In January 2019, Jeremy Kalteux, a junior fabric design major at the University of Georgia, attended the 2019 YMA Fashion Scholarship Fund Awards Gala in New York City as the fund’s first UGA finalist in history.
Just three months later, Kalteux is now actively trying to start his own design scholarship competition at UGA, inspired by his success and valuable experiences gained from the FSF.
Celebrating talent and networking
Kalteux’s main purpose for starting a design scholarship competition at UGA is to showcase the talents of the university’s students who are studying fashion and introduce them to new opportunities they never knew existed.
Because UGA is a public institution providing a wide range of majors and programs of study, Kalteux noticed there wasn’t as strong of an emphasis on fashion like there is at schools such as The Savannah College of Art and Design and Parsons School of Design.
“We need something here specifically because there’s so much talent that just goes wasted,” Kalteux said. “People are really interested in fashion, but they just don’t know what to do.”
The design scholarship will be a partnership between the International Association of Clothing Designers and Executives, a national organization consisting of designers and executives who share their experiences working in the fashion industry, and the Fashion Design Student Association at UGA.
The competition will allow students to show off their best design skills and also allow them to network with members from IACDE, who can impart information from their generation to the next one.
“It’s always been a mission of the organization to mentor young people coming into the apparel business,” Steve DiBlasi, the president of the Southern chapter of IACDE, said. “To see the excitement and enthusiasm about the industry by Jeremy and other folks — that’s the best part of it for me.”
Additionally, Kalteux hopes the event will encourage students to join FDSA and be more involved in the fashion design community. While the scholarship will be open to everyone, students who plan to join or who are already members of FDSA won’t have to pay the $5 application fee required of non-members.
A ‘very small version’ of YMA
In terms of the structure and requirements of the design scholarship competition, Kalteux is taking inspiration from the FSF and plans on making a “very small version” of it.
Unlike the FSF, the design scholarship portfolio will only focus on the design aspect of the fashion industry.
Additionally, instead of a full case study, the only requirements expected of each applicant’s design portfolio will be a 300-word written statement explaining the individual’s design process, a mood board that demonstrates inspirations for the designed garment, preliminary and final sketches, a technical flat showing the sewing aspects and five images — both detail and body shots — of the actual garment.
Kalteux chose to do this so students wouldn’t feel intimidated by the application process.
“The whole purpose of the portfolio is just to demonstrate each applicant’s fashion design ability while showing their whole creative process — it’s not some daunting research paper,” Kalteux said.
Each portfolio will be evaluated and graded by members of IACDE, who will act as the board of judges.
Despite the changes, similarly to the FSF awards gala, Kalteux hopes to host a similar networking event during UGA’s fashion week that will culminate in a cocktail hour, a Q&A session with a panel of executives and an awards ceremony to recognize the finalists.
“The scholarship is a way to give students at UGA the opportunity to compete … but it also gives them a venue to show their projects to businesses in the actual industry as opposed to a class project,” DiBlasi said.
While nothing is set in stone, Kalteux expects to have up to five finalists, who will all receive secondary scholarships, in addition to a top winner who will win the grand prize.
If everything goes as planned, the design portfolio scholarship competition will start this coming fall and applicants will have several months to work on their portfolios until the deadline in December. Winners will be announced in February.
Kalteux hopes through this project, he and his team can leave a “lasting mark” on UGA and encourage students in the future to apply their skills.
“I want fashion to be known here at UGA, and I want people to know that they can really be the next Alexander Wang,” Kalteux said. “This is a beacon of hope.”