GBC students win YMA Scholarship Fund

Eight students from George Brown College received $5,000 and an opportunity for a fashion internship and mentorship for a year

George Brown College students at the YMA Scholarship Fund gala in New York City Photo courtesy of Marilyn McNeil-Morin

George Brown College fashion students at the YMA Scholarship Fund gala in New York City
Photo courtesy of Marilyn McNeil-Morin

The Young Menswear Association (YMA) Fashion Scholarship Fund swept through George Brown College’s (GBC) fashion program with eight students winning $5,000 awards.

The YMA Fashion Scholarship Fund is a non-profit organization that has a long history of providing financial support to American students.

The schools that are incorporated into the YMA also have endorsements from American Apparel and Footwear Association (AAFA), and George Brown is the only Canadian school to be represented in both.

A total of 46 schools are involved with the YMA’s and each school is allowed 10 delegates to apply for the scholarship fund. Each delegate is then given the opportunity to complete a case study comprised of redesigning a business plan, going into detail about product development, marketing, merchandising, analyzing finances, performance and target markets.

From approximately 460 applicants, only 150 are awarded $5,000 U.S., an opportunity for a fashion internship and a mentor for one year to answer any questions and guide them in the right direction.

One of the eight GBC winners, Rosemary Melnyk, a second-year fashion management student, said she applied for the scholarship to “really set me apart on my resume and applying for jobs.”

After sleepless nights and stressful days, Melnyk was able to walk away confidently from this experience and suggests that students “start early and get more sleep. You think it’s going to be simple because it’s only 10 pages but it’s getting it down to 10 pages that’s the worst part.”

“If given the opportunity, I would do it again,” she said.

Dylan Dias, another YMA winner has dedicated his time in the fashion management program to have a stronger business sense in fashion.

With passion in his eyes, Dias quit his part-time job for the YMA’s because he couldn’t pass up the opportunity.

“I’m super passionate about fashion so when we were given the opportunity for the YMA’s it was a given,” said Dias. “‘I have to do this. I have to get it. There’s no question.’”

The YMA Scholarship Fund gala in New York City Photo courtesy of George Brown College students at the YMA Scholarship Fund gala in New York City Photo courtesy of Marilyn McNeil-Morin

The YMA Scholarship Fund gala in New York City
Photo courtesy of Marilyn McNeil-Morin

The YMA’s were a significant learning curve for the finalists, applying ideas and concepts taught in class with a realistic case study.

“From an academic standpoint, it taught me a lot about planning and development,” said Dias. “It helped me realize there was a whole process in business and fashion that is often overlooked by the visuals and the bright lights, the fashion shows and the glory of it all that’s interesting and analytical and precise and beautiful in that way. I felt instantly more prepared if I wanted to do anything on my own.”

Marilyn McNeil-Morin, the chair of George Brown’s fashion program, highlighted the type of students who are successful at the YMA’s scholarship fund.

“They are looking for passion and spark. Someone that is truly committed to be in this industry who lives and breathes fashion,” said McNeil-Morin. “It’s not all glamour and there’s a very serious side to the fact that it’s a business and they have to be really committed to that.”
All 150 winners of the YMA’s were flown to New York City to attend a gala and attend an industry-networking event. Students had the opportunity to rub shoulders with some of the top 10 per cent of people in the fashion industry such as Vera Wang and Michael Kors.

The experience of the YMA’s for any student has its rewards and it’s not all about the money.

“Anything you can do to broaden your repertoire and to broaden your skill set is the smart thing to do,” said Dias.

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GBC students win YMA Scholarship Fund