Joe’s Blackbook has selected the winners of its annual scholarship awards: Cody Cannon of the Fashion Institute of Technology was the men’s wear winner and Julia (Hyo Min) Choi of Otis College of Art and Design, an international student from South Korea, was the women’s wear winner. Both of the college juniors will receive $10,000 toward their education.
Joe Medved, Joe’s Blackbook founder, said that although the pandemic changed the process this year, there was never a thought of not moving ahead with the program.
“We found a way to innovate and use technology to celebrate and support the creative talent from U.S. design schools despite the pandemic,” he said. “This year was a milestone as we have given away $200,000 in scholarships. Due to COVID-19, we were unable to host physical events for the scholarship as we normally would. But we were fortunate to have received all of the submissions before the lockdown started in New York, and to have industry experts review the finalists’ projects remotely — for example, our good friend Robert Geller sent a thorough voice memo of his notes on the projects, all the way from Portugal.”
In addition, the company was able to hold its annual scholarship fundraiser auction in February before the lockdown, raising $15,000. Those funds were supplemented by support received from corporate sponsors: Red Bull, Todd Snyder, American Eagle, Gap, Tommy Hilfiger, Urban Outfitters, J. Crew, Aritzia, Ralph Lauren.
Medved said Joe’s Blackbook was also able to catalog all student submissions digitally to share with employers so that they may reach out directly to the students with any internship and entry-level opportunities. Many schools filter their students’ works before submitting to our scholarship, so we always receive a highly talented pool of students.”
“The Joe’s Blackbook Scholarship competition not only gave me a platform to display my work to others, but more importantly gave me a track to challenge myself,” Cannon said. “Truly, I poured my soul into this and surprised myself with the potential. I am so immensely honored to be selected as the men’s wear winner. I cannot express the breadth of my gratitude. As a recent graduate with the uncertain horizon of COVID-19 stretched before me, I hope to find work, of course. Ideally, I would like to design for a company or individual with an artistic direction that I relate to, so I can develop creatively as well as professionally.”
Choi said she hopes to stay in the U.S. after graduating by getting a job in New York. “As an international student, it makes it a little hard to stay here with fewer opportunities. But, I want to do my best to have a job experience in the United States which can give me special experience in the fashion industry.”
This is the 10th year of the scholarship program and 80 percent of the finalists have been from BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and people of color) communities.