Joe’s Blackbook announces scholarship finalists 2020

This year marks the 10th anniversary of the Joe’s Blackbook Scholarship,
and despite the restrictions of the pandemic there were still over 100
submissions, and, according to Sean Kwon, Special Projects Manager for
Joe’s Blackbook, the quality of the students’ works has only gotten more
impressive. Typically judging involves inviting a cohort of industry
professionals to a Manhattan space filled with display tables upon which
every square inch is occupied with portfolios of drawings, swatches, and
technical samples. 2020 is more ad-hoc with one judge, menswear designer Robert
Geller, sending a voice memo of his critique and input all the way from
Portugal.

“The pandemic has changed the way the Scholarship proceeds through its
calendar year, normally from September to late April,” Kwon tells
FashionUnited. “Due to COVID we had to cancel the physical Employer Review
event originally scheduled in March. Fortunately, we had received all
submissions in our office before lockdowns began. In response to the
pandemic we catalogued all submissions digitally to be shared with
employers in hopes that some of the students may land internships. As you
know, we are connectors and always work to connect our clients with the
best talent.”

Throughout its decade of existence the scholarship has awarded 200,000
dollars to juniors at US design schools to fund their senior year and
graduate collections. It is a merit-based scholarship and 80 percent of the
finalists have been from BIPOC communities. Participating schools include
Parsons School of Design, Fashion Institute of Technology, Rhode Island
School of Design, Savannah College of Art and Design, Otis College of Art
and Design, Academy of Art University, California College of the Arts, and
Kent State University, among others.

Joe’s Blackbook announces scholarship finalists 2020

The six 2020 finalists have just been announced. In the womenswear
category Julia Choi, Otis College of Art and Design; Caroline Exner,
Academy of Art University; Dayeon Kim, Fashion Institute of Technology.
Menswear designers are Ricky (Yuecen) Cai, Parsons School of Design; Deane
Collins, Savannah College of Art and Design; Cody Cannon, Fashion Institute
of Technology.

Kwon outlines how the winner selection will also differ this year: “We
have scheduled Zoom meetings with each of the finalists to get to know
them, since we are unable to meet them in person––we’re very sad about
this! A group of industry experts will be reviewing their work to help
determine this year’s winners. We are discussing how in the future more
digital components would be incorporated into the Scholarship process —
this has been an ongoing brainstorm the past few years, but navigating this
year’s Scholarship in the context of the pandemic has brought this front
and center.”

Fortunately Joe’s Blackbook had hosted its annual Scholarship Fundraiser
Auction in February before the lockdown nwhich raised 15,000 dollars. This
year’s corporate sponsors included Red Bull, Todd Snyder, American Eagle,
Gap, Tommy Hilfiger, Urban Outfitters, J. Crew, Aritzia, Ralph Lauren.

The winning menswear and womenswear designers will be announced at the
end of September.

Fashion editor Jackie Mallon is also an educator and author of Silk for
the Feed Dogs, a novel set in the international fashion industry.

Photos provided by Joe’s Blackbook: in corresponding order student work
by Dayeon Kim; Julia Choi; Cody Cannon

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