The YMA Fashion Scholarship Fund invests in the future of the fashion industry through awarding scholarships to undergraduate students with an interest in working in the fashion industry, either from the business perspective or the design perspective. Selected students receive a scholarship for $5,000, attend a Gala in New York City and are encouraged to participate in a paid summer internship program. The UW became a partner school in 2013.
Learn about applying for this scholarship through UW.
UW Undergraduate Scholars
Congratulations 2021 Fashion Scholar, Jena McWhirter!
Senior, Interaction Design
My design passion was inspired by my father, a skilled craftsmen, designer, and athlete. I admired his aesthetic approach to viewing the world and his bravery in trying new things. I began designing websites at a young age and became an avid skateboarder. After high school, I travelled around the United States, Europe, and Asia on skateboarding trips and worked various jobs. During my travels I often I thought about how I could apply my passions for art and design to a career. I began by getting my Associates Degree in Visual Communications from Highline College and then transferred into UW’s design program. As a student I gravitated towards Interaction Design because I loved weaving together research, storytelling, people, and emerging technologies. While learning the fundamentals of design, I simultaneously started two small businesses focused on handmade jewelry and printed goods. The intersection of design, art, and business has been a challenging and fabulous place to grow and learn. These areas of interest were ultimately what led me to apply for the Fashion Fund Scholarship for the past two years. The FSF Scholarship offered opportunities to learn from entrepreneurs, meet other aspiring designers, and receive help to ease financial burdens. The FSF community strongly values community and I feel so grateful to be able to contribute. While I am not specifically a fashion designer, I was able to apply my knowledge of design, business, and ideation to my application’s case study. As an FSF award winner, I have grown confident in my work, expanded my social network, interviewed with top fashion companies, and gained experienced being brave outside of my comfort zone. I highly recommend that others take the leap, be brave, and share your passion within your work!
Jena’s Tip: Applying for a scholarship can feel daunting, but have faith in yourself and let your passions shine through your work! Scholarships can provide so many great experiences and opportunities like traveling and mentorship. Try to apply for as many as you can and remember that you are awesome and totally capable of achieving your goals!
Senior, Marketing; Entrepreneurship
Lily is a senior majoring in marketing and Entrepreneurship. This past summer, Lily interned for NBCUniversal on the ad sales team as a creative partnerships intern in New York. In her free time, she enjoys producing short films and taking portrait photography. Lily is passionate about all facets of marketing and building community through creative means to create a platform for diverse voices to share their stories.
Lily’s tip: Be creative and think outside the box! The fashion industry is a space for wild innovation and trend setting so don’t be afraid to challenge norms.
Sophomore, Interaction Design
I’m a sophomore in the UW Design program intending to declare Interaction Design. I believe in inclusive design that’s focused around people where a solution is created together. I’m all about user experience, visual craft, and product design. I have a background in film, multimedia storytelling, and stop-motion animation. The 2020 YMA FSF Design and Product Development case study was an opportunity for me to design a collection that used motifs and sustainable styles that raised awareness of water waste in both the apparel and agriculture industry. Along with telling the stories of women and girls working in apparel chains and small farmers negatively affected by the wasteful food beauty standards. It’s this multidisciplinary aspect of design that allows the intersection of different causes and mediums to collide that gets me excited. With the learning opportunities that pop-up constantly within this field, I always try to document and share my findings with others. Outside of my coursework, you can find me making something out of materials from my craft stash, reading some design or art related blog/book, or daydreaming of creating an abstract-modern themed collection with, the one and only, IKEA. In my future career, I hope to be in a studio environment where design is used for social good.
Yuna’s tip: I found it helpful to work a little bit everyday on my project in order to tackle all the requirements. I would challenge anyone interested in this scholarship to spend a good amount of time in research and ideation stage before you start developing your completed idea because having a solid concept will make the whole creative process a lot smoother. Push yourself to think of unconventional pairings and ways to use design for social good.
