Kety, Douaa, Hadda, Hamza, Maxime and Arthur never imagined that they would be able to benefit from a coach and personalised advice to adapt their outfit to the expectations of recruiters and company codes. This was without counting on the mobilisation of Olivia, Faustine, Pauline, Victoire, Julie, Sylvie, Stéphanie, Valentine and Émilie. These nine Kiabers led a fashion coaching workshop on 24 March in Villeneuve d’Ascq (Nord) after being approached by Grégory, KIABI’s customer services and contacts director and sponsor of an ARELI winner.

Their background and social condition had not really prepared these young people for this type of proposal. Some of them even hesitated before signing up for the workshop. “I wondered how it would go and if it was worth it”, recalls one of the participants. “I was afraid I wouldn’t feel comfortable,” said another.

Most are enrolled in ARELI’s Émergence programme, which enables talented young people from modest backgrounds to pursue the education they want and build a professional future that matches their potential and ambition. Émergence is at the heart of an active and promising ecosystem of sponsoring companies, corporate foundations, local authorities, universities, grandes écoles and high schools that support the programme financially and in human terms. Every year, a group of 30 to 50 young high school graduates from the Hauts-de-France region is selected to join the programme. The companies get involved by sponsoring a winner or a group of winners to whom they offer access to their professional network and long-term coaching. They participate in the success of these bright and motivated young people and promote diversity in their professional environment.

“Fashion coaching helps to restore the confidence of these young people and helps them to move forward. They feel considered and valued”, says Océane, product assistant and member of the KIABI Life Steering Committee, who took part in the workshop with Olivier and Grégory. Hence the importance of getting to know them well before giving them advice and guiding them through the shop’s departments to choose an outfit that suits their personality. The welcome from the Kiabi teams was very warm,” says one participant. I was able to create a link with my coach, with whom I have remained in contact. This is proof that clothes can help build the positive outlook we need to have on ourselves.

The community of KIABI Life fashion coaches already has almost thirty members (product managers, stylists, web or marketing specialists, etc.). Most of them are women. “The aim is to offer this type of workshop to other associations and to reach out to other audiences,” says Océane. The fashion coaches are in the starting blocks. They will be working with people in professional reintegration on 2 June in Lille as part of the Forum des Possibles.

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