Fashion School News Academy Award: 2006 Target/CFDA Design Initiative Award Winner

Olg Mashkova-Henry, School of Fashion BFA Knitwear Design Senior, has won the ‘Target/CFDA Design Initiative’ Award and accepted the position of a one-year paid internship as a designer with Target in Minnesota.

This is a highly competitive, nationwide opportunity and participants hold degrees from the country’s top fashion schools with only three to six students from each of the invited colleges and universities able to apply each year.

“This project is possibly the most difficult for the students to succeed at as they have to show incredible originality with their ideas but must harness their creativity to design for a customer outside of what they know,” says Simon Ungless, Director of Graduate Fashion. “Olga worked very hard to develop the understanding of the core Target customer and produced a great project for them, she deserves this great opportunity. We are very proud of her.”

The Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) created its Masters Program in 1998 providing one-year, paid internship opportunities with a designer, design company, or major retail company to graduating seniors. Currently, the Masters Program operates in conjunction with Target Stores as the ‘Target/CFDA Design Initiative’. The very practical, hands-on program is designed to expose the recent graduate to all aspects of the fashion business.

Growing up in Russia with no importing forced Olga and her Mother to sew their own clothing but led Olga to find she enjoyed the process. As fashion is not considered a serious career choice in Russia, she left in 2000 to pursue her dream of becoming a designer in the United States.

She arrived in San Francisco with only $550 in her pocket but immediately set out for work. The process has not been smooth but that “struggle made me push harder,” admits Olga. “When you want something, you just do it!”

In the School of Fashion, Olga has found her passion studying knitwear design. “I find it exciting and challenging to create my own fabrics with different yarns. I love the possibility of bringing my ideas of unique textures and patterns to life”, says Olga. “My designs are styled as casual, comfortable knitwear with unusual and unique little details, something you would wear to work and to a casual event afterwards.”

Being chosen in this national competition is very exciting for Olga and a great reward for all her hard work. “I like that Target is a place where the whole family will find something to buy and being such a large company, Target provides many opportunities for professional growth and will allow me to explore different directions of design work. Also, as an activist,” adds Olga, “I respect Target’s involvement in community giving with a variety of educational and fundraising programs. I was amazed to find out how many different organizations Target supports and how much volunteering occurs within the company. I want to work for a company that actually cares.”