United in Design is a charitable organisation set up to address the lack of diversity within the Interior industries.
On June 4th 2020, in light of the murder of George Floyd and the global anti-racism uprising, Sophie Ashby released a public statement on the Studio Ashby Instagram account in response to #blackouttuesday; Sophie’s only ambition at the time was to make it clear that, as a company, Studio Ashby was taking the time to scrutinise it’s position within the industry, be honest about shortcomings in running a diverse company and vowing to take a good look at how to change things. Sophie also acknowledged something we’ve all known for a long time, that the world of interior design is difficult to get into and often kickstarted by established connections providing that all important ‘foot in the door’.
At the same time, Alexandria Dauley, having trained and tutored at KLC School of Design, had seen first-hand the lack of diversity coming through the doors of our training providers. She reached out to several people of colour within the Interior Design industry to discuss and understand their challenges and experiences, asking what they felt needed to happen to address issues of inequality. Motivated by the conversations she had, Alexandria reached out to magazine editors and leaders in the industry to specifically promote the benefits of schools outreach programmes, having had her own personal success story in the form of her daughter, now a ballerina at the Royal Ballet School thanks to a brilliant initiative “Chance to Dance”.
Sophie and Alexandria soon joined forces. Encouraged and supported by key industry leaders and pledges of support from peers, they decided to launch United in Design fuelled by the belief that words are not enough and that what we need now – is diversity in action.
Since its creation, UiD has successfully setup an apprenticeship scheme offering those from black, Asian and minority ethnic groups the opportunity to gain an unparalleled experience through a 1 year paid placement across 4 different companies.