Versace and CFDA Partner for LGBTQ+ Initiative

Versace and CFDA Partner for LGBTQ+ Initiative

Now introducing — Professor Donatella Versace!

In a new press release, the Council of Fashion Designers America announced that the famed Versace heiress has partnered with the CFDA for a “new program focusing on LGBTQ+ youth and education.” The presser said the “initiative” will launch with a Master Class event helmed by Versace at the historic Los Angeles LGBT Center.

The Master Class event will see Versace sit fireside with former Out editor-in-chief Phillip Picari, who now works as the center’s Chief Marketing and Communications Officer. The CFDA will also roll out a scholarship, sponsored by Versace, for students at some point in 2023 and arrange fashion hopefuls to meet with CFDA members in Los Angeles to talk about their careers via the new initiative.

In the press release, Versace said:

“I have always believed in the power of young creatives. At Versace we have had some of the most amazing young talent join us and we have learned so much from them. I am thrilled that we can support a scholarship with the CFDA for an LGBTQ student and cannot wait to see their creative energy come to fruition with our encouragement.”

Steven Kolb, the reigning CFDA CEO, added that “Fashion is an international industry and CFDA is extremely proud to partner with Versace and to work with Donatella Versace, whom we have a longstanding relationship with.” He continued, “CFDA and Versace have long supported the LGBTQ+ community, and we look forward to joining forces in this effort.”

The timing works, as Versace will host their latest FW 2023 collections for both men and women in Los Angeles on March 10. Through the program, and in partnership with the Otis College of Art and Design, the CFDA will organize a field trip for 10 students to attend the shows.

In June 2022, Versace parent company Capri Holdings established The Versace Foundation with a $10 million pledge to sustain the newly minted organization. Like the partnership with CFDA, The Versace Foundation is aimed at work within the LGBTQ+ community. At the time, Versace herself commented that the brand was known for its “inclusivity” and that she looked forward to “the support and assistance the Versace Foundation will bring to the LGBTQIA+ community.”

In 2021, Versace also launched a capsule collection in partnership with Lady Gaga’s Born This Way Foundation, co-founded and led by Gaga and her mother, Cynthia Germanotta, to support “the mental health of young people” and work “with them to build a kinder and braver world.”

Photo via Jeff Kravitz/Getty