Sophie Ashby and Alexandria Dauley Team Up to Create the United In Design Diversity Initiative
The lack of diversity in the U.K. interior design industry is a complex problem to which there are many possible solutions. Sophie Ashby and Alexandria Dauley, both of their own eponymous design firms, have joined forces to create United in Design, a non-profit organization that will actively and efficiently work towards achieving more representation of designers and businesses from Black, Asian, ethnic minority, and low socio-economic communities. This new platform, just launched on July 8, aims to become a robust resource for businesses and empowerment tool for designers of color.
United in Design has already teamed up with some of the industry’s leading innovators that are looking to be a part of the end goal of creating scholarship and apprenticeship opportunities. By funding bursaries and forming mentorships, young designs of color and underprivileged backgrounds are empowered to begin their careers. To deliver an equal opportunity pathway to entry into the design industry, Ashby and Dauley are creating a U.K.-wide movement with an actionable roadmap for increased diversity in all sectors of the industry—from design studios, makers, and suppliers to individuals and magazines.
“We need to make interior design an accessible and obtainable career choice for people from diverse backgrounds,” Dauley says. United in Design will be funded via partner subscription fees, annual fundraising events and sponsors which will ultimately create a community that ensures all those who would benefit from this resource have access to it. Dauley continues, “We will be working with the industry to tackle the obstacles preventing this—correcting the balance and leveling the playing field.”
United in Design is urging anyone and everyone in the design industry to take their pledge and become a member of the movement. With seven key points, the pledge holds all members of the United in Design accountable while creating change and more opportunities for people of color in their workplace. Trustees including writer and author Michelle Ogundehin and Graeme Brooker, founder of Interior Educators, will work alongside chairs Simon Hamilton, Grant Pierrus and Sarah Ahluwalia to shape forthcoming initiatives.