WWD: YMA Event Honors Jason Wu, Raises $1.5 Million

January 11, 2012
The YMA Fashion Scholarship Fund honored its past and celebrated its future at its annual fund-raising dinner at the Waldorf-Astoria Tuesday night.The event commemorated the group’s 75th anniversary and drew many of the executives who had been honored by the organization throughout its history, including Mort Gordon, Norman Fryman, Stuart Goldblatt, Allen Sirkin, Karen Murray and Wayne Meichner. But the stars of the evening were the record 126 college students who had received scholarships from the group to further their studies in the fashion industry. They were seated at a long table that ran down the center of the Grand Ballroom, although most of the scholars spent the night networking with the 850 or so fashion industry movers and shakers that filled the room.

The one attracting the biggest crowd was designer Jason Wu, who received the group’s Future of Fashion Award at the event. Students stood in line for a chance to shake his hand and take photos with the rising star. And maybe one or two asked him for a job.

In accepting his award, the humble 28-year-old related how much work it takes to be successful in the fashion industry once the velvet curtains have been pulled aside and reality takes hold. He quipped how he answered his own phone, pretending to be the receptionist, spent Saturday nights packing boxes to ship to Bergdorf Goodman, and getting together a group of editors and friends to review his first collection. “OK, 90 percent of them were friends,” he said, “and one was my aunt from New Jersey.” Still, he told the students, the experience he gained was invaluable. “I still consider myself a student,” he said, quoting his mother that “once you stop learning, you stop growing.”

Macy’s Jeff Gennette presented the keynote speech at the event, telling students that the three biggest things to remember are to stay current, stay connected and learn to collaborate.

The Geoffrey Beene Foundation, which has pledged more than $4 million to FSF through 2014 for student scholarships, also presented four students with $30,000 scholarships and four others with $10,000 awards during the event, which featured a rousing musical performance by the original cast members of “Jersey Boys.”

All told, the evening raised $1.5 million for the organization.

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  • YMA FSF

    31 W 34th Street, 10th Floor NY, NY 10001
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