Emma Sidoriak, a fashion apparel major, represented UD as a finalist in the Geoffrey Beene Scholarship competition.

Fashion awards

Fashion and Apparel Studies students honored with national awards

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8:23 a.m., Jan. 24, 2013--Prominent figures in the fashion world gathered at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York City for the YMA Fashion Scholarship Fund (FSF) Geoffrey Beene National Scholarships Awards Dinner in early January. Seven students from the University of Delaware’s Department of Fashion and Apparel Studies attended the awards banquet and received major recognition as winners of prestigious fashion awards. 

Geoffrey Beene Scholarship

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The YMA FSF Scholarship Committee chose Emma Sidoriak, a UD junior, as a finalist in the Geoffrey Beene Scholarship competition.

Sidoriak, an apparel design and economics double major and Honors Program student, competed for a $30,000 prize against 28 other students from prominent fashion schools. Sidoriak was UD’s first entrant into this competition, which is only open to students who have previously won FSF awards. 

The competition required students to develop and present a business plan for a popup store — a new, emerging retail channel in the apparel industry. Sidoriak developed a company called The Matchbox, which uses technology to help shoppers find clothing that best compliments their skin, eye and hair color.

As one of just eight finalists, Sidoriak presented her work to the YMA FSF Scholarship Committee in New York City. 

“Presenting my case study to the YMA FSF Board was a rush,” said Sidoriak. “I knew the judges were all going to be leaders in the fashion industry, so I really had to work hard to not let my nerves get the best of me. In the end, I was just really excited to put my idea out there. It was truly a great learning experience.”

While not among the four winners, Sidoriak won $10,000 as one of the finalists.  

“We are very proud that she was selected as a finalist,” said Marsha Dickson, chair of the Department of Fashion and Apparel Studies. “Along with this year’s other award winners, she exemplifies the talent and preparation it takes to make a difference in the apparel industry.”

YMA Fashion Scholarship Fund award

Six UD students won YMA Fashion Scholarship Fund awards this year. Fashion merchandising students Sabriya Jefferson, Michelle Ma, Catherine Pastor and Dana Olson, apparel design student Samantha Tharler and apparel design and fashion merchandising student Alexandra McKay were all honored as YMA FSF scholarship winners. 

Each winner receives a $5,000 scholarship and the opportunity to participate in an industry internship. Winners will be provided with a mentor from the ranks of fashion’s elite to guide them through the industry. Each YMA FSF winner will be eligible to compete for the Geoffrey Beene Scholarship the following year, according to Martha Carper, UD faculty director of the YMA scholars. 

This year’s YMA FSF applicants faced tough competition and a rigorous application process.

From a pool of 250 applicants from 41 participating schools, the YMA FSF Scholarship Committee selected 125 scholarship winners. 

Each applicant completed a case study project, submitted an essay detailing their fashion background and aspirations and completed an interview with an YMA FSF Ambassador. 

McKay, a senior apparel design and fashion merchandising major, has won the FSF scholarship two years in a row and is grateful for the recognition. 

“Besides the financial assistance and networking opportunities it offers, I love the fact that you are chosen for the scholarship based on how well you complete the case study. It is nice to have someone outside of your professors, friends and family validate your work,” she said. 

The awards dinner at the Waldorf-Astoria gave Tharler, a senior apparel design major, a glimpse into the glamorous world of fashion.

“I got a tingling sense that I was surrounded by the most talented fashion students and very significant people in the fashion industry.  It was one of those special times where you think, ‘I have waited my whole life for this moment,’” said Tharler.

Fashion success

In the three years that UD has participated in the YMA scholarship program, UD students have earned a total of $105,000 in scholarships, according to Dickson. 

“Delaware’s success in the YMA scholarship program is a reflection of our students’ ability to compete on a national level in the most coveted scholarship program in our industry,” said Carper. “Working with these students is such an honor for me, because I see first-hand their talent and drive to become the best in their field.”

Article by Kelley Bregenzer

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