Step forward

Local fashion group creates change

By Haylee Venus

After leaving university, as a young mum of two, I was buzzing with excitement to get into the work environment.

I found that most entry level positions required some form of experience in addition to my studies. This was quite a frustrating time for me, but I wouldn’t let that put me off.

Determined to make it work, I decided to create my own opportunity, birthing Embrace U Empire. Embrace U Empire is a platform for creatives to come together, build skills and gain experience, as we make steps towards our dreams and aspired career choices.

This year Embrace U Empire hosted it’s seventh annual fashion show fundraiser, Inspiring Edge which took place at The Irish Cultural & Community Centre at the end of January.

This evening of entertainment, based on the theme ‘where you come from’, showcased aspiring creatives, including models, artists and choreographers. It gave them the opportunity to promote and develop their talents and services via work- shops and training by Special Edition Models & Unorthodox.

The money raised on the night is going to Make A Step’s, ‘Fuss about the Flush’ campaign.

Make a Step is a UK based Community Interest Company which I set up, that delivers exciting creative arts and sports workshop programmes aimed at 5-16 years-olds.

The mission of Make A Step is to assist young people to tap into their full potential, solving problems within their community through creativity whilst developing transferable skills necessary for their desired career paths.

Since 2015, Make A Step has delivered eight incredible programmes in London, and in orphanages and schools in Jamaica, Gambia, Kenya and St Lucia.

This year’s fashion show raised awareness of Make A Step but also mental health, as Mind in Haringey supported the event by providing a guest speaker who gave insight into dealing with symptoms of mental health, and the support services available to people who may be directly affected.

A cast of 26 child models, aged 6-16 alongside 15 adult models, 18-52 and artists including saxophonist, Groover and young singer Kai Lewis, all stunned the audience with their skills.

We had over 250 people in attendance. Deputy Mayor of Haringey, Cllr Sheila Hancock honoured us by reading a speech celebrating the volunteers who went on the charitable trips abroad, last year with Make A Step.

This year we have the opportunity to deliver programmes in Kenya, St Lucia, Monsterrat, Gambia and Jamaica.