Fashion label Coach has donated nearly 2,000 dresses, jackets, pants, shirts and pairs of shoes to Virginia State University — all business attire students can wear for job interviews or in the office.
Last week, stacks of shoe boxes containing women’s low-heel dress shoes arrived on campus. Blue button-down shirts and khaki slacks came folded and sealed in clear plastic wrap.
VSU will distribute the items to several departments — its career services center, its health, physical education and recreation department, the college of business’s clothing store and the textile, apparel and merchandise program.
VSU will give most of the clothing to students, though it’s not exactly sure how it will distribute the items yet. Students in the textile, apparel and merchandise program will create their own fashion designs for a retail display window featuring the Coach items.
It’s unclear how much money the clothes are worth.
“Studies have demonstrated that wearing professional attire can impact perception during an interview, performance in work environment and the ability to build self confidence,” said Joseph Lyons, executive director for VSU student engagement and career services.
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VSU’s gift is part of an 11,000-item donation from Coach to six historically Black universities — Cheyney University of Pennsylvania, Delaware State University, Florida A&M University, Harris-Stowe State University and Tuskegee University.
The donation is part of Coach’s Dream It Real initiative, designed to break cycles of inequality through higher education. The Thurgood Marshall College Fund chose which schools would receive donations.
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