New York City-based YMA Fashion Scholarship Fund, which supports young talent pursuing careers in the fashion industry, held a talk and dinner at the San Vicente Bungalows in Los Angeles last night in celebration of its first West Coast talent acquisition event, being held downtown today.
“This replicates a highly successful event we do annually in New York,” shared executive director Peter Arnold in a statement to WWD. The YMA Fashion Scholarship Fund, founded in 1937, has been hosting events to support its scholarship recipients since 2014. The organization awards scholarships of $5,000 to $35,000 to students from over 60 colleges in the U.S. “We want to recognize the talent base that is in L.A. and introduce them to meaningful opportunities with West Coast brands.”
Those brands include 24 Seven, Boardriders, Levi Strauss & Co., Sephora, Stitch Fix, Macy’s, Centric Brands and Global Brands Group. Roughly 150 university students from the L.A. area will network directly with brand representatives for potential internship and career opportunities.
“As our industry is evolving, its hiring needs are changing, and so are the curriculums and training at our 62 partner colleges and universities,” continued Arnold. “We have an investment in supporting that dynamism between our partner educational institutions and the companies who employ our scholars. Last night’s conversation was a bit of a window for the audience into some of the challenges and opportunities on both sides.”
For the chat, moderated by Kate Betts, Arnold was joined by Jill Higashi-Zeleznik, chair of Otis College of Art and Design’s fashion department, and Lawren Cappelletti, an L.A.-based fashion designer and Fashion Scholarship Fund alum. The three discussed the skills needed today to flourish in the industry. At the end of the day, hard work always supersedes talent, however, shared Higashi-Zeleznik. Guests included “Succession” actor Nicholas Braun, Violet Grey’s April Uchitel, fashion designers Barbara Tfank, Heidi Merrick and duo Emily Current and Meritt Elliott.