Yves St Laurent studied under Dior. Donna Karen worked for Anne Klein. Tom Ford was a design assistant to Cathy Hardwick. Starting a career as a fashion entrepreneur, or in any of the creative industries, does not follow the typical entrepreneur’s journey. In fashion, the apprenticeship model reigns supreme.
Roberta Annan started the African Fashion Fund (AFF) in part to make it possible for African designers to have access to global apprenticeships. “I believe in apprenticeship. It’s so important. If you look at all the major fashion brands in this world, they worked under somebody before they became big. I wanted to find a way to promote that,” she said. Through their fellowship program, AFF has helped placed African designers in apprenticeships in New York with designers such as Bibhu Mohapatra and EDUN of LVMH. AFF covers all of the associated costs.