. It’s very easy to feel like an imposter or that you don’t know what you’re doing, but when someone tells you you’re good at something, believe them! Also, stay positive and never stop learning. I’d like to give back to those around me by uplifting them and helping anyone I can. Whether that’s through sharing knowledge about certain skills or opportunities, or just by being a cheerleader on the sidelines, I want to be a motivator for others to go for what they want.”
– Hillary Cormier, mentored by Cassandra Napoli, Senior Strategist, WGSN Insight
“Under the guidance of a great organisation such as WGSN and its diverse team, I was able to deepen my understanding of the fashion industry and its intersection with design and creativity. My mentor and I combined our distinct professional and ethical backgrounds as well as our interests to develop faajicentral.com, an Afrocentric fashion brand with a sustainable business model that solves modern sartorial needs.
“Inspired by modernisation, technology and the rich African culture, as well as the ongoing Afrocentric fashion and lifestyle movement, the Fàáji brand aims to connect the diaspora of African heritage and culture. By locally sourcing and curating custom-made garments in Africa, Fàáji will promote, empower and develop African artisans and their crafts, which is the essence of the brand. Fàáji strives to provide fashion solutions to Africans especially within the diaspora.
“Our business model adds value and resilience because the production of our garments is based solely on custom orders, which will in turn reduce the overhead cost of production and regulate inventory, as well as reduce waste and encourage sustainable shopping by creating the perfect platform where Africans and the world have easy access to customised Afrocentric garments beautifully designed and curated in Africa by Africans.
“I am extremely proud of Fàáji, using modern technology and internalisation. I am pleased to promote inclusive fashion and individualism, two global macro trends that have emerged in the industry. Fàáji will enable me to showcase my heritage to the world while empowering, promoting and showcasing African artisans and their crafts in the fashion space. Knowing that Fàáji will enable locals to become economically independent by creating jobs makes me happy.”
– Temi Tayo, mentored by Quentin Humphrey, Youth Culture Editor, WGSN
“Trend research and trend forecasting as tools to initiate good practices and behaviours in the creative industry is my main takeaway from the WGSN Future Makers programme. As my focus is on fashion, applied to this industry, it taught me that we can encourage responsible and ethical practices by relying on relevant research. In a way, we are able to drive the narrative to encourage more responsible habits within the fashion market. Additionally, the programme taught me useful methodologies that are not accessible through online research.
“To give back my learnings and make people around me benefit from them, I plan on focusing on an alternative creation from my project. Thanks to the knowledge shared during the WGSN mentorship programme, I can see the impacts trend research and trend forecasting have on how the fashion industry is evolving. It gave me pertinent insights to build strategies that can have positive effects in the years to come. This experience gave me the right tools to analyse the actual situation and project myself into possible scenarios for the future.”
– Koura-Rosy Kane, mentored by Quentin Humphrey, Youth Culture Editor
That’s a wrap! Thank you to all our mentees and mentors for your dedication to the programme.