Over $1.1 million will be awarded to 200-plus students in the world’s largest fashion scholarship program, a prestigious competition with 36 winners from Jefferson (Philadelphia University + Thomas Jefferson University) over the last five years.
The president of PVH’s dress furnishings group and a graduate of the textile merchandising and marketing program attributes much of the students’ success at Jefferson to their strong knowledge base and enthusiasm, as well as faculty support.
“They have a vested interest in each student,” he said, stressing the importance of real-world connections developed at Jefferson.
Students regularly visit the PVH offices and talk to designers as part of the New York City fashion immersion course, said Sirkin, a past Convocation speaker. Over the years, PVH representatives also have presented at the University’s Explore Fashion Day, recruited students at campus career fairs and partnered on a pop-up shop. With nearly $9 billion in 2017 revenue, PVH’s brands include Calvin Klein, Tommy Hilfiger and Heritage Brands.
Speaking in Hayward Hall on March 5, Sirkin provided details to some 80 fashion design, textile design, fashion merchandising and management, and industrial design students about the YMA Fashion Scholarship Fund. In addition to his role at PVH, he serves on the Fund’s board and mentors Jefferson students through the scholarship process, where financial awards range from $5,000 to $35,000.
Applicants will explore opportunities for a fashion company to expand in the global market in this year’s case study competition for design, product development, merchandising, marketing, retailing, supply chain and analytics.
“Be unique,” Sirkin advised. “You want to stand out.”
Fashion design sophomore McKenzi Migliorini, who won a $5,000 YMA scholarship, also spoke to the students eager for tips and firsthand knowledge.
Beyond the scholarship itself, Migliorini said she benefited from the networking opportunities. All winners attend a career fair in New York to meet with top firms for highly regarded internships and entry-level positions.
“With this experience, it has given me a future for not only the summer but for years to come,” she said.
After receiving multiple offers as a result of the career fair, she will intern at Free People in the intimates department.
“This is a great platform for students to shine and show what they got,” Sirkin said.
Sheila Connelly, director of Jefferson’s fashion design program, said the companies attending the YMA career fair know they will be seeing the nation’s best emerging talent.
“Every year, Jefferson students up the bar in their ability to compete against some of the top programs across the country,” she said. “Being a YMA scholar opens so many doors for our graduates. I consistently hear from our industry partners that those are the resumes that go on the top of the pile.”