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Karlie Kloss: Turning her runway fame into a platform to empower and inspire


Karlie Kloss is a woman of confidence and authority when she struts down the runway, which she has done for hundreds of times including for top designers and fashion brands. But beyond the catwalk, the supermodel dubbed as “The Panther” is driven by a greater cause.


She has graced the covers of hundreds of magazines, at least 40 of which were for Vogue, but one of the most impactful was being recognized on TIME 100 — where she was described as the epitome of the ideal American millennial woman — for her Kode With Klossy (KWK) initiative that empowers young women to pursue a career in technology by teaching them essential coding skills. 


I had the opportunity to meet Karlie in New York during the Clinton Global Initiative where she affirmed her support for stronger reproductive health care for women. One of her KWK graduates also shared how the summer camp has been equipping girls with the knowledge to take the path of tech and empower them to become leaders in the industry.


Karlie Kloss

 

Making an impact beyond the catwalk


For Karlie, it is important to utilize what she has — be it influence, fame, or knowledge — to advance the things that she cares about.


She has used her love for baking to create cookies that benefitted hungry children around the world, as well as one that helped support emerging fashion designers.


In 2014, her interest in technology led her to taking a class in coding. She found it empowering and was determined to share it to more girls to open more opportunities for women in the realm of technology. This led her to launch KWK, specifically for women, nonbinary, trans, and people of color to have access to and enter the ICT industry.


In the two-week summer camp, students explore concepts in both front-end and back-end software engineering and app development. It has expanded from a scholarship program of 21 students in 2015 to an international program of 12,000 scholars across 99 countries today. And it has made an impact on the lives of its students as over 78 percent of KWK alumni pursue studies in computer science or engineering, compared to four percent of women nationally in the US.

 

Technology as a tool for empowerment 


Even in the world of fashion, Karlie is showing how technology can help expand and open more opportunities for individuals to express their creativity.

Just last September, Vogue Business introduced Karlie as one of Vogue Business 100 Innovators Class of 2023 from the Tech and Web3 category for her work in advancing digital fashion.


One of her latest tech ventures, Fashion Klossette, is an immersive experience in Roblox that lets users design, style, and showcase their looks and experience the creativity and excitement of the fashion industry.


For Karlie, it’s one way to democratize access to the fashion world. The intersection of fashion and technology also opens more business opportunities and platforms to crowd-source data that can be helpful for future production.

The entrepreneur and philanthropist also believes in the power of social media to make a positive impact. She says that social media has helped her project herself to the world “in the most authentic way.” 


In an interview for Time magazine, she advised girls to take social media like a grain of salt, but also to use it for all the wonderful ways, “Use it to get inspired, to communicate, or better yet learn how to write lines of code and to build the next Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook yourself.”


Whatever life throws at Karlie, she’s sure to use it to upgrade her knowledge and turn it into a tool to empower others.

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