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Luxury Fashion Brand Versace Wants You to Code

Karlie Kloss, Versace Autumn/Winter 2016 Campaign. Photo: Bruce Weber / Versace

Feeling of lightness. Sparkles of beauty. Shine. This description describes the luxury fashion company Versace and their aura. Versace promises their wearers a taste of La dolce Vita (Italian: sweet life). Yet, Donatella Versace could not stay away from responsibility to propel STEM education (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math).

Versace-backed American fashion model Karlie Kloss developed an idea and drove effort to open a new outlook for young girls and women, bringing them into the world of computer programming, as well as change the perspective towards the women in IT.

Through two scholarship opportunities, Camp Scholarship and Career Scholarship, Kode With Klossy organization works to increase access to computer science education. Camp Scholarship is a free two-week program for girls 13-18 years old, where they will be introduced to software engineering principles. The idea is that the students learn the same programming languages behind apps like Twitter and The New York Times.

Career Scholarship is awarded every month to one lucky woman and it will take 600-800 hours which students typcally complete over a 4-8 months. Once completed, the students will have the opportunity to apply for an apprenticeship with one of Kode With Klossy partners.

“Before my first coding class, the idea that I could build something with code seemed practically impossible. Within a couple of classes, I was working with my classmates to program a small drone.” said Karlie Kloss, founder of the non-profit organization. Imagine a 13 year old girl with dream, to encounter this: “How to Apply: Upload a 60-second video to YouTube with the hashtag #KodeWithKlossy telling us how you plan to use your coding superpowers to change the world.”

In order to back the initiative, the house of Versace announced that $100 from every Palazzo Empire bag sold at any North American boutiques will be donated to Karlie Kloss’s 2017 Scholarship fund, “Kode With Klossy” from October 1st to December 31st, 2016. It’s a start.