YMA Raises $3.5M For Schol­ar­ships

WWD Digital Daily - - The Reviews - BY DAVID MOIN

There’s a need for new tal­ent in the fash­ion busi­ness but the is­sue is be­ing ad­dressed.

On Thurs­day, in one of those crowded, feel- good, chicken-din­ner in­dus­try events, 1,500 re­tail and fash­ion ex­ec­u­tives raised $3.5 mil­lion for the YMA Fash­ion Schol­ar­ship Fund, at the or­ga­ni­za­tion's ben­e­fit, held at the Hil­ton New York.

This year's top eight stu­dent fi­nal­ists, to­gether with over 200 schol­ar­ship re­cip­i­ents, were cel­e­brated at YMA's

82nd an­nual schol­ar­ship gala. The guests of honor were Hal Law­ton, Macy's Inc. pres­i­dent, who re­ceived the “re­tailer of the year” award; Ryan Seacrest re­ceived the “style icon of the year” award, and Martha Ste­wart re­ceived the “life­time achieve­ment” award.

The two big schol­ar­ship win­ners were Jennifer Junker of Iowa State Uni­ver­sity and Is­abella Men­dez from Sa­van­nah Col­lege of Art & De­sign. They each won $35,000.

Ste­wart re­capped her mul­ti­di­men­sional ca­reer as a style­maker, a de­signer, TV celebrity, au­thor, Wall Street ex­ec­u­tive and as a model pos­ing for nu­mer­ous pho­tog­ra­phers, one of which she sin­gled out. “I should have mar­ried Frank Coburn.” She said she's pub­lished more than 90 books. “My au­to­bi­og­ra­phy will be my 100th. I don't know when it will hap­pen, but it will hap­pen.”

Her ad­vice to the schol­ar­ship win­ners: “Never stop learn­ing. Never stop read­ing. Never stop look­ing for­ward and never stop try­ing...Stoke your cu­rios­ity, ab­sorb tech­nol­ogy and take cal­cu­lated risks.

Never fool­ish chances.”

And she had some prag­matic ad­vice to the as­pir­ing fash­ion de­sign­ers in the crowd: “Clothes have to be well made, fit, serve a pur­pose, feel good and have to last.”

“I still con­sider my­self a bit of a novice in this world,” said Seacrest. But he said he got into the fash­ion busi­ness “driven by busi­ness op­por­tu­nity and a long-time fas­ci­na­tion with fash­ion...I just wanted to feel good in my clothes.”

“Ryan is dap­per, well-groomed, mod­ern but not ul­tra-mod­ern and very ap­proach­able. He wants to be the fash­ion cu­ra­tor for young Amer­i­cans so they can al­ways dress well for an oc­ca­sion,” said David Katz, vice pres­i­dent and chief mar­ket­ing of­fi­cer of Randa, which co-cre­ated the Ryan Seacrest Dis­tinc­tion men's col­lec­tion with Seacrest. The col­lec­tion is sold at hun­dreds of Macy stores ex­clu­sively.

Martha Ste­wart, Ryan Seacrest and Macy’s Hal Law­ton were hon­ored at Thurs­day’s ben­e­fit.

Among those at the event: Wil­liam Sus­man, Peter Sachse and Michael Se­tola, pres­i­dent, chair­man and trea­surer, re­spec­tively of the YMA. Also spot­ted: Gary Shein­baum, John Tighe, Liz Rod­bell, Abbey Do­neger, Tom Burns, Karen Mur­ray, Mor­ris Gold­farb, Sam Had­dad, Danielle DiFer­di­nando and a bevy of Macy's ex­ec­u­tives in­clud­ing Jeff Gen­nette, Paula Price, Justin Mc­Far­land, and Marc Mas­tronardi, who serves as vice pres­i­dent of the YMA.

Peter Arnold, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of the Fash­ion Schol­ar­ship Fund, said, “I've been on the job just eight weeks now, but I've learned the YMA is chang­ing young peo­ple's lives in pro­found ways.”

Hal and Jodie Law­ton

Ryan Seacrest

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