Junior, Interaction Design
In my academic and personal work, I strive to exercise curiosity within the world. I utilize my unique skillsets in design, craft, and storytelling to create holistic, beneficial, and enjoyable experiences. I have a passion for research and strive to find solutions for everyday problems by listening, observing, and making informed choices. In my free time, I enjoy building and improving my personal craft business, Via Coyote. I sell handmade jewelry at local markets and have placed product in multiple Seattle based stores. I love making meaningful artifacts for people to cherish and build their own stories from. Moving forward, The YMA Fashion Fund Scholarship will be immensely helpful in helping my design and craft progress. I am endlessly grateful for the recognition, mentorship, and support.
Jena’s Tip: I highly advise emphasizing your personal values in your case study, this will help communicate your passion. Also, thorough research will help give you a foundation to reference from and ground your work. Best of luck!
2017 - 2018
Senior, Industrial Design major
I’m Nate, and I’m an industrial design senior here at UW. Before this, I was chasing a fashion design career, and now I’m aiming specifically for footwear. I’m into photography, clothes, and I have way too many shoes!
Fun fact: Nate Chang is a 3-time recipient of the Fashion Scholarship Award.
Senior, Marketing and Certificate of International Studies in Business (CISB Chinese Track) major
My name is Cathy Feng, and I am a senior studying Marketing with a Certificate of International Studies in Business (CISB Chinese Track). I was a recipient of the YMA FSF Scholarship in 2016 and 2018. The marketing case study project ignited my passions in marketing and consulting.
In 2017, I interned for Not Your Type (wearenyt.com), an online vintage brand based in Seattle. Summer 2017, I interned for Blackbird (blackbirdballard.com) as a digital marketing intern after successfully completing a business consulting project with them in spring quarter 2017. Through these experiences, I gained an entrepreneurial spirit with hunger to pursue my own endeavors in fashion. In fall 2017, I studied abroad through Foster Exchange Programs to the University of Hong Kong, and I keep my mind open for global opportunities in the greater China region. I am looking for jobs for after graduation in June 2018, without losing sight of my creative passions.
Senior, Industrial Design major
Jade Granger is a senior studying Industrial Design at UW. She has accepted a position to work with Hasbro as a Structural Packaging Designer in the Autumn. Despite majoring in industrial design and possessing a slightly unhealthy fondness for laser cutters, Jade has worked with the interaction design program as well, developing skills in UX and UI work. Her interest in YMA is mostly the product of a childhood fascination with fashion and clothing design that she never quite had the courage to pursue professionally, though she’s prone to rather flamboyant – if often inadvisable – fashion choices in daily life. Her favorite designer is and has always been Alexander Mcqueen. In her free time – what little of it seems to be left – she can be found cooking, writing slam poetry she’ll never perform, and knitting. She’s very unsure at this juncture whether she lives for her work or in spite of it, but regardless, she loves all aspects of design, from spaceships to Iphone apps to fashion. She would love one day (in that same nonexistent free time) to create and sew a limited line of beautiful clothing for the physically disabled, bringing grace to injuries instead of shame. But, until then, she can be found lounging next to the laser cutter while it works, knitting herself a new sweater.
Senior, Visual Communication Design major
I am a current senior studying Visual Communication Design and am interested in publishing, bookmaking, sustainability specifically in the fashion industry, and design research on topics such as sustainability, consumerism, and the intersection between the humanities and design. I’m not sure about my professional goals as a designer but I know with an interest in fashion this scholarship was appealing to me especially because of UW’s lack of fashion resources besides costume design. This was a good opportunity for me to explore further what a career as a designer in the fashion world or doing projects related to fashion would look like and applying for the scholarship itself gave me experience in fashion design that I otherwise probably never would’ve gotten. It has been helpful for me to narrow down my interests and also has given me an amazing opportunity to travel to New York City! Outside of the design major I have participated in the CHID study abroad to Amsterdam where we studied the role of design in society and the impact/reflections on culture it provides. I’ve been involved on campus as a leader in AAIV (Asian American Intervarsity Christian Fellowship), a FIG (First-year Interest Group) instructor, and Pipeline volunteer.
Junior, Interdisciplinary Visual Arts major
Catlin Lu is an animation student with a special interest in illustration, design, and narrative sequential art. Her passion lies in storytelling through art and design. She’s proactive in expanding her skill set and proficiency in visual communication, and she wants to professionally solve design problems.
