Singer-reality-star-turned-designer Jessica Simpson, Macy’s chief merchandising officer Tim Baxter and Peerless Clothing president Ronny Wurtzburger will be honored at the YMA Fashion Scholarship Fund Geoffrey Beene National Scholarship Awards dinner on Jan. 12 in New York.

In its 79th year, the event will be held at the New York Marriott Marquis for the first time to accommodate a larger guest list, according to organizers. Nearly $1 million will be awarded in scholarships for fashion programs at universities and colleges nationwide. The YMA FSF will award $5,000 scholarships to 161 scholars, who were chosen from hundreds of applicants. There will also be eight Geoffrey Beene National Scholarships Awards — four recipients will each receive a $30,000 award and the remaining four will each take home a $10,000 award to further pursue their education and career goals.

In 2005, the FSF began a partnership with the Geoffrey Beene Foundation to underwrite the event and to establish the Geoffrey Beene National Scholarship Awards for which the foundation has donated $5 million to the FSF.

Simpson has a $1 billion signature brand. This spring Sequential Brands Group Inc., inked a deal to acquire a majority stake in the company, including the Jessica Simpson Collection master license and other rights, for an undisclosed amount of cash and stock. The 35-year-old Simpson still owns the balance of the equity of her company. With the financial support of Sequential Brands, the aim is to focus on international growth for the brand and to potentially double sales, according to industry sources.

Baxter and Wurtzburger have their own celebrity tie, as Peerless produces Shaquille O’Neal’s men’s wear collection, which is sold at Macy’s. Last month the retailer unveiled a another major initiative aimed at male shoppers. Macy’s has joined forces with Men’s Wearhouse to open concept shops staffed by Men’s Wearhouse employees to offer tuxedo rentals in 300 of its department stores.

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