Eric Emanuel and the Fashion Scholarship Fund on Thursday launched three collaboration shorts designed by FSF scholars Jordan Bigelow of the 2021 class of Virgil Abloh Post-Modern Scholars, Rasheed Peters of FSF class of 2020, and Mia Campolo of FSF class of 2019.
Emanuel, who this year opened his first stand-alone store at the former Bape SoHo location, and the FSF selected the three designs from a vast pool of Scholars with the objective of taking a style to market.
The winning styles that debuted at the Eric Emanuel store and online are vibrant patterns that nod to Emanuel’s brand ethos. Bigelow’s design features a basketball pattern, Campolo stacked the brand’s double E logo to make a 3D pattern, and Peters created a topographical landscape in orange and neutral tones. The three styles promptly sold out at launch.
Through this partnership, Emanuel has donated $100,000 to the FSF, which will grant each winner a $5,000 creative stipend and will fund 10 scholarships for the 2022 class of Scholars. The 10 scholarship recipients will be revealed at the 2022 Fashion Scholarship Fund gala on Feb. 7.
“The process of working with Eric has been life changing,” said Bigelow, who traveled from Pittsburgh to attend the product release. “During the journey, I learned that sometimes the details I am the most worried about are the same details that set me apart. Additionally, I admire the fact that Eric works with local suppliers to make his vision happen. That’s something I want to take with me into my own design and business endeavors.”
Fashion Scholarship Fund executive director Peter Arnold said the organization’s partnership with Emanuel began in April with the opening of Emanuel’s flagship store. “We’ve worked closely since then over the past six months to carry out the collaboration — from conceptualizing and launching the design challenge, to selecting and collaborating with the winners, and now, debuting the capsule,” Arnold said. “Like many of our Scholars, Eric was once a young FIT grad who started his brand from the ground up. He is an incredible role model to the FSF community, and he has shown such a genuine eagerness to support and invest in young talent. He is an ideal mentor and collaborator for our community of scholars, and we are grateful for his support.”
“I’ve worked with Adidas in the past to host workshops for kids, but because of COVID-19 it’s been challenging,” Emanuel said. “I thought this project would be the perfect opportunity for the Scholars who are stuck at home to get creative and design something that they would ultimately see be produced and sold.
The designer mentioned that his mom is a teacher who instilled the importance of education in him at a young age. He was first introduced to the work that the FSF does through the announcement of Virgil Abloh’s Post-Modern Scholarship Fund last year. “Supporting the next generation of talent as they pursue a degree is close to home for me. I knew that the FSF would be the perfect partner to do that with.”
The designer hopes to do more projects with the FSF in the future, but for now is focused on his store, which he said “has been doing tremendously.”
“It was a balancing act at first, because I had no prior retail knowledge aside from working at Foot Locker,” he explained. “Everything fell into place. The demand is so high so we had to make a reservation system.”
Emanuel said his warehouse had been affected by flooding from Hurricane Ida, which put things into perspective for the brand. Despite the setback, he is eyeing a second retail location outside of New York City.
As for FSF, the organization is eyeing more brand partners. “Collaborative projects like this are incredibly beneficial to the scholars — not only do they receive much needed financial support, they also gain tangible, résumé-building industry experience as well as the opportunity to work with terrific mentors like Eric,” Arnold said. “This year, we have kicked-off many incredible design projects and brand partnerships that support our scholars across fashion and beauty — with PacSun, the VF Foundation, Milk Makeup, the Coach Foundation, and Christian Siriano and Luminous Diamonds, among others. We are always looking for creative ways to partner with the brands and companies that align with the interests and aspirations of our scholar community.”