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Academy Fashion Students Take Top Prizes at the 2006 CFDA Scholarship Awards

Academy of Art University and the School of Fashion are proud to announce that three Fashion students won scholarships in the 2006 CFDA Awards. The scholarships awarded by the CFDA are much sought-after, as only ten scholarships are awarded each year. Min Sun Lee won one of three scholarships given for $10,000, and Neda Odabasi and Marie Potesta were awarded two of seven $3000 scholarships. Lisa Chang was named as an honorable mention.

Overall, the Academy finished in a tie as the most rewarded university in the competition, besting traditional heavyweights such as Otis, RISD, and Pratt.

We spoke to Min Sun Lee about her outstanding performance:

Describe the portfolio work you submitted to the CFDA competition.

It was my final project for Fashion Design 2. Those days, I was quite exhausted with schoolwork. When people feel tired of their routine lives, they desire to travel unfamiliar places. I decided to pack up and go to Paris in my imagination.

I am encouraged by the Parisian lifestyle, of those who know how to live their lives in an easy and composed way, but without losing their own personal style. Paris is old, but not old-fashioned or boring. Paris is a city that is cozy and mod at the same time.

The intention of my collection is to bring a sense of warmth, comfort, and color. Based on various classical colors, I developed five knit swatches and an embroidered swatch. In addition, I adopted the '60s mod silhouette, which is a simple line, to stress on colors and complicated textures. My collection is for 20-to-35-year-old professional women who want to look young and girly forever.

How did you find out about the CFDA Scholarship Program?

The officials in the Fashion department told us about the program. When I heard that I was chosen as one of the Academy's representatives I was surprised. My portfolio is quite different. All of my renderings were drawn by computer. Most of winners have great hand drawing skills, which I don't have. In addition, my target market is quite different. My collection is for 20-to-35-year-old professional women. So, my girly figures often are misunderstood as meant children or teenagers. Therefore, I never expected to be chosen by the school -- let alone win the scholarship.

Simon Ungless came to my knitwear class and told myself and Marie that we were chosen as winners. When I first saw him, I thought that he came to see how our knitwear project is going, but he just brought us the good news. Before he showed me the letter from the CFDA, I could hardly believe it. I was incredibly happy.

What does the scholarship mean to you?

As my target market is often misunderstood in the United States, I underwent some hardships. I love my work and want to continue to develop my style. This scholarship is a shot in the arm for me. Now, I can work with a lot of confidence.

What do you want to do when you're finished with school?

I am from Seoul, Korea, but I want to stay in the US for a while and work as a fashion designer. Later, I want to have my own clothing line for my target market. I also would like to become a fashion instructor, someone who can lead and encourage students to become fashion designers. Fashion designers bring much pleasure to people through their creativity, and I believe that teaching is one of the most rewarding jobs there is.

About the Council of Fashion Designers of America, Inc. (CFDA)
The Council of Fashion Designers of America, Inc. (CFDA) is a not-for-profit trade association whose membership consists of over 260 of America's foremost fashion and accessory designers. CFDA Foundation, Inc. is a separate not-for-profit company, which was organized to raise funds for charity and industry activities. CFDA membership is by invitation only. New candidates are recommended by two current CFDA members, and voted in by the Board of Directors annually.

Founded in 1962, the CFDA's initial goals were, and still are, "to further the position of fashion design as a recognized branch of American art and culture, to advance its artistic and professional standards, to establish and maintain a code of ethics and practices of mutual benefit in professional, public, and trade relations, and to promote and improve public understanding and appreciation of the fashion arts through leadership in quality and taste."

About the CFDA Scholarship Program
The CFDA Scholarship Program is an annual initiative that awards ten merit-based scholarships to college juniors for expensed incurred in their senior year. The program is highly competitive, and entrants represent the best and the brightest from the country's top fashion colleges and universities.

Since the inception of this program in 1995, the CFDA has awarded over $200,000 in scholarships to young designers. In addition, the CFDA recognizes the talents of top design students from each participating college or university with its Best of School award.


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