Fashion Scholarship Fund Produces First L.A. Events
After decades of producing talent-acquisition events and annual galas in New York City, the Fashion Scholarship Fund produced its first events in Los Angeles.
While the nonprofit scholarship fund has long worked with design schools and colleges in California, last week was the first time that FSF produced a dinner for members, supporters and the Los Angeles fashion community. This was also the fund’s first talent-acquisition event, or job fair, on the West Coast, said Peter Arnold, FSF’s executive director.
Since 1937, FSF has identified top fashion students and sought to introduce them to employers at fashion companies and retailers. Arnold explained how FSF has provided internships, industry networking, mentorships with alumni and fashion executives, and professional-development opportunities.
“What we came to realize is that there is a huge opportunity on the West Coast,” Arnold said. “We have a proven track record with the talent-acquisition event on the East Coast. Since 2014, we’ve held these events as part of our mission to help create career opportunities for our scholarship recipients. In combination with this event and our placement efforts, 100 percent of our 2019 undergraduate class of scholarship recipients secured internships.”
On Oct. 3, FSF produced a dinner at the exclusive private club San Vicente Bungalows in West Hollywood, Calif. The event featured a panel discussion on the future of the fashion workforce and the skills needed to succeed in a changing industry. Speaking on the panel were Arnold; Jill Higashi-Zeleznik, the chair of the fashion department at the Otis College of Art and Design; and Lawren Cappelletti, an FSF alum and designer of the Lawren Michele label. The discussion was moderated by Kate Betts, an author and former editor with glossy magazines including Time and Harper’s Bazaar. Also in attendance were designers Heidi Merrick and Emily Current, Meritt Elliott, Barbara Tfank and April Uchitel, chief executive officer of Violet Gray.
On Oct. 4, more than 150 students involved with FSF and FSF alumni participated in a talent-acquisition event at the Hotel Indigo in downtown Los Angeles. Students and alumni were looking for internships and full-time jobs. Companies with booths at the event included Levi Strauss & Co., Stitch Fix, Joe’s Jeans, Macy’s Inc., Boardriders Inc., the Centric Brands Group, Kohl’s, Ross Stores and the 24/Seven creative-recruitment agency.
Jobs offered at the event included assistant designer, designer, product-development associate, assistant buyer, merchandise assistant, production coordinator and account manager.
Attending the event was also Sydney Silver, who recently earned a BFA in fashion merchandising from the Academy of Art University in San Francisco. Silver was the recipient of a $15,000 FSF scholarship, which she plans to help with a move to Los Angeles and paying down loans.
Part of the work in the scholarship included producing a 15-page case study on the subject of the globalization of fashion, as well as presenting her findings to a panel of executives and FSF directors, Silver said.
“It required brand and location research, an omni-channel launch plan, a merchandise assortment, a marketing plan, and a financial plan. It was a stressful, challenging and fun process to complete,” she said. “I am so grateful that the Fashion Scholarship Fund offers this opportunity for students, and I am so happy I completed it. The intense case study was beyond worth it.”