The Fashion Scholarship Fund award finalists

The Fashion Scholarship Fund virtually held its 84th annual Awards Celebration on Jan. 12, celebrating members of its class of 2021 and the 20 inaugural recipients of the Virgil Abloh Post-Modern Scholarship Fund.

Tamron Hall hosted the event that had an audience of more than 1,000 guests and featured appearances by Abloh, Peter Arnold, Marc Mastronardi, Ryan Seacrest and Lydia Fenet, who spoke about the fund, the students and the scholarships. The event included a look at this year’s Chairman’s Award finalists, selected from 1,500 applications: Hannah Harris, a junior at Savannah College of Art and Design; Benjamin Plotkin, a senior at Yeshiva University; Katherine Psaltos, a junior at Parsons School of Design, and Evelyn Siao, a senior at Lehigh University.

Harris presented a campaign for Aveda inspired by her mother called “Silver Linings,” targeted to women aged 40 years and older embracing gray hair. Plotkin developed a strategy for Champion to exit wholesale and transform into a vertically integrated retail and direct-to-consumer brand. Psaltos showed samples of an upcycled, body-inclusive collection targeted toward Gen Z consumers. And Siao presented “Deeper Pockets,” a campaign and women’s product launch for Levi’s offering jeans with deeper pockets for women to raise awareness about the gender wage gap.

A jury comprised of Abloh, Arnold, Mastronardi, Julia Haart, Calyann Barnett, Stacie Henderson and Howard Feller selected Siao as the winner of the Board of Directors’ Chairman’s Award, the FSF’s top scholarship prize.

“I wasn’t really expecting it. I’m really in shock right now,” Siao said right after the announcement. The marketing and design student thanked her family, the FSF, board and judges for the opportunity.

Siao’s grandmother was the inspiration for the campaign, saying she was discouraged to work because she is a woman. She chose Levi’s as her company because they produced the first pair of jeans for women, and thought they would be best suited for this inclusive campaign.

Siao said “Deeper Pockets” is an omnichannel campaign designed to drive customers to the limited-edition silhouette and also raise awareness on the wage gap in the workforce. Proceeds from the sale would go to organizations working against wage discrimination.

The jury was very excited about the idea that was presented via Zoom on Jan. 7. Haart said she was unaware of the difference in pocket sizes for men and women, and Abloh remarked how the campaign allows space for men to participate as well.

Siao closed by saying the campaign could be something the whole industry picks up.

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