Thursday, December 24, 2009
Project FUNDway rewards aspiring fashion designers - local students to show runway collections
(Rendering by: West Potomac fashion design student Alessandra Degregorio)
On Thursday, December 3, the Greater Washington Fashion Chamber of Commerce (GWFCC) will hold the first-ever Project FUNDway competition for local students aspiring for a career as fashion designers. The three student finalists, Michael Edwards, Samuel Mintah and Adegbemisola Ademisoye, will compete for a $5,000 fashion design scholarship. Taking its cue from the hit reality television show, Project Runway, the finalists will be judged on the design, construction, individuality and quality of a four-piece mini-collection they each created for this competition.
“The mission [of this competition] is to fund a way [for students] to go to school and study fashion,” said Maggy Francois, vice president of education and training for GWFCC and fashion design director for Project Stitch Studio at the West Potomac Academy of Fashion Design. Francois also stated that the students are not only aspiring designers, but also want to be writers and to learn the “business side of fashion,” which is what this contest seeks to teach them.
In addition to putting together a cohesive four-piece collection, the students are also responsible for the production of their own runway show – including searching for models, music selection and purchasing the materials for their garments.
Interested students from Washington, D.C., as part of the submission guidelines, had to present a garment design, write an essay about why they want a career in fashion and submit their grades in school in order to be eligible. Due to overwhelming interest from students in neighboring metro areas, Francois said next year’s competition will be open to students in Maryland and Virginia as well.
In addition to benefiting local students, this event, sponsored in part by the DC City Council and Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development for the District of Columbia Government, seeks to put Washington, DC on the map as a capital city of style by investing in the talent of its residents. Earlier today, the GWFCC released the first-ever report on the state of the DC fashion industry. The Fashion Census Survey Report and the Fashion Action Plan: Identifying the Needs of the Independent Fashion Industry in Washington, D.C.surveyed over 80 local fashion-related businesses and found that Washington, D.C. boasts over 1,900 retail stores and the overall retail industry generated $6 billion in general sales tax revenue for fiscal year 2008.
Download the PDF report here.
Although Washington, D.C. has not traditionally been known for its fashion forwardness, a strong and growing network of designers, merchants and business owners in the fashion sector view these initiatives as a step forward for DC’s burgeoning fashion economy.
Project FUNDways has been garnering considerable local media coverage in advance of the event. Tomorrow at 9:30am on FOX 5 Morning News, the finalists will talk about this contest as an opportunity to support their fashion career goals.
“It’s hard to find scholarships for fashion in this area,” said Francois. “Kids in DC want a fashion program…and want to be visual.”
To learn more about the student finalists and the Project FUNDway contest, visit http://www.gwfcc.org/