This Black History Month, our Black Student Union and Alumnae Office partnered to create a Q&A series connecting students with notable Black alumnae. Our final interview is with Sparkle Whitaker ‘18!
Sparkle graduated from Mother McAuley in 2018 and continued on to Washington University in St. Louis. Sparkle currently works as a Business Technology Analyst for Deloitte and she is the founder and driving force behind two game-changing initiatives, "The Onyx Incubator" and "The Onyx Label."
Sparkle is a highly motivated and visionary interdisciplinary designer, using her skills in fashion design and creative writing to address societal issues and bring about meaningful change. She has been recognized for her dedication and impact in local news and other awards.
"The Onyx Incubator" is a non-profit educational collective dedicated to empowering at-risk youth through design workshops and mentorship. The program offers these young people the chance to develop their creative and social skills, helping them build a brighter future.
"The Onyx Label," on the other hand, is a fashion brand founded and led by Sparkle, which is committed to sustainable, on-demand production and the implementation of zero-waste techniques. By offering stylish and accessible fashion while reducing its impact on the environment, "The Onyx Label" is making a significant contribution to a more sustainable future.
With her unwavering commitment to improving systems of inequity and her innovative approach to design, Sparkle is a true force for good. She is a leader in her field, inspiring others to follow her example and make a positive impact on the world.
Sparkle believes that while design thinking has the power to shape our society into one that empowers its neighbors, it is also true that access to effectively create solutions in the community is limited to those who have the social and financial agency to do so. Sparkle sees that many youth are not afforded access to these tools due to cost or their legal background. Sparkle wants to provide a program that will give these youth access to top-tier mentorship and creative training so they can forge a path and career of their choosing. She believes Chicago needs a creative intervention to disrupt the disheartening cycle of violence that burdens the city.
Thank you so much, Sparkle, for sharing your time and wisdom with us! Check out some highlights from her Black Student Union Q&A interview on YouTube.