Jennifer Vuong, National Merit Nominee & Fashion Fund Scholar
Senior, Interaction Design major
I’m Jen, a senior majoring in interaction design. I’m always dabbling in anything creative, from my hobbies of illustration and photography, to using fashion as a means of self expression. In my career, I hope to combine design thinking, psychology, and my creative skills to make products that can deliver a meaningful experience for others.
2016 - 2017
Junior, Industrial Design major
Junior, Industrial Design major
Katherine (Kate) Kitto
Senior, Communication major
Junior, Interaction Design major
2015 - 2016
Senior, Visual Communication Design
Renee Chang is currently a senior at the University of Washington with a passion for creating beautiful aesthetics and design, natural eye for detail, and a mind naturally wired to explore and solve broad challenges. The three naturally come together and support her major in Visual Communication Design and minor in Entrepreneurship – all about creating cohesion within teams and solution, usually working with talented and varied teams. Her appreciation for fashion started at a young age, and through different influences has grown into a larger appreciation and willingness to challenge the potential of the fashion and beauty industry in areas of philanthropy and sustainability.
On campus, she’s volunteered and been a part of a variety of educational or philanthropic programs and organizations such as Relay for Life, Dream Project, First Year Programs, and is also a member of AIGA Seattle. Having interned this past summer for Gibson Innovations (formerly Philips consumer electronics) in Hong Kong, she gained valuable exposure to the retail and merchandise industry as well as international work experience. While the scope of these experiences seems broad, the culmination of these skills and interests lies in the root of her motivation: creating beautiful solutions for people. Renee plans to pursue a design career possibly in marketing and advertising, in an agency or workplace committed to creating effective and creative solutions.
Nathan Chang currently studies at the University of Washington as a sophomore in the design major. He became interested in clothes at a young age, and started sewing his own clothes in high school. Originally, he wanted to study entrepreneurship in order to open his own company. But after taking classes in design, he realized he wanted to own more of the design process rather than the administrative side of things. Now, Nathan pursues design as a whole, wanting to earn experience with everything from visuals to products instead of only fashion.
Sophomore, Pre-Business major
Cathy Feng entered the University of Washington through UW Academy, an early entrance program, and is a sophomore intending to major in Business. Her interest in fashion began as a hobby, and she found deeper meaning beyond clothing when she took a course on Italian Fashion History in her first quarter at UW. The class explored themes of identity and fashion as a reflection of social change. It helped solidify her interest in fashion and made her want to make a mark on the industry. Seeking greater challenges, she decided to join the Interdisciplinary Honors Program which is designed to expand students’ perspectives through discussion-based classes, experiential learning, and personal reflection. Her journey with the Honors Program will help her develop skills needed to solve real-world issues. Cathy aspires to link her passion in business and fashion with global perspectives.
Katherine (Kate) Kitto
Junior, Communications major, Entrepreneurship minor
Raised in Lake Oswego, Oregon, the lure of the big city brought Kate Kitto to Seattle and the University of Washington, where she is currently a junior majoring in Communications with a minor in Entrepreneurship. As a freshman, Kate became involved with the UW EcoCAR team, first as a member of the Communications team, and then as Communications Manager. In this position, she oversaw all marketing and promotions for the hybrid electric vehicle team and had the opportunity to travel around the country for competitions, giving interviews and making presentations to representatives from GM and the Department of Energy, among others. Through EcoCAR, Kate discovered her love the for ‘startup environment’ and was accepted into the Lavin Entrepreneurship program. Since joining the program, Kate has worked with numerous Seattle-based fashion tech startups, most notably establishing a brand ambassador program at Glamhive and a blogger network at ModeSens.com. In the future, Kate hopes work in the fashion startup industry.
Junior, Business Administration major
Two time YMA Fashion Scholar Fund winner, Joyce Tang is both passionate about fashion and incredibly opportunistic. Her ultimate dream is to one day start and run her own sustainable fashion company. This career and life goal led her to study Entrepreneurship and International Business, where she believes she can contribute the most to companies on the strategic, marketing, and business side.
