McDonald’s, Harlem’s Fashion Row Launch HBCU Fashion Design Contest

Last Updated on May 25, 2023

Celebrity stylist June Ambrose spoke to Howard University students on April 3rd, 2014 about diversity in fashion, as a part of a Harlem's Fashion Row - U (HFR-U) initiative presented by McCafe. McDonald's partnered with HFR to launch the 2014 McCafe Student Fashion Design Competition, open exclusively to HBCU students.
Celebrity stylist June Ambrose spoke to Howard University students on April 3rd, 2014 about diversity in fashion, as a part of a Harlem's Fashion Row – U (HFR-U) initiative presented by McCafe. McDonald's partnered with HFR to launch the 2014 McCafe Student Fashion Design Competition, open exclusively to HBCU students. Photo Credit: Soul Brother. (PRNewsFoto/McDonald's USA)

Beverages and fashion collide as McDonald's USA has joined forces with Harlem's Fashion Row™ (HFR) to launch the 2014 McCafe Student Fashion Design Competition. Students from historically black colleges and universities nationwide in fashion design programs are encouraged to enter. Student designers must submit at least one sketch of a red carpet look inspired by the McCafe brand. McCafe brewed coffee is a rich signature blend of the highest quality coffee beans. In designing a rich and high quality fashion piece, the student designers will pull inspiration from the warm brown tones of the 100% Arabica beans used in the McCafe brewed coffee to the cool, bright colors of the fruit smoothies and all of the delicious McCafe beverages in between.  In addition to their design, each student must also submit a biography and enrollment certification letter to for their chance to win.

“Harlem's Fashion Row and is excited to partner with McDonald's to provide HBCU fashion students with this unique opportunity,” said Brandice Henderson, CEO and founder of HFR. “The competition will celebrate and encourage the next generation of fashion designers of color to pursue their dreams and provide them with access to the fashion world's elite.”

Harlem's Fashion Row Contest Details

  • The contest calls for students to submit a sketch of a red carpet look inspired by the McCafe brand; using rich brown hues that represent the McCafe brewed coffee beverages or bright tones that are inspired by the brand’s fruit smoothies.
  • The winner will receive an apprenticeship with notable fashion designer Evelyn Lambert, a $1,000 scholarship, co-design a cocktail dress for the 11th Annual McDonald’s 365Black Awards red carpet host and an all-expense paid trip to the awards show taping, which takes place in New Orleans during Essence Festival™ presented by Coca-Cola®. The winner will also have their design sketch featured on an HFR signature “I Am Fashion” tee.
  • The runner-up will have their design printed on a limited edition HFR tee and will receive a $500 scholarship.
  • The deadline to enter the competition is May 9th, 2014
  • The winners will be announced on Harlem’s Fashion Row’s website.

The launch of the McCafe Design Competition, in conjunction with HFR's newest initiative Harlem's Fashion Row-University (HFR-U) took place on Howard University's Campus on April 3rd, 2014 with veteran stylist and media personality, June Ambrose.  As an extension of HFR's popular “Conversations With…” series, Ambrose led an informative question and answer discussion with future style go-getters on the fashion industry's lack of diversity. Additionally, students were treated to a variety of McCafe beverages, including brewed coffee, frappes, and smoothies.

“This competition is one way for McCafe to connect with our fun — and fashionable — consumers,” said Elizabeth Campbell, McDonald's senior director of U.S. Menu Innovation. “McCafe beverages are the perfect complement for aspiring designers as they work tirelessly to pursue their dreams.”

The 2014 McCafe Student Fashion Design Competition is an extension of McDonald's 365Black platform, an initiative that celebrates the pride, heritage and achievements of African-Americans year round. HFR's efforts to promote and support diversity in the fashion industry align with the 365Black platform.  McDonald's encourages everyone who is grinding daily to pursue their dreams, fashion or otherwise, to follow @McCafe on Twitter and join the conversation using #McCafeGrind. To learn more about the 365Black initiative, visit

To learn more about Harlem's Fashion Row, visit and follow them at @HFRMovement.

About McCafe
McDonald's collection of coffee and espresso based McCafe beverages are made with 100 percent Arabica beans sourced from the rich soils of Central and South America. In addition to the existing variety of McCafe beverages, McCafe also introduces limited-time seasonal offerings at participating restaurants throughout the year. McCafe invites coffee drinkers across the U.S. to stop by their local participating McDonald's restaurant for a freshly brewed small McCafe coffee during McDonald's first-ever national Free Coffee Event.  Free McCafe coffee is available during breakfast hours from March 31 through April 13 in participating restaurants. Starting in mid-April, McCafe will surprise a Twitter follower every day this year with McCafe coffee and prizes. For more information and to keep up with flavors of our McCafe line, visit, or follow us on Twitter (@McCafe).

About Harlem's Fashion Row
(HFR) is a unique movement founded to increase diversity in fashion, by producing events to educate, stimulate, and advance opportunities for emerging designers of color. HFR provides a platform for the selected emerging artists during the most highly attended event in the industry, New York Fashion Week. HFR has gained corporate support from companies such as AOL, Target Stores, Iman Cosmetics, Sprite Green, Dark & Lovely, and BET. Harlem's Fashion Row has also been covered by Women's Wear Daily, NY Daily News, Fashionista, New York Time Out, and Jones Magazine, as well as, “That's So New York”, The Cut, NY Racked, Black Enterprise, and Centric.

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About HFR-U
HFR-U strives to inspire, nurture, and advance the next generation of diverse fashion industry talent by offering professional development and networking opportunities to undergraduate students. This initiative offers future fashion careerists an opportunity to discover and discuss the business of fashion through informative master classes, live experiences, and networking with industry professionals of note.

McDonald's, McCafe, and 365Black are trademarks of McDonald's Corporation and its affiliates.

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