This year’s YMA Fashion Scholarship Fund (FSF) awards have seen a number of big wins for the Academy of Art University. The FSF Scholarship Committee completed the selection process for the $5,000 scholarship competition, and this year there were approximately 255 applicants from 45 participating schools. In late December 2013, FSF announced that 131 winners had been selected to receive $5,000 scholarships. Academy of Art University Fashion Merchandising students Sarah Lemp, Samantha Rathman, Hui Wang, Natalie Vance and Adriana Angelini and Textile students Sheni Moshabesha, Jessica Roland and Holly Hapka rose to the challenge; each student was rewarded with a $5,000 prize and an invitation to the FSF Annual Awards Dinner, which was held on January 8 at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York City.
I asked Samantha Rathman what the biggest challenge was:
“For me, the most challenging part of the YMA project was trying to stick within the guidelines. At first it seems like fourteen pages is a lot but once I got started and began to brainstorm for each aspect of the project I came up with a lot of material which I found hard to try to compress it all the amount of pages they allowed.”
And the most rewarding aspect?
“The most rewarding part of the project was having the freedom to build a brand all on my own from top to bottom. Not only do I now have a project for my portfolio but I have really grown attached to Diverge, the brand I created. I think that’s important with any project, you really have to love what you are producing.”
In addition to approximately 100 $5,000 scholarships that the FSF awards annually, an additional four Geoffrey Beene Scholars will receive $30,000 scholarships to pursue their education and career goals and another four finalists will receive $10,000. So a special mention goes out to textile student Andrea Nieto, a Geoffrey Beene Scholarship finalist last year and winner this year. Andrea won $10,000 in the FSF competition last year, and as a result she was entered the Geoffrey Beene Scholarship this year. She was one of the top eight selected to present her work to the judging panel in early January, and was selected as a $10,000 winner.
FSF’s goal is to advance the fashion industry by encouraging gifted and enterprising young people to pursue careers in design, merchandising, retailing and business, and as a result the FSF has awarded over $8 million in scholarships to more than 900 students nationwide. Record donations of over $16 million have been received in the past ten years, including a $1 million bequest from the Estate of Geoffrey Beene and a $2 million donation from the Geoffrey Beene Foundation.
As further support to its scholars, FSF facilitates internships with prestigious fashion companies and provides career mentoring by prominent senior executives who serve on the FSF Board. Participating companies have included Calvin Klein, Li & Fung, VF Sportswear, Fishman & Tobin, Nike, Polo Ralph Lauren, Liz Claiborne, Nordstrom, Macy’s, Perry Ellis, Bloomingdale’s, Levi Strauss & Co., Target, Kenneth Cole, Lacoste and Tommy Hilfiger.
Written by Keanan Duffty, Senior Director of Fashion Merchandising