Founder of Council for Fashion and Social Change, Katya Akuma mentors young talent for a campaign and fight for fashion in an international movement called Denim Day in NYC.
Social change and sustainability are the building blocks for advocate and activist, Katya Akuma, who paves the way as founder of the Council for Fashion and Social Change (CFSC).
Akuma is a philanthropist and designer who helps a vast portfolio of nonprofit organizations channel innovative funding through CFSC partnerships. Facilitating collaborations between fashion companies, design graduates, and charities, she is the synergy behind her nonprofit organization. We take a deeper look at one of the movements and moments where Akuma has mentored and manifested social change.
Empowering the youth through the arts
Empowering youth advocacy through the arts, CFSC joined forces with the anti-trafficking organization Beauty for Freedom and BK Style Foundation to raise awareness for the survivors of sexual and domestic violence. Partnering City-As School design students with professional visual artists and designers including Akuma, the parties work towards a campaign for Denim Day NYC.
Today, Denim Day NYC is a coalition of a community that is united to promote awareness around the issue of sexual assault. Denim Day started in Los Angeles after a rape conviction case was overturned when the judge reasoned the victim’s tight jeans helped imply consent.
Using jeans as an international symbol to protest against sexual assault, students used recycled denim to create couture pieces for a capsule collection. The campaign’s mission was to engage New Yorkers in the fight to end sexual and domestic violence and to raise funds and awareness for Denim Day.
Supporting survivors of sexual and domestic violence
“Council for Fashion and Social Change is committed to causes that support survivors of sexual and domestic violence. We are very inspired to mentor and support the students of City-As School in co-creating this collection using recycled denim,” says Akuma.
Beyond the CFSC facilitation of the partnership, Akuma was brought on as a Beauty For Freedom mentor and professional designer to teach the youth an intensive course to create the collection. “At school, I studied fine arts and fashion design and I was always on the border of both. My experience brought me into fashion design and it is a powerful tool .. and if you can manage to change fashion and send a message through fashion then it is possible to bring change to one human being.”
A topic important to talk about
Students opted to design outfits that resemble a uniform for survivors to shield themselves from the experiences they’ve been through. A heavy conversation for students still in high school, however, it is extremely important to talk about rape culture and the abuse of women.
It is a really powerful experience to defend those whose voices are not being heard. As creatives, the students honed their design to tell a story while the mentors encouraged their voice by resonating it across a bigger platform through their partnership across industries.
Making a difference, Akuma brings awareness to advocacy within the fashion industry. Through her mentorship, she keeps a running dialog to involve the community, empower creatives, and to inspire opportunities to bring about social change.
Follow Katya Akuma on Instagram @katyaakuma and support Council for Fashion and Social Change on www.fashionandchange.com