The YMA Fashion Scholarship Fund recently announced the expansion of its portfolio of scholarships to include the Alumni Dream Grant. Continuing the organization’s mission of identifying the best and brightest talent from the 61 partner colleges and universities for the future of the fashion industry, the Fashion Scholarship Fund Alumni Dream Grant will support an early stage start-up for further growth through mentorship from industry experts and an equity-free $50,000 grant. The Alumni Dream Grant will be given out annually to one promising startup led by an Alumni of the Fashion Scholarship Fund undergraduate program. The first application round is expected to launch in January of 2018 at the Annual Awards Gala, with the first winner being announced in the summer of 2018. Kathrine Zeren and Jameel Mohammed are two YMA FSF Alumni who have taken a leap of faith and chosen to start their own fashion lines. Both attended our Alumni Dream Grant social at the Zola offices in New York and shared their journey’s with a selection of YMA FSF alumni.
Kathrine Zeren is an YMA FSF Scholar Alumni from 2006 and 2007. She has started her own brand within the menswear accessories space based in Houston, Texas. “I graduated about 10 years ago from the Rhode Island School of Design,” she said. “Upon graduating, I went to work for Abercrombie & Fitch's brand Ruehl until they closed. I then went to work for Hollister for a year, followed by Abercrombie for my final two years at the company. I stayed in women's fashion woven tops, shirting, & dresses the entire time, so wovens kind of became my focus. I loved the opportunities that A&F gave me at a young age, and learned so much. However, after 4 years, I was ready for a change. I wanted to spend some time traveling and doing volunteer work overseas. Toms & Warby Parker were relatively new companies, and I was inspired to see if I could create something with a socially-minded focus as well. I needed to raise money for my trip, and on a whim, I decided to try making ties to sell.