North Texas Daily

Fashion case study class offers competitive scholarships and career opportunities

Fashion case study class offers competitive scholarships and career opportunities

Fashion case study class offers competitive scholarships and career opportunities
April 27
12:00 2023

College of Merchandising, Hospitality and Tourism Dean Jana Hawley will be teaching the Fashion Scholarship Fund case study class for her fifth summer at the university after three of her students won the national competition this year.

Seventy schools including the University of North Texas are eligible for the program. Students from any major can apply for the fashion scholarship fund, and can select from four cases for their case analysis: design and product development, merchandising, marketing analytics and business strategy. Winners are able to receive $7,500-$25,000 in scholarships and attend special events in New York City.

“The fashion scholarship fund is a national organization of businesses in the fashion world, mostly based in New York City and they donate money to find talent,” Hawley said. “It has become a large scholarship for fashion students, and this last year they gave away $1.3 million in scholarships to 127 different students from across the nation.”

The case study theme of this year’s Summer Scholar Series is “Environmental, Societal and Governance,” and all four disciplines will examine how brands address sustainability goals. This also includes communicating with consumers about the brand’s environmental practices and beliefs.

“I think that this subject is amazing,” said Kaylani Temple, a fashion design and merchandising senior. “The fashion industry as a whole definitely has a lot to do as a whole to improve on when it comes to this. I think additionally it’s really important that the case study is presented to those of us that are still in school, it’s setting us up to have this understanding of sustainability and ethical practices that as the new generation comes in, will really shape the way that the fashion industry grows and changes.”

Registration for this year’s course opened earlier this month. Hawley has been an FSF liaison for over 20 years at other universities and started her position at the university in 2018. The university had two student FSF scholars in 2017, four in 2018 and three in 2023. The program itself is over 85 years old, and features sponsorships and specialized scholarships from companies like Ralph Lauren, Levi Strauss Co. and Nike.

“Since I’m the dean, I’m not in a normal classroom anymore, so it’s my one chance to get to work with students and I just love working with them every summer,” Hawley said. “Throughout my entire career of being an FSF liaison the ones that have won, whether they were from

the University of Missouri, Indiana University, wherever, I’ve maintained a relationship with these students. And because they are FSF scholars, they have really climbed in their careers, so they’ve landed impressive careers all over the nation — actually all over the world — so it’s really fun to see them be successful because of this.”

Though most students are design or marketing majors, the program is open to all majors and skill sets. The only requirements for interested students are a minimum 3.2 GPA in their major and not be expected to graduate before May 2024. Once members are recruited, Hawley gets in contact with her students and matches them up with an industry expert in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

After choosing a topic, students get a prompt with a certain number of slides and specific instructions on how to present their case study. Students have a goal each week for their project, then share feedback with each other and receive relevant insight from Hawley. The course takes place during the summer, but students can make adjustments to their case study until it is due in October.

“For the rest of their career they have lifelongopportunities given to them because everyone who works in the industry recognizes the FSF scholar as someone who has excelled. So they get to go to New York, there’s a big gala event where they can meet these big executives from many, many companies and then they start working with the executive director to find an internship.”

This year’s winners were CMHT seniors Amira Linson and Fatima Barati and College of Visual Arts & Design sophomore Genaro Ramirez. The students traveled to the gala on April 3rd. FSF also offers several scholarships for BIPOC students, including the Virgil Abloh “Post-Modern” Scholarship Fund, of which Linson was a recipient this year, making this her second time being named a Virgil Abloh Scholar.

Barati did her case study on the brand Pacsun and the topic of virtual influencers, which is a digital avatar and a curated online presence, with the purpose of looking and acting like a real human. Her strategy was to use this “influencer”

to improve customer loyalty for the brand, and she chose the brand Pacsun because of its largely Gen-Z audience, which she felt she could easily relate to.

“After winning, the experience in New York City was beyond my expectations,” Barati said. “We were able to visit Condé Nast, the headquarters of Vogue, and have a panel discussion with some honorable leaders of Vogue and even had the guest appearance of Anna Wintour to share some advice about the industry and answer questions. Some of us got to go to Nordstrom and Kohl’s for more panel discussions with other valuable leaders in the industry.”

Through FSF, Barati was connected to a recruiter from Pacsun, and will start working as an e-commerce intern this summer. In addition to the NYC trip, winners can receive access to webinar workshops, mentorship programs and assistance with getting internships or full-time job placements. FSF scholars can also join an alumni association, which Barati says she looks forward to being a part of.

Featured Image Student fashion pieces are on display inside of the Art Building on April 24, 2023. Marco Barrera

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Celie Price

Celie Price

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