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G-Star Raw Supports Refugees with Mentorship Program

When it’s deliver-or-die, supply chains become the lifeblood of a company. To that end, the fashion industry has embraced technology to navigate today’s hyper-complicated supply chain, with myriad solutions shaping the first, middle and last mile. Call it Sourcing 2.0.

Known for its sustainable practices, G-Star Raw is expanding its efforts to support the refugee community. The Dutch denim brand recently rolled out a “G- Star Analytics Traineeship” program in partnership with the Refugee Talent Hub (RTH), an initiative that connects refugees with paid opportunities at participating employers. In March, the companies called for refugees to apply to the two-year program that provides hands-on business training across fields like data and analytics, e-commerce, CRM and planning and purchasing.

In addition to business training, the program also assigns a personal coach to each student and provides language, soft skills and intercultural training.

The company stated that the RTH’s mission fits “very well” with its own values. “This dream resonated with us, as a company with deep roots in corporate responsibility, and with diversity, inclusion and equality as important values,” a G-Star representative told Rivet. “Next to that, we are always looking for new talent, and why not tap into this valuable source?”

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G-Star employees are given the opportunity to sign up as a mentor for the program for a period of 4-6 months beginning this month. Mentees are selected by the RTH.

Currently, the program strictly provides mentorship—not full-time jobs—for refugees. In September, the company will roll out a second phase of the program recruiting individuals to work for the company. Enrollment for the second phase has not yet started.

The program is just one of several refugee-focused initiatives within the fashion industry. In November, Levi Strauss & Co. (LS&Co.) announced it will mentor 50 women refugees over the next three years in Belgium, France, Italy and Spain. The program is open to refugee women, including recently arrived Afghan women, and will provide practical skills like resume writing, interviewing and networking tips to set them up for career success. More recently, the heritage denim brand partnered with Airbnb.org to connect employees with refugees in need of temporary shelter. Employees can sign up to host refugees and receive financial support from the Red Tab Foundation, LS&Co.’s emergency assistance fund.

Fast Retailing, which owns labels including Uniqlo and J Brand, has also made strides in community outreach, launching a clothing donation program to support refugee camps and victims of natural disasters around the world, and developing initiatives to employ vulnerable populations. As of August 2020, 121 refugees were working at Uniqlo stores all over the world.

Last year, Gap Inc. worked with the Tent Partnership for Refugees, committing to training and hiring Afghan refugees in the U.S. Prior to that, in 2020, Tommy Hilfiger’s Fashion Frontier Challenge winners included Dutch company A Beautiful Mess, which helps refugees find social and economic independence by providing jobs at its restaurants and studio. There, tailors from other countries can create clothes, bags and more from recycled materials.