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How to Fund Your Senior Collection with Fashion Design Major Scholarships – The Connector

How to Fund Your Senior Collection with Fashion Design Major Scholarships – The Connector


Graphic courtesy of Adriana Coln.

Every year, SCAD's courageous fashion design majors embark on a tiring journey of pattern making, cutting and sewing to create their own senior collections. Current senior Richenelle Isip, Class of 24, is the recipient of two prestigious fashion scholarships. Isip met with me to delve deeper into the application, ideation and production processes of her senior collection.

Photo courtesy of Richenelle Isip.

Can you give us an overview of what the Fashion Scholarship Fund (FSF) is?

Basically, the FSF is a scholarship awarded to students who carry out a case study around a brand, involving a certain theme. This year's theme was about sustainability and we had to create an ESG initiative for said brand.

How many students earn this scholarship each year?

Around 150 students in the US are accepted into the case study and from there they get named scholarships.

How did you find out about the program and apply?

SCAD offers many workshops and there are community pages about scholarships. Most of the time, staff contact students and encourage them to apply. So I applied my very first year here. But I didn't understand, so my teacher told me to keep trying. My second attempt was this year. I developed my idea for an entire year, almost as soon as the prompt came out. A professor implemented the FSF case study in our course. That's how it all started, and I've continued development until now.

Photo courtesy of Richenelle Isip.

You also won the Solstiss Lace Scholarship, which helps you with your senior collection. Can you explain what Solstiss Lace is and how it contributes to the production of your senior collection?

Solstiss Lace is a lace manufacturer based in France. This year, the company is sponsoring a few SCAD students to receive their lace and include it in their senior collections. During the fall term, my professor suggested I apply because of my concept involving Filipino embroidery and lace. I'm really grateful that he pushed me to do it.

How did the application process go?

To apply, I had to create a presentation showing my concept, my sketches and how I would involve lace in the collection. From there, the selection process lasted about a month, and then they announced that I was the only student on the Atlanta campus to receive the sponsorship. Four other SCAD students won on the Savannah campus.

How much lace does Solstiss supply?

A value of $1,500. Once I got the scholarship, they requested another presentation describing the type of lace I wanted and the overall aesthetic of the lace. Do I want to stretch? No stretching? What kind of topping? Do I even want to cut? From there, they go through their own catalog of laces, choose the ones that are closest to my idea, send me those samples, and then we choose more. This goes back and forth until we reach the lace I was imagining.

Photo courtesy of Richenelle Isip.

Can you explain the overall concept of your senior collection? And how do you actually develop ideas from the fall term into the spring fashion show?

Yes, so I started my senior collection this summer with the development of the concept. With this, we dive deep into what we truly want to create. At that time, my concept was born out of a lot of frustration. I struggled a lot with my identity as a Filipino-American and felt a lot of anger from outside prejudice. That's where the concept started, but as I continued to create this collection, I became more and more accepting of who I am. My question was, well, I'm Filipino but I'm also American, so how can I integrate these two identities in order to be authentically myself?

So how does lace play a role in conceptualizing your collection?

Many traditional Filipino clothing features lace. Additionally, very classic Filipino silhouettes, like the barong for men and the terno sleeve for women, are pleated with lace. For my American side, I wanted to sum it up with 1920s fashion, which I consider to be the height of American fashion. A lot of the American aspects came with tailoring, so I have a lot of pants and trousers with cuffs, a lot of pinstripes, big collars and jacket details. Much of the styling in my collection more explicitly highlights these 1920s elements.

Photo courtesy of Richenelle Isip.

Since you are trying to present this collection at the spring fashion show, can you give us an overview of the SCAD fashion show process?

Automatically, all senior specializations in fashion design are taken into account. But you have to show up for critique days, which are the days where all the professors in the department and the dean look at what we have so far and evaluate how things are going. In May there will be a jury show. Industry professionals will evaluate our finalized collections, lookbooks, photo shoots, etc. Then, the jurors will vote for their favorite collections. For a collection of five looks, typically three or four completed looks will be chosen for the fashion show, per designer.

Can you explain what it means to receive these two scholarships as a full-time student?

In preparation for the lace presentation, I researched the price of Solstiss lace. Getting 15 yards of lace, not to mention quality lace, which is not cheap to produce, is very helpful financially. The other fabric I use, wool, is also quite expensive for a college budget, so the scholarship was a big help. It really elevates the look of my collection. I recommend applying to every scholarship possible to help in any way.

Photo courtesy of Richenelle Isip.

To conclude, what does this whole process mean to you? What does it mean to be a fashion designer?

I got into fashion thanks to my cousin, who took me to a student fashion show in Los Angeles. At that moment I thought, I think I can do it. Over the years I've definitely lost some of the sparkle in my eyes, but I've gained so much experience.

I think it's really important to represent who I am in my designs. If you make a collection that isn't you and isn't personal, it fails. I experienced a lot with this collection. I hated the whole process at times, but in the end it's so rewarding. There are a lot of ups and downs. I will not be the perfect Filipino, nor the perfect American. But even though I may not be the most perfect person, it's still who I am and I'm proud to represent it.




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