Everyone deserves the chance to discover and design their dream career, but in the current climate, it can feel tougher than ever to reach your full potential. At ELLE UK, we’re committed to nurturing a new generation of creative talent, promoting marginalised voices and building a truly inclusive future in fashion.
To help address this issue, ELLE UK has launched the second year of its mentoring scheme for 10 new inspiring individuals. Together with Cartier and The Social Mobility Commission, we’ve recruited a group of students from UK areas recognised as having the biggest barriers for young people in accomplishing their goals.
These students, aged from 17 to 22 years old, have worked alongside an ELLE UK buddy to get an understanding of the process of putting together our September issue, while contributing ideas across everything from creative direction, fashion styling, drafting headlines and asking questions to our September cover star, boxer Ramla Ali.
Our mentorship scheme is a perfect fit with Cartier, an established supporter of art and culture. The legendary Maison is currently celebrating 100 years of its historic London Workshop English Art Works (EAW), which was founded by Jacques Cartier in 1921 and is still based in the New Bond Street boutique. During its history, the workshop has included designers, stone-setters, mounters, pearl stringers and polishers all on site, exuding Cartier’s passion for the value of British creativity and the importance of diversity.
Meet the names and faces of tomorrow
Jillian Kindipan, 18, Caerphilly
Originally from Baguio City in the Philippines, Jillian is currently studying A-level Chemistry, Biology and Maths. Her goal is to get into medical school or work in the fashion industry.
Who are your role models? ‘My lola/grandma is my main role model. She is such an influential person in our little town in the Philippines with how she dresses everywhere she goes. My mum has been my guide throughout everything ever since I came to the UK. The patience and empathy she has are unmatched.’
What motivates you to meet your goals? ‘I motivate myself. I like success and I like getting what I want. To do that, I know I have to work hard for it first. And that’s what keeps me going – the eight-year-old me that never stopped believing I could do it.’
Ruqayyah Makda, 17, Blackburn
With a career goal to work in media, Ruqayyah has a passion for the environment and would love to follow in the footsteps of David Attenborough. She’s currently studying for her A-Levels.
What motivates you to meet your goals? ‘I want to be happy. Doing something I enjoy will help me do that, so I will work towards it. I also don’t want to look back with any regrets and think about my wasted potential.’
What have you learned from the ELLE mentorship scheme? ‘It has taught me that there is rarely an end to the extent of someone’s creativity. There are various forms of creativity and each one is amazing in its own right. It has also shown me that there are so many jobs in the media sector and each plays an important role in making the final product.’
Anesu Hwenga, 20, Derby
Law student Anesu has dreamed of working in fashion since she was 14 years old and isn’t afraid to give it her all to make her dreams a reality.
What are your creative hobbies? ‘I love reading fiction novels, notably the point where you can vividly picture the world carefully curated by the author. You progressively become attached to the characters living in that world. Reading enhances my imagination and inspires me to invoke a similar attachment and feeling in my creative work.’
Who are your role models? ‘I don’t have a role model per se, but I am drawn to and inspired by black women. Black women have such a complex and multilayered identity and, in spite of the hurdles placed on us because of this identity, black women continuously show up as our full and most authentic selves. In particular, black British women have a special place in my heart – I love Fisayo Longe, Mikai McDermott, Lisa Jemide and Tolani Shoneye.’
Lucy Levin, 19, Rotherham
Lucy is studying Orthoptics at the University of Sheffield and aims to find a career that makes her feel excited to get to work.
Who are your role models? ‘One of my role models is my sister, Emma. I admire her determination, compassion and sincerity. Another one of my role models is Beyonce (as corny as that sounds!) She is such a hard-working woman who has conquered the fashion world, the music world and the social media world, all while juggling life as a mum.’
What have you learned from the ELLE mentorship scheme? ‘I have learned about the different roles and how they are all crucial to the making of ELLE magazine. I feel that I have obtained a unique insight into the fashion, social-media and publishing world.’
Margot Macleod, 18, Inverness
Currently studying music at BIMM Institute Bristol, Margot has ambitions to become a journalist who specialises in talented musicians and fashion designers.
Who are your role models? ‘Lynn Yaeger and Alexander McQueen. I really admire how unapologetic they are in what they do. I like how Lynn harks back to an older generation of fashion journalists who really embody the spirit of the fashion that they love. Alexander McQueen inspires me because his spirit was 100% committed to his design and fashion shows. He revolutionised the catwalk in the ’90s and set today’s creative standards.’
What motivates you to meet your goals? ‘When I heard about journalists like Lynn Yaeger and Andre Leon Tellay – who started out like me, buying magazines and romanticising the fashion world – I was inspired to pursue my goals. Obviously, it’s not a perfect industry, but I still want to experience fashion shows and photoshoots first-hand and see all of the visuals and ideas coming together.’
Christine Marie Mugeni, 20, East London
Living in Shoreditch, Christine has a passion for poetry and songwriting as well as creating her own clothes in the style of crochet.
What’s your career goal? ‘My career goal is to become a journalist, documentary filmmaker and fashion designer. The aim is to create a mark on the world by expressing my feelings and thoughts. I have zero interest in staying on one career path. I want to explore all endeavours as I have many passions.’
What motivates you to meet your goals? ‘The thing that motivates me to meet my goal is fear of being stagnant and in the same place as before. If accomplishing my goal moves me closer to where I want to be, I have no option but to accomplish it. I never want to feel as though I am not moving.’
Elizabeth Oluga, 20, London
Elizabeth is working on the Black Studies course at Birmingham City University and is building her fashion portfolio by styling her friends’ outfits.
Who are your role models? ‘I admire Stormzy’s ability to help others, giving back to his community and having his own publishing imprint at the age of 25. And Tems is a Nigerian woman like me and her music, style, natural hairstyles all resonate with me. Representation is so important and having someone who looks like me in a place of great success is refreshing.’
What have you learned from the ELLE mentorship scheme? ‘What I’ve learnt so far is that when there is an opportunity, seize it – whether or not you have experience. Work hard and always believe in yourself.’