All the titans of fashion had to start somewhere in order to get to become the masters of their craft. Yves Saint Laurent got his start showing his sketches at a young fashion designers contest organized by the International Wool Secretariat. Nabbing third prize, he went to Paris for the award ceremony, where he met then Paris vogue editor Michel de Brunhoff, who took a liking to the young designer. A couple of months later he entered the competition again this time competing against Karl Lagerfeld and won. YSL showed his latest sketches to Brunhoff, who saw similarities in Christian Dior’s sketches he’d seen that morning. De Brunhoff whisked YSL to Dior, who hired the young designer on the spot. YSL became head designer of the House of Dior at the age of 21.
Karl Lagerfeld got his start in the same competition and moved on to an apprenticeship at Balmain. Marc Jacobs started got noticed after winning the Perry Ellis Thimble, Design Student of the Year and Chester Weinberg Gold Thimble Awards in 1984. Alexander Wang got his start at Vogue and moved on to the CFDA Fund awards.
On December 3, one Washington area high school fashion and design student will get his or her chance to start a career in fashion at the First Annual Project Fundway Scholarship Fashion Show. Three finalists, Michael Edwards, Samuel Mintah and Adegbemisola Ademisoye will showcase a mini collection that takes their concepts and sketches from the classroom to the runway. Sponsored by the Greater Washington Fashion Chamber of Commerce, the winning student will be awarded a $5000 scholarship towards a fashion education at any college or university of their choosing.
District of Columbia Council members Harry Thomas Jr. and Michael Brown will be guest modeling. With a powerhouse of supporters behind Project FUNDway, I hope it will continue to flourish in the years to come to highlight the talent pool of designers in Washington. I will be a judge along with WUSA 9 traffic anchor and fellow blogger Angie Goff, Fashion Washington editor Jennifer Barger, jewelry designer Evelyn Brooks, designer Kwab Asamoah, Virginia Commonwealth University assistant professor of fashion Linda Lee and GWFCC’s Maurisa Potts.
The Project FUNDway fashion show will be held on December 3, from 6:30pm to 8:00pm at McKinley Technical High School (151 T Street, NE, Washington, DC). Admission is just $10 and will benefit the DC Fashion Foundation. I hope everyone will come out to support these three aspiring designers.