Fashion Seniors Announced as 2021 FSF Scholarship Recipients

Two seniors from the Kent State University School of Fashion were announced as Fashion Scholarship Fund (FSF) 2021 scholarship recipients. Fashion design seniors Jordan Bigelow and Mattney Yates used their creativity and knowledge to develop case studies focused on current world issues.

This year, FSF awarded scholarships to 120 students all over the country. This is slightly down from last year in which 211 scholarships were awarded, making 2021 more competitive than in years past.  Since its inception in 1937,  FSF has awarded millions of dollars in scholarships to thousands of students worldwide. The Fashion Scholarship Fund supports the careers of the country’s most promising fashion students from all backgrounds. It awards over $1.2 million each year to help students succeed in all sectors of the industry: design, merchandising, analytics, marketing and supply chain, among others. During last year’s 2020 FSF awards gala, fashion merchandising alumna Tyshaia Earnest received a $35,000 scholarship as part of their 2020 scholarship awards gala in New York City.

Mattney YatesThis year, Yates and Bigelow developed their case studies around timely, real-world topics. Yates, mentored by fashion faculty Associate Professor Kendra LaPolla and Assistant Professor Rachel Lomonaco-Benzing, Ph.D., developed her case study, “Outdoor Voices” around the potential health issues Gen Zs may develop due to poor posture (aka “Tech Neck”) from spending too much time hunched over electronic devices. She explored how she could use posture-correcting fabric in conjunction with seam details and adjustable straps that would provide support and improve the posture of the wearer.

“As the generation that grew up with technology at their fingertips, it’s difficult to set boundaries and screen time limits. This is leading to larger issues as research is showing the overuse is negatively impacting the overall health of Gen Z,” said Yates.  “The biggest concern is Gen Zs posture, as they spend so much time hunched over their phones, computers, and video games. My collection was created to correct these issues.”

Bigelow is a recipient of the Virgil Abloh™ “Post-Modern” Scholarship awarded by FSF.

Designer Virgil Abloh raised $1 million to benefit scholarships for Black students through the Virgil Abloh™ “Post-Modern” Scholarship Fund (managed in partnership with FSF). The Abloh Fund’s mission is to foster equity and inclusion within the fashion industry by providing scholarships to students of academic promise of Black, African-American, or African descent. Abloh named the fund “Post Modern” to represent that recipients will not only receive funds, but will also be given access to vital career support services and mentoring.

Jordan BigelowBigelow’s case study, “The Unbought Collection,” emphasizes the beauty of Black womanhood through fashion. Her inspiration comes from the legacy of Shirley Chisholm, the highly esteemed Secretary of the House of Democratic Congress, and her presidential run using the campaign slogan, “Unbought and Unbossed.”

“I wanted to honor the path and legacy Chisholm left behind with this case study, while also acknowledging my community’s desire to be represented in fashion,” said Bigelow. “This is for all the Black kids who grew up not seeing themselves represented in the fashion media like they wanted too.”

She was mentored by fashion professor and College of the Arts Interim Assistant Dean Tameka Ellington, Ph.D., and also by Lomonaco-Benzing.  

Case study prompts for FSF 2022 scholarships will be released in February 2021. The scholarship applications are open to any full-time sophomore, junior or senior students with a minimum overall G.P.A. of 3.20. Questions regarding the FSF competition can be directed to Lomonaco-Benzing at  rlomonac@KENT.EDU.

For more information about The Fashion Scholarship Fund, please visit their website.

POSTED: Tuesday, February 23, 2021 - 8:33am
UPDATED: Wednesday, March 17, 2021 - 3:16pm
Brittani Peterson