The field has been narrowed to the final four. No, it’s not college basketball — it’s the finalists for the Fashion Scholarship Fund’s $25,000 Chairman’s Award.
On Wednesday night, the students presented case studies to a panel of judges, who will determine who will be awarded the top scholarship at the organization’s annual gala on April 3. The judges who will make that decision are Shannon Abloh, widow of Virgil Abloh and founder of Virgil Abloh Securities; Emma Grede, chief executive officer and cofounder of Good American and Skims; Nata Dvir, chief merchandising officer of Macy’s; Paolo Riva, senior vice president and general manager of brand partnerships and merchandising at Neiman Marcus, and Corey Smith, head of diversity and inclusion for North America at LVHM.
The judges were presented with four distinctly different presentations by the students. Clay Lute of LIM College did his case study titled “Nintendo: Enabled,” a merchandising campaign for children on the spectrum to experience adaptive phydigital fashion. Sofia Enriquez of the University of Florida took on “Glossier Everyday” and the creation of a genderless lifestyle line of body products and candles. Olivia Baba of St. Louis-based Washington University titled her case study “Cotton is Queen: Bare x Skims,” a collection based on naturally colored cotton and knit-and-wear technology. And Julian Tong of the University of Minnesota presented “Comme des Garçons: Agora VR Hub,” a virtual marketplace and event space he envisions that would reflect the brand’s expression and propensity for exploration.
The winner will be revealed at the event next month, which will honor Grede, who is being celebrated for her advocacy of diversity and inclusion in fashion and her work on The Fifteen Percent Pledge, along with Anna Wintour, editor in chief of Vogue and global chief content officer for Condé Nast. Wintour is being recognized for her long-standing commitment to supporting and fostering the next generation of fashion talent. Model, entrepreneur and philanthropist Karlie Kloss will be the host of the evening and Abloh will make a special appearance at the gala, which will be held at The Glasshouse in New York City.
While only one student will be awarded the $25,000 prize, 127 scholars will be celebrated that evening, including 27 members of the Class of 2023 Virgil Abloh Post-Modern Scholars. All told, the organization will award more than $1 million in scholarships.
While the dinner and gala may be the pinnacle event, it will be the capoff of a busy day that will start with the scholars attending a breakfast meet-and-greet and panel conversation at Conde Nast hosted by Wintour that will feature several Vogue editors. Following the visit, they will head to lunch and meetings, including one at LVMH U.S. headquarters with Abloh for the Virgil Abloh scholars, as well as a guided store tour and conversation with Nordstrom executives.