Jose Moscoso, a junior fashion design major, recently experienced a night that most fashion students only dream about. On January 7, he and Lynn Boorady, chair of fashion and textile technology, rubbed elbows with such luminaries as designer Vera Wang, singer Patti LaBelle, and former Yankees pitcher Mariano Rivera at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York City. It wasn’t just a glitzy evening; Moscoso was honored as a recipient of a $5,000 Geoffrey Beene National Scholarship during the YMA Fashion Scholarship Fund banquet.
As part of a Fashion Scholarship Fund (FSF) contest, Moscoso met the challenge of writing a 10-page case study, including creating designs for activewear company Lululemon. Moscoso, a Brooklyn native, emerged a winner. Originally a chemistry education major, Moscoso recently decided to channel his artistic inclinations into fashion, switching majors, and thriving. He described being named a scholarship recipient and contest winner as "an amazing feeling."
A total of 154 students from colleges across the country won FSF scholarships this year in either the business or design aspect of fashion. Founded in 1937, the fund’s goal is to advance the fashion industry by encouraging, funding, and incubating gifted young students to pursue careers in fashion design, merchandising, retailing, and business.
"This is not a needs-based scholarship; it's talent-based," emphasized Doug Evans, executive director of the YMA Fashion Scholarship Fund. "It's about finding the best of the best of new talent for this industry."
Each college or university invited to participate in the contest was allowed 10 student submissions. From those, the judges looked for detail, expertise, creativity, and how realistic the plans were.
"This is a real business and students must address a challenge outlined in the case study," said Evans.
Either one or two Buffalo State students have been selected winners since 2013, the first year the college was first invited to participate. There is a waiting list of 27 universities wanting to participate in the program, Evans said.
"It's amazingly competitive," said Boorady. "We were up against schools such as the Fashion Institute of Technology and the Wharton School. To have even one student win is pretty phenomenal."
The New York City trip included unique networking opportunities. Prior to the banquet, Moscoso and the other award recipients mingled with executives from such companies as Macy’s, Hearst Media, and Coach. The following day, they attended a job fair with representatives from approximately 20 fashion companies that Evans said are "aggressively pursuing summer interns and new talent to hire."
"It was great to meet all these executives," said Moscoso. "I got to know a little of what they do and also learned about companies I had never heard of. It was amazing to have such a networking opportunity in an industry that is hard to get your foot in the door and be recognized."
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