As a freshman, Joyce was struck by the excitement of what it entailed to be an entrepreneur. She realized that she wanted to make a positive social impact through business and that to achieve her goals she had to lead her own initiatives. Her interest in fashion began early, but didn’t seem within reach until she first won the YMA Fashion Scholar Fund Award as a sophomore. The leap of faith that took her 4 months to create a 14-page plan to support her own socially impactful fashion accessory line led to a trip to New York City funded by the scholarship. That year, Joyce was inspired by her experience through YMA to realize her fashion dreams which appeared so much closer and realistic after opportunities to be physically close to industry leaders in New York. Later that year, she interned with Khunu while studying abroad in Beijing, China. This sustainable fashion startup that created yak wool menswear was a turning point for Joyce in seeing the potential impact and importance for fashion to be more meaningful. Influenced by Krochet Kids, Nisolo, and Sseko Designs, Joyce hopes to start her own fashion company with a similar business model. After graduation, she plans to do a one-year rotation program with a fashion company in New York, an opportunity presented by the internship fair at this year’s YMA Awards event, to launch her career in fashion.
2013 - 2014
Senior, Interdisciplinary Visual Arts major, Architectural Studies minor
Shaana is a senior pursuing a degree in Interdisciplinary Visual Arts with a focus in Fibers, a Foster School of Business Sales Certificate, and a minor in Architectural Studies. She is curious about the fibers that are woven into the fabrics that we interact with, the colors and prints that we choose to have as apart of our lives, and how the selection and development of fashion and objects that incorporate these views impact the retail environment.
Driven by color theory and texture, Shaana’s work encompasses experimentation with different materials and forms. Her time spent growing up in California, living in Seattle the past few years, and her Iranian roots inform her artistry as well. She attributes her curiosity for textiles with being surrounded with ornate and finely crafted Iranian works of art throughout her life.
As an undergraduate, she has interned with fashion house BCBGMAXAZRIA within their textile design department as well as interned for Seattle based fashion retailer Totokaelo. In addition, she has designed custom rugs for a client, which are currently being hand-knotted in Nepal. She continues to be curious about the dynamic between textiles and fashion as well as how textile structures can transform interiors. She views textiles as having the ability to be both functional as well as artful and wishes to further explore the fashion industry with this view in mind. The YMA Fashion Scholarship Fund will therefore serve as a gateway for Shaana to continue exploring her interests within the industry and progress forward with her career.
Senior, Business Administration major
Born in Bellevue, Washington, Connie Lim is currently a senior at the University of Washington studying Business Administration with a focus in Marketing and Accounting. Sponsored through the Multicultural Advertising Internship Program, she recently interned with PHD Media as a Media Planning Intern in New York City, which sparked her interest for advertising and fashion. While in New York, Connie had the opportunity to work on two high budget accounts with HBO and Google while gaining familiarity with all aspects of the advertising industry. There, she had the opportunity to visit the largest agencies in New York, participate in the Griffin Farley’s Beautiful Minds Case Competition, and attend weekly agency sponsored development workshops. On campus, she is involved with the Lavin Entrepreneurship Program, TEDxUW, and the Mortar Board Honor Society. She plans to pursue a role in retail advertising or marketing in the future.
Sophomore, Business Administration major
Joyce Tang discovered a love for business after competing throughout high school in Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA), where she and her team almost took first place in Global Business from the Regional to the State to the National competition, where the team broke their streak while placing second at the national level. However, her true understanding of international business began in Kisume and Kitale, Kenya where she served for two weeks in 2012. By helping the neglected street children of Kenya from the initial step of preventing kids in villages to run to the streets by providing solutions like clean water to the final step of getting youth already on the streets and adopted back into a loving home, Joyce learned about how sustainable solutions were provided: by understanding every step of the problem and tackling all of them, rather than providing just a temporary fix.
Upon entering her first week at UW, she found herself one afternoon at Social Entrepreneurship Club, drawn in by the word entrepreneurship and not knowing what to expect. It was at this meeting that she learned for the first time that a career existed that focused on starting businesses that tackled social issues, like poverty, pollution, or prejudice. Since that day, Joyce has been involved with the Annual Global Social Entrepreneurship Competition (GSEC) held by the Foster School Global Business Center, the Change group in the CSE department, and social businesses in the Seattle community.
Joyce hopes to start a company that ties fashion – a powerful vehicle for representing causes through a physical product – to social networking – an innovative medium for quickly transferring information and connecting people – to her business acumen. Currently, she is working on a fashion startup that does just this.