NEW YORK — Fashion Scholarship Fund’s 83rd annual gala was held Tuesday night at the New York Hilton in the Midtown neighborhood of Manhattan — representing a sprawl of young talent and next-gen industry ideals.
There were 211 scholarship candidates who attended the gala, with eight scholarship finalists celebrated. Each year the organization awards more than $1 million in scholarship funding and over the past five years alone, FSF has helped place 1,500 scholars with over 150 of its corporate partners which include the likes of Macy’s Inc., Centric Brands Inc., Dereck Lam and Gap Inc. and more.
Celebrated industry honors were: “Fashion Revolutionary of the Year,” awarded to Jennifer Hyman, cofounder and chief executive officer of Rent the Runway; “Social Impact Trailblazer of the Year,” awarded to Minka Kelly, actor and FashionAble partner; and “Business Visionary of the Year,” presented to Jason Rabin, ceo of Centric Brands.
“FSF says to young people who want a life in fashion: you are not alone, you are not invisible, you have allies and you will have help along the way. That standard of kindness and decency and caring sets the tone for their careers and the industry as a whole,” said Brandon Maxwell, designer and long-time supporter of FSF, in his opening remarks before introducing Peter Arnold, the FSF’s executive director.
“I think the honorees speak to a talent pool of students that represent what an opportunity now means in the industry. It’s changed so quickly, and with that so have the opportunities,” Arnold said to WWD, prior to the ceremony.
The FSF scholarship finalists were honored from universities such as Virginia Commonwealth University, Ohio State University, University of Cincinnati, Kent State University, University of Delaware, Savannah College of Art And Design and Parsons School of Design.
The top winner of the night was Kent State student Tyshaia Earnest, who is pursuing a degree in fashion merchandising, with dual minors in marketing and visual journalism.
“The kids that are here want to work for a digitally native brand or they love the idea of brand platforms or brand aggregators; they love sustainability. These are their passions in school. I think our job as an organization is to marry those interests of students with the opportunities out there. But I do think that Jennifer [Hyman], Jason [Rabin] and Minka [Kelly], quite frankly, represent a really interesting cross-section of folks that are connected to those opportunities,” he continued.
Arnold, during his speech, reiterated the idea that “talent can be found everywhere” and that it exists as the “life-blood of this industry.”
“I often find that I receive the most mentorship not necessarily from people who have ‘been there, done that’ — but the next generation of talent and leaders,” said Hyman to WWD, citing more inspiration to disrupt the norm fueled by this group.
With Centric Brands as a longtime partner to FSF, Rabin shared the value he finds in helping nurture young talent, adding that the college students shouldn’t have to feel burdened by “crazy tuition costs they have to face.”
The gala is the first to celebrate FSF’s new identity, following a rebrand in December which streamlined the 1937-founded organization’s logo and overall branding.
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