Seven fashion students shine in scholarship competition

Cornell Chronicle Online
Jan. 16, 2012
Suyoung Min, Brittany Lutz, Susan Freeman and Amelia Brown

Anita Racine/Provided
From left, award winners Suyoung Min, Brittany Lutz, Susan Freeman and Amelia Brown attend the YMA Fashion Scholarship Fund gala in New York City.

Seven undergraduates in Cornell’s Department of Fiber Science & Apparel Design (FSAD) in the College of Human Ecology have each received $5,000 scholarship awards in a prestigious national fashion design and management competition.

As winners of the annual YMA Fashion Scholarship Fund awards, they also scored invitations to the fund’s Jan. 10 gala and 75th anniversary celebration at the Waldorf Astoria in New York City, where they rubbed elbows with fellow standout student designers and some of the biggest names in fashion.

The winners from Cornell and their academic concentrations:

  • Mariana Barreto ’13, fashion design management;
  • Amelia Brown ’12, fashion design;
  • Susan Freeman ’13, fashion design management;
  • Matthew Gottesman ’13, fashion design;
  • Brittany Lutz ’12, fashion design management;
  • Suyoung Min ’12, fashion design; and
  • Lulu Mu ’13, fashion design.

Scholarship applicants are judged on multiple factors, including GPA, industry internship experience, an interview with a YMA board member, a personal essay and their performance on the competition’s case studies, which assess their business acumen and fashion design skills.

Barreto, for example, submitted a detailed business plan for her mock company, Chic Shape, which she envisioned as an online retail store that would offer designer fashion for plus-sized women. Its mission statement — “You shouldn’t have to change for fashion, fashion is changing for you” — originates from Barreto’s discovery that few fashion labels cater to curvy women.

“Having gone through the process of coming up with an idea, doing the research and formulating a coherent, comprehensive business plan has not only given me a snapshot of what it takes to start a business, but also gives me encouragement to possibly start my own business in the future,” Barreto said.

She added: “Having all the hard work actually pay off in the end was really rewarding. The generous financial reward will definitely help with tuition or expenses I’ll incur with a summer internship in New York City.”

Historically, FSAD students have performed well in the YMA Fashion Scholarship Fund competition, including John Sohn ’12 and Heber Sanchez ’09, winners of the fund’s top $25,000 Geoffrey Beene National Scholarship award in recent years.

FSAD associate professor Van Dyk Lewis and senior lecturer Anita Racine advised the students throughout the competition. “YMA is the most important industry sponsored competition because it enjoys wide support from leading American fashion companies and its appeal is attracting more universities to take part, including Penn and Harvard,” Lewis added.

Ted Boscia is assistant director of communications for the College of Human Ecology.

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