Fashion Scholarship Fund helps designers in the fashion industry get ahead

(WTNH) — On this edition of “Nyberg,” we sat down with Doug Evans who is the executive director of the Fashion Scholarship Fund.

The fund, based in New York City, has been helping designers in the fashion industry get ahead for 80 years. It’s mission? To encourage gifted and enterprising young people and to mentor them to pursue careers in design, merchandising, retailing, and business.

There are 61 schools and universities involved with the scholarship. While no Connecticut schools are involved, others across New England are, including Harvard and the University of Rhode Island.

“When I started three or four years ago, [we gave away] 125 scholarships…This past year, we gave away 227 scholarships so we’re continuing to grow it,” explained Evans. “We had a couple hundred applications a couple of years ago. We want to grow this.

Evans expressed a desire to have major fashion labels become involved in the scholarship as well.

“We want more people like Vera [Wang], and Martha [Stewart], and Iris [Apfel] and Michael Strayhorn involved with us to inspire these young people because in any industry you know if you’re just a piece of paper, if you’re one of the thousands of people on the street trying to find a job, you need that mentor, that guide, to help you,” stated Evans.

Evans says having the designers sit down and speak with the scholarship recipients would have a lasting impact on their careers.

“When you take a Vera Wang and you put her in front of young people and she tells her personal story, that’s what celebrity designers who work with us do for us,” he said. “They sit down. They actually sit down with these young people and say ‘Look, this is where I started. You think you can’t make it, [but] let me tell you how I got to where I am.'”

Vera Wang is one of the people who could leave such an impact, Evans says.

“Ver is one of those people. She is a totally diversified designer in business with all the different designs she has,” he explained.

If you are in college and you are thinking about pursuing a career in design, retail, or tech, go to the Fashion Scholarship Fund’s website and apply. You might be surprised at what happens.

For more information and to apply, visit www.ymafsf.org.

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