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Joe’s Blackbook announces scholarship finalists 2020


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.”

Joe’s Blackbook announces scholarship finalists 2020

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.

Joe’s Blackbook announces scholarship finalists 2020

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