By Jeff Mays
The kids from the Friends of the Children of New York mentoring program thought they were going to Harlem Textile Works to learn how to make silk screen T-shirts.
But that’s half the mission of Harlem Textiles. The other is to show young people how their creativity can transfer into a career as an entrepreneur, artist, or business owner in the fields of graphic and fashion design.
“The fashion industry is sometimes inspired by black and Latino youth,” said Kevin McGruder, chairman of the board of directors for Harlem Textile Works. “People are looking at what they do and copying but they are not involved, they are not making the money. We try to connect them more directly with the industry.”
The kids picked screens with graphic designs like “Sugar Hill” written in Gothic letters and then paired it with an image of Michael Jackson dancing on his toes. They learned how to apply the ink through the silk screen onto a T-shirt using firm strokes while a friend held the screen in place.
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