Three students in FIT’s Jay and Patty Baker School of Business and Technology have been awarded Fashion Scholarship Fund scholarships of $7,500 each. Katyana Avila, 20, a Fashion Business Management major from Union, New Jersey; Aliyah Freeman, 28, a Home Products Development major, also from Union; and Kyuwon “Kate” Han, 47, an International Trade and Marketing major from Brooklyn, were among 123 students across four disciplines—design and product development, marketing analytics, merchandising, supply chain—to be named FSF Scholars.
Additionally, Freeman was named one of 23 recipients of the Virgil Abloh™ “Post-Modern” Scholarship. In July 2020, Virgil Abloh announced the creation of the fund, raising $1 million to support the next generation of Black fashion industry leaders. The mission of the fund is to foster equity and inclusion within the fashion industry by providing scholarships to students of academic promise of Black, African American, or African descent. Abloh named the fund “Post-Modern” to represent that recipients will not only receive funds, but will also be given access to vital career support services and mentoring.
The Fashion Scholarship Fund is the foremost fashion-oriented education and workforce development nonprofit in the U.S. The FSF works directly with the country’s most talented young students from diverse backgrounds and awards over $1 million each year in scholarships to help these students succeed in all sectors of the industry including design, merchandising, marketing analytics, and supply chain. The annual FSF Case Study Scholarship is its signature program. The scholarship topics change each year but always involve an in-depth student challenge that focuses on real issues facing the fashion industry today. The FSF also provides scholars with a wide range of internship and career opportunities, mentorship, networking, professional development, and unprecedented access to the industry’s most influential leaders and companies.
Avila’s case study, #LetGlow, focusing on marketing analytics, is a look in to CoverGirl’s current marketing strategy, and proposes a new campaign that brings awareness to mental health and promotes being kind to oneself. Han’s case study, BOMBAS, focusing on supply chain, examines how the sock company BOMBAS can expand its positive impact as a mission-driven company through the implementation of supply chain innovations and optimizations. Han, who worked in the industry for a number of years after getting her AAS, came back to school in large part because of her interest in supply chain studies.
Freeman’s case study, focusing on design and product development, looks at Pyer Moss: The Reclamation Collection, a sustainable collection of home products designed to encourage collective Black rest and healing. The concept offers sustainable solutions for the home that reflect the ethereal beauty of Black American culture while prioritizing collective rest and healing in an ever-changing world.
“Looking at the way the home has been impacted by COVID and how people are renegotiating their spaces and how they’re interacting with their products,” Freeman said. “I wanted to incorporate the post-pandemic ideals and values of African American consumers in the home, so I started to reimagine the home for them and how values from the past and the present kind of impacted the way that we all interact with our homes. So I approached the case study from a perspective of different values—folklore, music, and different aspects of the experience of Black culture.”
Each of the FIT students received $7,500 with no restrictions on what they could do with it. Freeman plans to save the money to start her own resale business for home furnishings and antiques. Han is saving hers for now.
As for Avila: “For me, my money is going straight back to school,” she said. “My parents are first-gen immigrants, and they spent all their money to come here so I didn’t have any college savings. I’ve had to pay all my tuition. To live in the city, I’ve had to RA. So any scholarships I can find, anything, I’m always going for it … This is going back to tuition.”