Monday, October 21, 2013

Annual Gala Honors Fashion and Retail Diversity Advocates

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2013 BRAG honorees Terry Lundgren, Iman and Alain Lafontant

Black Retail Action Group hosts 43rd Annual Scholarship and Awards Gala raising over $1 million

NEW YORK, NY – On Thursday, October 17th, over 600 fashion and retail diversity supporters gathered at Marriott Marquis in New York City’s Times Square for the Black Retail Action Group’s (BRAG) 43rd Annual Scholarship and Awards Gala.  For more than 42 years, BRAG has been helping to level the playing field for people of color in fashion and retail, and this year’s honorees exemplified the gala’s theme, Imagine, Inspire, Ignite: Terry Lundgren, Chairman, President and CEO of Macy’s Inc., received the BRAG Business Achievement Award; Iman, CEO & Founder of Iman Cosmetics, Skincare and Fragrances and co-founder of the Diversity Coalition that aims to increase diversity on fashion runways, was honored with the BRAG Legacy Award; and for the first time in the organization’s history, a 1996 graduate of the BRAG internship program was honored, Alain Lafontant, Vice President of Business Development/Brand Manager of Sean John, who received the BRAG Special Recognition Award.  BRAG President Gail Monroe Perry stated, “We are especially excited to honor one of our own intern graduates whose level of accomplishment is the perfect example of how BRAG is supporting the industry and its future leaders.”

Each year as BRAG celebrates excellence in fashion and retail, it also awards scholarships to students who are interested in careers in the industry, have achieved academic success and exhibit financial need.  To date, BRAG has awarded over $800,000 in scholarships to more than 400 students.  Perry revealed that this year’s gala was the most successful to date, meeting their goal of raising over $1 million dollars and doubling the number of scholarships awarded from 30 to 67.  Additionally, over $35,000 was generated at the event through a live auction and on site donations, which will support 7 students in the internship program. Since 1975, over 1,100 interns have participated in the BRAG program.

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Gala host and style expert Lloyd Boston, Honoree Iman and BRAG President Gail Monroe Perry

A scholarship recipient stated, “Because of BRAG scholarships, we are given the character, confidence and education we need to succeed.  To us, these scholarships not only represent funding for school, but it affirms our dreams, our hard work as students and our individual ambitions.”

The black-tie gala began with cocktails followed by dinner and awards, and featured a special surprise performance by entertainer Nick Cannon,who recently launched a new tie collection at Macys. Gala co-chairs were Laticha Brown and Leslie Smith.

About BRAG

Diversity and inclusion of all people of color in the fashion and corporate retail sectors are at the center of the BRAG agenda. BRAG is a non-profit organization that prepares and educates professionals, entrepreneurs and students of color for executive leadership in the retail, fashion and related industries. For more than 42 years, BRAG has served as one of the rare organizations that offer guidance to high school and college students and young professionals entering the retail and fashion industries. For more information on BRAG visit

Photo credit: Shareif Ziyadat

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