SCHOLARLY ADVICE: Building on an alliance that was started last year, the sportswear designer Eric Emanuel has launched a $500,000 scholarship program with the Fashion Scholarship Fund.
Applications are now being accepted for students to join the inaugural 2023 Class of Five EE x FSF Scholars. The aim is to attract a range of students with different majors and backgrounds. Created with $500,000 for the first five years of the program, the EE x FSF Scholarship Program will select five scholars each year from different disciplines. Each person will receive a $10,000 scholarship, $5,000 in added grant opportunities, an apprenticeship and one-on-one mentoring with Emanuel and his network of industry leaders.
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In an interview Friday, Emanuel said that the importance of education was something that was instilled in him at a young age. His mother was a first grade teacher and his father liked to joke with him during his college years at the Fashion Institute of Technology that “he could be brilliant enough to get a scholarship. I didn’t get any,” Emanuel said. “Sometimes the right people don’t get an opportunity for scholarship programs. In doing this, I hope that I can give some kids a shot, where people wouldn’t give me a shot. I have found success in everything that I do. It doesn’t make sense not to give that knowledge and financial help back.”
Having studied marketing at FIT, Emanuel spoke of how essential it is that college students learn from one another regardless what their majors might be. The plan is to create an entrepreneurial community with the selected scholars to foster future talent beyond the calendar year that they are linked up. That will pave the way for scholars to have access to continued mentoring, and the opportunity to connect with scholars from years past.
In order to be eligible, students must currently attend one of the Fashion Scholarship Fund’s 69 member schools in the U.S. After posting about the new initiative earlier this month, Emanuel said that he was DM’ed by about 500 students who wanted to know what the parameters were to apply. Applications are due Oct. 17, and the scholarship winners will be revealed in January.
“The response has been tremendous. The streetwear world has a very youthful clientele. I think it was just so important — even to a lot of other businesses that have reached out to me — to empower the youth. More often than not, a lot of brands don’t care. I want to make the point that I do care, because it was instilled in me at a young age that education matters and not everyone may have had the access that you had.”
Eric Emanuel x FSF Scholarship Program is FSF’s second-largest program, with Virgil Abloh’s “Post Modern” Scholarship Fund being the top one. FSF continues to set up industry partnerships to provide opportunities to its scholars — including named scholarships with Skims, Neiman Marcus, Milk Makeup and others.