August 3, 2023

As a long-standing partner of the Fashion Scholarship Fund, Centric Brands is committed to supporting its mission of being the foremost fashion-oriented education and workforce development nonprofit in the U.S. This year, Centric Brands sponsored two Fashion Scholarship Fund recipients, an annual commitment to further the next generation of young talent in the fashion industry.  

We sat down with Centric Brands FSF Scholars Kimiko Quayle and Stephanie Gouchoe to discuss how the program has impacted their current education and future career goals in the fashion industry. 

What inspired you to pursue a career within the fashion industry? 

KQ: I think I have always known that I yearned to work in the fashion industry but, pushed this feeling down due to a fear of pursuing a “risky” career path. This led me to pursue a general business degree at Lehigh University, an overall valuable experience. But I still felt lost.  

I’ve always had a creative and an analytical point of view and began to explore career paths that would intertwine both perspectives. I realized that a career in fashion was in fact not a risk, but a smart decision because it combines business with passion. This realization, coupled with the guidance from a Marketing professor at Lehigh, led me to apply to the Fashion Scholarship Fund which acted as a creative outlet amid a heavy business-laden workload.  

SG: Since I was in elementary school, I always loved learning how to sew, draw, put together Pinterest boards, and flip through fashion magazines. When I came to the Savannah College of Arts and Design (SCAD), I was so excited that I could take these passions to the next level through their Fashion Marketing program. I am inspired by fashion’s ability to allow a person to present the best versions of themselves to the world and am so excited to enter the industry. 

How has becoming a Fashion Scholarship Fund Recipient impacted you personally? 

KQ: The Scholarship program not only provides numerous networking opportunities and informational webinars, but most importantly, it gives me confidence. I had begun to think about transferring to the Fashion Institute of Technology for a while to pursue a degree in Business Management. When I received the 2023 FSF scholarship, I knew it was time to make the jump and trust my inner voice. 

SG: Becoming an FSF recipient has given me confidence in my creative skills and opened doors to new opportunities and connections! Through recent FSF events, I’ve been able to connect with peers who share my interests and hear from accomplished industry professionals. 

What piece of advice would you pass on to future Fashion Scholarship Fund recipients? 

KQ: To future Fashion Scholarship Fund recipients, I would advise connecting with as many of the other scholars as possible. They are some of the most driven and talented individuals I’ve ever met, and I’ve been so inspired by hearing others’ stories/paths.  

SG: Take advantage of the many opportunities and events that the FSF has to offer. It has been a great way to network and meet mentors in the fashion industry who are so willing to offer advice and expertise. 

In what ways has the Fashion Scholarship Fund program prepared you for future job opportunities? 

KQ: The FSF program has helped me prepare for future job opportunities through numerous networking events, workshops and seminars, and an individualized mentorship program. This summer I was matched with a mentor based off my career goals in merchandise planning and inventory management.  

SG: The FSF program has offered workshops throughout the year to hear from industry leaders in merchandising, marketing, and more. I also attended the FSF career fair where I was able to meet recruiters from so many amazing companies! This led me to landing my job with TJX as an Allocation Analyst. 

What topics are you passionate about in fashion? 

KQ: I am extremely passionate about sustainability in the fashion industry. The fashion industry contributes to a large portion of carbon emissions, and the rise of fast fashion/consumerism is extremely concerning. This led me to focus my case study on the future of sustainable fashion through utilizing unused inventory and recycled materials into one-of-a-kind products. And why I plan to apply to the Fashion Scholarship Fund again this upcoming year, with a focus on Environmental Social Governance. 

SG: I’m very passionate about new technology in the fashion industry, especially new ways that brands can adopt sustainable practices into their business models.