MSc Strategic Fashion Management students, Buthaynah Thabet and Francesca Carioti, have recently been selected to join Christian Dior’s Women@Dior mentoring programme, which aims to empower graduates in the workplace and raise their confidence in their own potential. Since launching in 2017, Dior’s student mentoring scheme has become a global success, providing mentors for over 300 students across 11 countries.
While previously dedicated to young women, the Women@Dior programme has this year opened its doors to men, allowing all students to benefit from mentors who work for the Maison Dior. Buthaynah and Francesca are overwhelmed at this opportunity.
I never in my dreams thought this would happen! Going into College I always worked around street fashion, fast fashion. I never thought I would go into a company like Dior - Buthaynah Thabet
The 2019 programme was launched last week at Dior’s New Bond Street boutique, where mentees were set a networking task to seek out their new mentor from the clues they were provided with. Buthaynah was very pleased with her mentor, "she is doing exactly what I want to do. She is the merchandiser for the whole of DIOR UK, responsible for the entire UK market! At this point I think she is a superwoman".
Every mentor attached to the scheme emphasises Dior’s core values and heritage in their advice, sharing the voice of Chrisitian Dior himself, to make mentees feel “not only more beautiful, but also happier.” The initiative is focused on promoting inclusivity in the workforce, putting the LVMH values into action – seeing gender equality within their company by 2020. LVMH now have 42% of their roles filled by women, while Dior dominates with a female workforce of 63%.
The application process took all shortlisted mentees through an assessment centre, where they were tasked to design a Dior logo for a t-shirt, “it was more laid back” than Buthaynah had expected, and she was challenged by the design task set by the recruitment team.
In our designs we tried to think about, not just what DIOR means to us, but also what being feminist means to us
The launch event gave all mentees a guided tour of the Dior boutique, providing inspiration to students from all disciplines - from business, to design, to engineering. For Buthaynah, “studying the MSc really helped” her to understand the conversations taking place at Dior, as it gave her “so much knowledge about the different aspects of fashion”.
The Women@Dior launch event closed with a panel talk from Camila Carril - Content creator & Founder by Camilla Carril, Laura Perkins - from Young Women’s Trust and Petra Rosengren - Regional Manager of Dior. The discussion raised some controversial issues around challenges facing women in industry and stressed the importance of knowing your worth throughout your career. For Buthaynah, this process has enabled her to realise her own strengths and learn a lot about knowing her own value,
It’s shown me I shouldn’t set such low expectations for myself. I can actually do this, I can actually make it in the industry