Elevate is Stitch Fix’s annual grant and mentorship program which launched in 2020 and is aimed at supporting entrepreneurs of color who are building the next wave of apparel and accessories businesses.
Stitch Fix created the Elevate program to accelerate change within the industry and its own vendor base, in support of the company’s vision for a more equitable and diverse retail landscape.
As a company rooted in data science, Stitch Fix has powerful tools at its disposal to support innovation and growth. Elevate combines Stitch Fix’s resources, data insights and expertise to help underrepresented entrepreneurs scale their businesses as well as provide a platform to share their stories with the Stitch Fix community.
The six entrepreneurs in the 2020 cohort each received $25,000 to grow their businesses, along with eight months of advisory support from leadership across Stitch Fix, which also included ongoing support from the Algorithms team and 1:1 advisory sessions with Stitch Fix Founder Katrina Lake and Brandice Daniel, CEO of Harlem’s Fashion Row, external adviser and partner on the Elevate program.
Mentorship is at the core of the Elevate program. In addition to the financial grants, Stitch Fix is committed to providing the grantees with the tools to ensure sustained impact and ongoing support for these entrepreneurs as they scale their businesses. The culmination of the program is the launch of the grantees’ collections on Stitch Fix on October 8th.
1. Diarra Bousso, Diarrablu
The brand uses prints generated by algorithms for each new collection drop, with an emphasis on versatile yet practical designs for women that are sustainably produced in Dakar, Senegal. To develop one of the tops in her Elevate collection, Diarra leveraged Stitch Fix data to analyze the highest performing print from a previous scarf design and married it with the top silhouette below.
2. Jamela Acheampong, Kahmune
The inclusive and elevated footwear line is leveraging Stitch Fix data to launch booties for the first time, implementing client data from Stitch Fix’s current Luxe offerings to inform heel heights, toe box shape, and shaft heights.
3. Busayo Olupano, Busayo
Busayo creates women's apparel with a focus on African prints inspired by her home of Nigeria, with the majority of the garments being handmade. Busayo leveraged Stitch Fix data on high-performing silhouettes to create the below style.
4. Marcus Thomas, Marcus Alexander
This sophisticated, utilitarian footwear brand offers designs for all genders and is produced ethically & sustainably.
5. Bettina Benson, Chloe Kristyn
Chloe Kristyn specializes in apparel that empowers women to celebrate their stories with the perfect fit and strikes an effortless integration of work & life.
6. Robin Sirleaf, Sarep + Rose
Sarep + Rose is an ethical fashion accessories brand and through the Elevate program, Robin will be creating a new lower price point offering for her brand, with costs engineered from Stitch Fix data to be more competitive.
Applications for the 2022 cohort are currently open, and entrepreneurs of color interested in applying for the Elevate grant and mentorship program will be able to do so until October 31st at stitchfix.com/elevate.