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AEO teams up with NRF, denim retailers


American Eagle Outfitters (AEO) has teamed with the National Retail Federation (NRF), along with Gap Inc., Levi Strauss & Co. (LS&Co), URBN, Meijer and Designer Brands to provide a virtual learning program for retail interns who were left without internships as a result of the coronavirus.

AEO launched Retail Industry Summer Experience (RISE), an eight-week program that brings together 268 college sophomores, juniors and seniors as well as recent graduates and graduate students in the U.S. for a series of educational virtual sessions. Launched in June, the program gives younger generations the opportunity to learn directly from retail giants on new and existing challenges surrounding the industry.

The program will provide professional development opportunities and cover areas such as sustainability, women in technology, and diversity and inclusion—topics that have especially gained significance in recent months. Speakers include Chad Kessler, American Eagle’s global brand president; Jennifer Foyle, Aerie’s global brand president; Chip Bergh, LS&Co. president and CEO, and more. Sessions will be recorded and made available to students to learn at their own convenience.

The program mirrors an industry-wide shift to virtual education, as in-person events have had to pivot to digital methods. Trade shows like Kingpins and accelerator programs such as those organized by Fashion For Good and H&M Foundation have gone virtual to accommodate government restrictions in 2020.