Friday, October 17, 2008

Competition opens doors to fashion industry

Put your best fashion forward and walk off with a scholarship to The Art Institutes.

(SAN BERNARDINO, Calif.) Converting your passion for fashion into a career in the design field or fashion merchandising industry is no easy task. One computer database lists nearly a thousand clothing designers, those with reputations and distribution and retail outlets.

Four years ago The Art Institutes of North America came up with a unique plan, a way to encourage and reward high school level fashion design students and those interested in fashion marketing and management with local and national competitions, competitions that would yield full tuition scholarships.

Assistant Vice President of Academic Affairs for The Art Institutes Bruce Dempsey says, “There are so many wonderful fashion courses in high school today, and many students see a career in this industry within their reach.”

Monica Jeffs, The Art Institute of California – Inland Empire Senior Director of Admissions says this “Passion for Fashion” competition is exactly what the schools are about. “The Art Institutes stress hands-on education, not just burying a nose in a book and answering multiple choice questions. With this North America-wide competition, high school seniors may actually design apparel or create a fashion marketing or sales plan.”

While this is the fourth year of competition for the schools nationally, it’s just the first for the San Bernardino campus. As Jeffs says, “We just debuted our Fashion Design and the Fashion Marketing & Merchandising and Retail Management programs in July of this year, so this is the Inland Empire’s first participation in the Passion for Fashion competition. We expect, however, to have at least 50 area high school seniors competing.”

Winners at the local level will receive $3,000 in scholarship and go on to the U.S. and Canada competition where the two category winners each receive $89,000 scholarships with $5,000 and $4,000 scholarships earmarked for second and third place winners. The two categories are (1) Fashion Design and (2) Fashion Marketing & Merchandising and Retail Management.

At this level of competition, participation is more than just filling out a coupon on the back of a soft drink bottle. The Entry Requirements are clear:
• Students must be high school seniors scheduled to graduate in 2009;
• A school transcript must show at least a 2.0 GPA;

• For the Fashion Marketing & Merchandising and Retail Management category:
• A short essay of up to 800 words must address how the entrant’s fashion creation will contribute to the advancement of the fashion industry, as well as what sparked the student’s interest in the fashion field;
• Along with this, an original Fashion Marketing, Fashion Merchandising or Retail Management product or plan should be detailed, and might cover a retail store concept, marketing promotion, store layout, fashion business concept, new retail concept, an Internet fashion concept, a catalog retailing concept, home fashion concept or an industrial fashion/safety/consumer trend product;
• An accompanying written description of up to 1,000 words is to detail this product or plan.

For the Fashion Design Category
A short essay (800 words or less) outlining why your fashion entry is unique/innovative and explaining your interest and motivation for a career in fashion.
• A finished, originally designed eveningwear garment product.* The product may be any of the following – shirt (size Medium); pants, dress, or skirt (women’s size 8 or men’s size 40); or suit, including blouse, pants, or skirt (women’s size 8 or men’s size 40).
• Process Book (compiled in 8-1/2” x 11” binder), which serves as your design process summary, from original idea to finished product.

The book should include:

1. A written summary of your overall concept.
2. A review of influences on your entry, including fashion designers, music, television shows, or movies.
3. Sketches, illustrations, photographs, or digital images of your project as it evolved from concept to completion.
4. A written summary of people that you contacted for information about your project, including the advice they provided and its influence on you.

But the scholarship funding isn’t all that national recipients are accorded. Each of the two Grand Prize winners will have all-expense-paid trips to New York City for Fashion Week in February of 2009, a “meet and greet” at the offices of Seventeen Magazine, plus lunch with a Seventeen Magazine Style Pro.

For entry details go online to The entry deadline is November 21, 2008.

The Art Institute of California – Inland Empire offers Bachelor of Science degrees in Game Art & Design, Culinary Management, Graphic Design, Web Design & Interactive Media, Interior Design, Fashion Design & Retail Management, and Media Arts & Animation. There are also Associate of Science degrees in Graphic Design and Culinary Arts. Each program is offered on a year-round basis, allowing students to work uninterrupted toward their degrees.

It’s not too late to start classes at The Art Institute of California – Inland Empire. Courses begin Nov. 13 and classes are offered in the day, evening and on weekends for new and reentry students.

For more information or a free tour of The Art Institute of California – Inland Empire call (909) 915-2100 or go on line to

The Art Institute of California –Inland Empire is one of the Art Institutes (, a system of more than 40 locations throughout North America, providing an important source of design, media arts, fashion and culinary arts professionals.