When they created fictitious clothing lines for online retailers as part of the YMA Fashion Scholarship Fund (FSF) contest, Buffalo State fashion students Lucile Ragot (pictured right) and Kelsey Bashore (on left) didn’t realize what a coup winning might be.
As FSF winners, the fashion and textile and technology majors not only won $5,000 scholarships but also gained entry into the elite world of New York City fashion. Along with internship and mentoring opportunities, the students won seats to the 2013 Geoffrey Beene National Scholarship Awards Dinner and an overnight stay in the Waldorf Astoria.
“The hotel was magnificent and meeting people from the fashion industry was a really good experience,” said Ragot, a native of Normandy, France, who expects to graduate in December and hopes to design her own fashion line someday. “It encouraged me and boosted my self-confidence.”
On a more pragmatic note, she said the scholarship will cover costs for her last semester at Buffalo State.
Likewise, Bashore noted the tremendous difference the scholarship will make in her life.
“This is exciting and a big relief,” said Bashore, a junior and captain of the women’s volleyball team who hopes to work for an activewear or outdoor apparel company. “I’m planning on putting all of the scholarship money toward school.”
The YMA Scholarship Fund is a national nonprofit association dedicated to promoting education of the fashion arts and business by granting scholarships to talented students and facilitating internships, mentorships, and career programs.
“These are the largest and most prestigious scholarships that a student majoring in fashion can be awarded,” said Lynn M. Boorady, associate professor and chair of the Fashion and Textile Technology Department. “I and the rest of the fashion faculty are extremely proud of both Lucile and Kelsey.”
This is the first year Buffalo State students could be considered for the scholarships as each school must be invited to join the competition. Buffalo State competed against 40 institutions, including Harvard, the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, Pratt Institute, Fashion Institute of Technology, and the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising.
Students had to submit a 10-page case study either in design or fashion merchandising. The judges look at the studies blindly, and no school is guaranteed a winning student, Boorady said.
Ragot partially attributes winning to the computer expertise she developed thriugh the fashion design program.
“I noticed that many of the students had hand-drawings in their portfolios while ours were computer generated,” she said.
During their New York trip, the scholarship recipients attended a private job fair featuring such high-end companies as Nautica, Saks, and Ralph Lauren.
“It was great to make connections. I got to talk to the CEOs of big companies,” Bashore said. “Some (companies) want me to come back to New York City for interviews... I’m going to write them all thank-you e-mails and see what my options are.”