Joe’s Blackbook, a recruitment and consulting firm specializing in the fashion, retail, and beauty industries, recently announced that Julia Choi (’21 BFA Fashion Design) received one of two prestigious, $10,000 scholarships that it awards juniors in fashion design programs in the U.S. Choi’s award was for Womenswear, the application and materials for which involved designing an original womenswear collection for Fall/Winter 2020. Choi worked on her application—including mood and materials boards, 12 fully realized looks, a sketchbook, personal statement, and a self-introductory film—during the 2019-2020 academic year, and submitted it just before the COVID-19 pandemic caused many college campuses, including Otis, to close and switch to remote instruction. The funds will be disbursed directly to Otis and go towards Choi’s tuition. (The Menswear scholarship recipient was Cody Cannon, a student at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City.)
Choi was in a Zoom meeting with the scholarship finalists earlier this month when the winners were announced. “When I heard, ‘The winner is from Otis,’ I was surprised and couldn’t believe that I had won,” she says. “Nothing was in my head, and I did not know what I should say in that very honored moment. It was very nice to be recognized for my design work, which reinforced my direction. Otis gave me confidence and the motivation to keep working and finish my education.”
As for her plans post-graduation, Choi, a native of South Korea, would like to stay in the U.S. and work in the fashion industry. “I’m not sure yet about which field of fashion I would like and go with, so I am being open and will enjoy the experiences that will help me to find my right place,” she says.
For Jill Zeleznik, Chair of Otis’s Fashion Design program, Choi’s scholarship is as much an honor for the College as for her student. “The Fashion department is competing with top-ranking fashion design programs and prestigious schools, such as Parsons, Academy of Art University, the Fashion Institute of Technology, and Savannah College of Art and Design, to name a few,” she says. “Otis is an intimate college in comparison to our competitors; it is gratifying to know that Julia’s education contributed to her success, which proves the strength of our program. The monetary award will provide substantial support to fulfill her educational goals at Otis.”
Choi’s scholarship from Joe’s Blackbook is just the latest honor bestowed on Otis’s Fashion Design program. Over the summer, five Fashion Design students—Isabella Lopez, Dora (Zi Wei) Yang, Alice Cocchi, Esther Wu, and Elissa Perrin—were recognized by Los Angeles Assembly Member Reginald Byron Jones-Sawyer, Sr. for their work in sewing hundreds of cloth masks for healthcare workers. The effort was part of a mask-making contest the program initiated and that the students commenced right after turning in their Spring 2020 coursework and final projects. Last month, College Magazine named Otis’s Fashion Design program number two in its list of the “Top 10 Colleges for Aspiring Designers in 2020.”
Be sure to follow the Otis Fashion Design program on Instagram here.
Images courtesy Julia Choi and Otis College Fashion Design program.