In this year's case study, you will explore how the weaving together of digital technology with offline shopping can improve the performance of a fashion retailer of your choice.  Click below to view a list of our frequently asked questions as further support during the application process. 



What is the judging criteria for the $5,000 case study competition?

You will be judged on the depth and relevance of your research (30% of score), the creativity and feasibility of your ideas (50% of score) and the clarity with which you portray both (15% of score). Following format directions will account for the remaining 5% of your score. Your case will be judged by industry professionals including the YMA FSF Board of Governors, YMA FSF Mentors, and YMA FSF Alumni. They will be using the following criteria to score your case:


• Has the scholar completed exhaustive research on best-in-class market players and their retailer of choice in order to successfully fulfill the objective at hand?

• Has the scholar acknowledged any instances in which their idea (or something close to) has been executed in the past, and whether it was successful?

• Does the scholar display strong business acumen and common sense?


• Is the scholar’s idea unique, inspiring and innovative?

• Is the scholar’s idea well-thought-out and conceivably executable?


• Has the scholar clearly completed each portion of their prompt?

• Does the scholar’s case follow logical development and a clear structure; is it easy to follow and summarize?


• Has the scholar followed all formatting directions, 1" margins on all 4 sides, double spaces, size 12pt Times Roman font?

• Has the scholar used correct grammar and spelling?

• Has the scholar included a title page with one sentence to summarize the case?

• Was the student's name and school was kept anonymous?

When is the case study due?

The completed case study is due October 16, 2017.

What date will the 2018 prompt be released?

The 2018 case study prompt was published on March 3rd, 2017 to all FSF academic partners. Please reach out to your school's FSF educator for more information.

Must the retailer chosen to complete the case study be a US apparel company?

No, scholars are free to chose a retailers that is not based in the US. They are also free to chose a retailer within not just apparel, but also accessories, home and beauty.

I am currently a high-school senior and I have been accepted to one of the FSF member schools. Can I apply for the scholarship prior to starting my freshman year?

Unfortunately, the scholarship is open only to students currently enrolled at one of our member schools. High school seniors must wait until their freshman year in order to apply.

How do I access the 2018 case study prompt?

To access the 2018 case study prompt, reach out to your school’s FSF educator. For your convenience, here is a list of FSF Educators by school:

Academy of Art University - Jinah Oh,

Arizona, University of - Kylee Vanek ,

Auburn University - Pamela Ulrich ,

Barnard College - Donna Holder,

Brandeis - Alan Bertman,

Buffalo State - Lynn M. Boorady,

Cal-Berkeley - Renee Camarena,

California College of the Arts - John Bauernfeind,

Cal-State Polytechnic U - Peter Kilduff,

University of Cincinnati - Zachary Hoh,

Colorado State University - Nancy Miller,

Columbia College in Chicago - Dana Hall,

Columbus College Art & Design - Patricia Carlos ,

Cornell University - Tasha Lewis,

Delaware, University of - Brenda Shaffer,

Drexel University - Alphonso McClendon,

Fashion Institute of Technology - Robin Sackin,

FIDM - Roni Miller Start,

Florida State University - Ann Langston,

Florida, University of - Cecila Schulz,

George Brown College - Marilyn McNeil-Morin,

Georgia, University of - Greg Vessels,

Harvard University - Benny Belvin ,

Indiana University - Deb Christiansen,

Iowa State University - Ann Thye,

Kansas State University - Hannah Schuh,

Kent State University - Jewon Lyu,

Lehigh University - Nevena Koukova ,

LIM College - Marla Greene,

Marist College - Jodi Hartmann,

Miami International, - Charlene Parsons,

Minnesota, University of - Elizabeth Bye,

Missouri, University of - Columbia - Pamela Norum,

Morehouse College - James Tyson,

New York University - Yevgeniya Traps,

North Carolina @ Greensboro - Nancy Nelson Hodges,

North Carolina State University - Kent Hester,

Ohio State University - Alexandra Ruiz Suer,

Oklahoma State - Diane Morton Limbaugh,

Otis College of Art & Design - Jane Engelman,

Parsons School of Design - Shannon Price,

Philadelphia University - Sheila Connelly,

Pratt Institute - Van Lupu ,

Purdue University - Susan Owens,

Rhode Island School of Design - Kathleen Grevers ,

Rhode Island, Univ of - Susan L. Hannel,

Santa Clara University - Cynthia Gamage ,

Savannah College of Art & Design - Doris Treptow,

Stephens College - Monica McMurray,

Syracuse University - Jeffrey Mayer,

Texas A & M University - Cheryl Bridges,

Texas North, University of - Laura Storm,

Texas, University of - Nancy Prideaux,

UCLA - Angela Campbell,

University of Southern California - Dennis Schorr,

Virginia Commonwealth University - Deidra Arington,

Washington University in St. Louis - Casey Jenkerson,

Washington, University of - Emily Smith,

Wharton School, University of Penn - Susan McMullen,

Wisconsin, University of - Madison - Jerry O'Brien,

Yeshiva University - Melanie Zuckerman,

What is the page count requirement for the 2018 case study?

While in the past, the FSF case studies had a specific page count requirement for each part of the prompt, the 2018 is no longer broken up into sections. All case studies must be no longer than 10 pages: this does not include appendix, bibliography and footnotes, which should take up no more than 5 additional pages.

