2017 Geoffrey Beene National Scholarship Finalists
Introducing Vivian Tai, Fashion Institute of Technology
Major: Advertising and Marketing Communications
Hometown: I was born in Hong Kong, and grew up in Vancouver, Canada
What drew you to pursuing a career in the fashion industry? I wanted to pursue fashion initially because it was a creative expression for me. I come from a very traditional family that had a strict idea of what success looked like, and it did not allow for creative expression, so I went for a more business-oriented approach and studied Fashion Merchandising. I am so glad I started out in Fashion Merchandising because as I learned more, I became fascinated with what drives the business. I am in marketing now specifically because I think of it as "the selling before the sale". Understanding consumer behavior, telling a compelling brand story, merchandising, strategizing, and most importantly, synthesizing it all with innovation, excites me.
What are some of the activities you are involved with on campus? Outside of school? Some clubs that I've been involved with include: Merchandising Society + the Style Shop, Blush Magazine (the school's own magazine), and the American Marketing Association (in FIT's Chapter). Outside of school clubs, I competed in the World Retail Congress Future of Retail Competition, in which I represented the U.S. and FIT in Dubai. My team and I ended up winning, which is something I consider to be a major highlight of my college career.
How do you enjoy spending your free time? In my free time, I love being productive. I like to read, ask questions, learn coding, and research. I am also on a number of social media platforms to learn from and about people.
Where you do you hope to see yourself after graduation? Ideally, I want to be working for a company that is at the intersection of technology, sustainable innovation, and retail. I want to some day be a leader in changing the way the industry is working.
Picture yourself ten years from now in your dream job, what position are you holding? I see myself on the founding team of a company that is helping to revolutionize the ways consumers shop or products are made and sold. Basically being a part of the next generation of like Warby Parker, Stitch Fix, and Rent the Runway that are doing this today.
In what way do you hope to make an impact on the future of fashion? My big picture thinking will hopefully allow me to advocate for sustainable innovation on a large scale in fashion. There's no question that we should part from the earth-scorching ways of many companies in the fashion industry, but we need to come up with ways that are holistically sustainable - ways that encompass the business, social, and environmental perspective.
What has been the most meaningful part of the YMA Fashion Scholarship Fund program since winning a $5,000 scholarship? The most meaningful part of winning the YMA Fashion Scholarship Fund program was becoming a part of the large network of connections with like-minded and bright future leaders of the industry, while getting exposure to the current leaders.
What does winning a YMA Fashion Scholarship Fund Geoffrey Beene Scholarship mean to you? How will this scholarship help you to pursue your dreams and career goals? Winning this scholarship means the world to me. I come from a family of modest means, and I am the first person in my immediate family to attend college. I have been given this opportunity to dream big and be ambitious in my career goals, and for that I am so thankful. Being able to graduate without the burden of student loan debts would empower me to concentrate on pursuing my goals of improving the fashion industry.