Sparkle is a highly motivated and visionary interdisciplinary designer, using her skills in fashion design, creative writing, and sociological research to address societal issues and bring about meaningful change. She has been recognized for her dedication and impact in local news and other awards.
PUBLIC IMPACT, AWARDS, AND RECOGNITION
She is the founder and driving force behind two game-changing initiatives, "The Onyx Incubator" and "The Onyx Label."
"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.
"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.
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.
With an established role as a changemaker in the community, Whitaker is always employing design and analytical skills to lead and collaborate on projects. Her expert understanding of design-thinking principles, such as research, ideation, and prototyping, enhance her ability to assess problems, rationalize solutions, and make critical decisions. Whitaker illustrated these skills when she led the research and proposal development for the #WashUTakesResponsibility initiative in June 2020. She led a cross-disciplinary team of 4 undergraduates to dissect articles, demographic data, and collect student insight from user interviews to build an archive of experiential evidence. These materials created context to support our demands that would undergo an 8-month negotiation with administration; the results included student access to more financial literacy tools and the establishment of the Black Student Network, an organization dedicated to the advancement of Black designers at the Sam Fox School.
Sparkle designed clothing for differently-abled young people in St. Louis and supported the final runway show showing the final looks.
The Onyx Label debuted as the opening designer at Chicago Fashion Week on May 1st 2022.
Whitaker was featured as the inaugural recipent of the Ambition Accelerator Grant from Taco Bell Foundation to further the mission of her nonprofit.
Whitaker was featured on Fox News in Chicago, sharing the story and mission behind her nonprofit.