How do you define a curated collection?

A curated collection is a collection that can lend itself to be displayed as a destination that customers go to visit instead of simply shop. This could be, but is not limited to, collections featuring both clothing and accessories or other lifestyle items. It could also be, but is not limited to, a collection or assortment that can stand alone or sit within a larger collection, brand, or store. The fashion retailer chosen does not necessarily have to have offered a curated collection before. What is most important is that the collection can clearly accomplish the ultimate goal of the case study, which is to drive store traffic in an evermore digital world.

If I am studying abroad for the entire 2017-2018 academic year, can I still participate and apply for the case study competition?


Is there a preferred format or order of subtitles?


Is the cover page included in the 10 page limit?


Is a primary source required for this year's case study?


Since retailers are not limited to apparel, are collections open to other products categories as well?


What are the instructions for submitting my case study?

Case studies should be submitted via Slideroom. Please contact your educator for complete instructions.

What is the expectation around design students incorporating digital technology into their case?

The objective of the case is to "explore how the weaving together of digital technology with offline shopping can improve the performance of a fashion retailer of your choice." To put more simply, the goal is to "make brick and mortar retail more relevant to today’s customers." We asked that the design students specifically focus on accomplishing this goal by designing a curated collection that will make physical stores an interesting place to visit, almost like a museum or an art exhibit. Since most people today in some way interact with digital technology during their purchase journey, it would make sense that this curated collection does as well, but how exactly that is executed is up to the case applicant.

Which season should the cases be written about?

Launch season is up to the applicant.

Should each applicant choose whether do complete part A/B/C/D or are all applicants expect to complete all four sections?

Each applicant is expected to only choose one discipline (Design & Product Development, Merchandising & Marketing, Technology & Nalaytics or Supply Chain).

Should the applicant focus on one customer group or can their strategy target a variety of customers?

Choice of target customer segment(s) is up to the applicant; what is important is that the target customer segment(s) makes sense for how the applicant is hoping to accomplish the objective of the case which is to make physical stores more relevant in an incresingly digital world. The case prompt also specifically warns to "keep in mind that this is not just a millennial opportunity. Customers across all generations are smarter and more demanding about their shopping experiences and it is your goal to improve the physical store channel to better meet their needs and wants." That said again, the choice on which target customer segment(s) to go after is up to the applicant.

What is expected from design applicants in terms of a "design process"?

In order to see the student's design process, applicants will need to include a page or two from the their process journal or sketch book. This will show judges how the applicant's designs began and developed.

This year's brief doesn't ask for technical flat sketches (as it has in previous years), but does ask designers to illustrate 6-8 looks and create front and back sketches for 3 of the looks. Can you please clarify whether the expectation is to provide front illustrations for 6-8 and back illustrations for just 3 with no flats?

Designers are expected to provide 6-8 front illustrations for the proposed product offering, and create front and back flats for three of those 6-8 looks.

How do I get access to log onto Slide Room?

By October 2nd, applicants competing in the FSF scholarship competition will receive the SlideRoom link from their FSF educator. Applicants will then create a their SlideRoom account, complete the online application, upload their completed case study and SUBMIT by midnight PST on October 16, 2017.

The case prompt calls for an APA format and a bibliography.Since APA format usually includes a reference list rather than a bibliography, is a reference list needed?

Scholars should follow APA formatting therefore a reference list alone is acceptable. Bibliography is not required in APA formatting.

Is the page limit 10, one-sided?


Are design students only allowed to use three colors in their materials story?

No. We are looking for three colorways and three prints, including a range of color the design student feels is appropriate for their line.

Within the design case, what type of sketches are acceptable? Is it limited to hand-drawn sketches, digital sketches?

Illustrations can be done by hand or by CAD.

Are students required to complete a SWOT analysis for the study this year?

No. While students are required to conduct research on the leading fashion retailers that are relevant to each discipline prompt and to share a brief comparison of the various retailers researched, there is no required format or framework for this section of the case study.

Does this year's scholarship need to contain an abstract at the beginning of the report? If so, is that included in the 10 page limit?

No abstract page is required. We asked that an abstract statement is incorporated on the title page and reduced it to one sentence to summarize the case.

Does the ten page limit include references?


For the Merchandising and Marketing six-month financial plan, should the focus be on one physical store's finances or the entire company?

The format of the financial plan is up to the scholar. What is important is that the scholar clearly outlines all the assumptions they made to project out their expected sales, receipts, profit margin and inventory. The case reader should get a can get a clear sense that the scholar has thought through the financial repercussions of their proposal, and that they have a specific plan for how their proposal will provide a return on the company's investment.

Are we required to have all three: footnotes, appendix, and bibliography?

No. We require that all cases are submitted using APA formatting.

Are all components of the Design case study supposed to fit within the 10 page limit or will the students be able to submit supplmental materials through a digital portfolio?

No digital portfolio on SlideRoom. It must all fit within the 10 page limit and 5 additional pages in the appendix.

Are there requirements for margin size and font size for the written portion?

Yes, APA formatting guidelines.

Is there a page limit on the appendix?

Yes, the appendix should be no longer than 5 pages.

What time does the application close on October 16th?

At midnight, Eastern Standard Time.


Have a question about the 2018 FSF Case Study Competition?  Inquire below!

Name *