DURHAM – North Carolina Central University (NCCU) announced the Textiles and Apparel Program will receive a $100,000 grant from clothier The Gap and its partner, Icon 360, a non-profit subsidiary of Harlem’s Fashion Row.

According to a spokesperson for the university, the grant will be used to update infrastructure, technology, and equipment in the textiles lab, and provide two $10,000 scholarships for students involved in the program.

“The distinguished Icon 360 x The GAP award will impact our department tremendously,” said Darlene M. Eberhardt-Burke, Ph.D., interim chair of the Textiles and Apparel Program at NCCU in a statement. “This award will directly influence our current and future students, unlocking infinite potential and opportunity for generations to come.”

Icon 360 was launched in 2020 to provide support to designers of color impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.

The historically black university is part of the Closing the Gap initiative.  This initiative provides financial support to 10 fashion programs at HBCUs and strengthen educational opportunities in fashion and design.

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NCCU held its annual fashion design competition virtually earlier this year, where 11 students competed in a runway show featuring original collections.

“NCCU students have been resilient during this time of uncertainty to produce some beautiful one-of-a-kind pieces,” said Darlene M Eberhardt-Burke, Ph.D., interim chair of the Textiles and Apparel Program, in a statement ahead of the event. Triangle textile companies Spoonflower and Implus provided students with materials including custom cotton fabrics and shoestring for their designs.  Additional financial support from Cotton Inc. provided prizes for students awarded first-, second- and third-place honors in the competition’s new “Best of Cotton” category.