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Longhorn Textiles and Apparel Students Singled Out for Top Fashion Prizes

Longhorn Textiles and Apparel Students Singled Out for Top Fashion Prizes

In the five years that students from the Division of Textiles and Apparel at The University of Texas at Austin have participated in in the YMA Fashion Scholarship Fund program, students have won prestigious scholarships each year—and four UT Austin students have finished among the top finalists in the country, including two outstanding participants this year.

YMA is the country's leading educational fashion nonprofit, and it grants more scholarships than any other entity in the fashion industry. More than 900 students from top fashion and textiles and apparel programs on campuses nationwide compete each year in the YMA program, which also includes opportunities for internships, educational offerings, mentorships and connections with the world's top fashion companies and influential leaders.

At a gala this week, which also is honoring style icons Martha Stewart and Ryan Seacrest, two UT Austin students are among eight finalists receiving $15,000 scholarships from YMA. Six additional UT Austin students receiving $5,000 scholarships also will be in attendance.

As finalists and winners of the $15,000 prize, seniors Javier Uriegas and Viviana Martinez are eligible for an even larger $35,000 prize from YMA, which will be announced at the gala. The prizes are given based on case studies students completed related to "opportunities for a fashion company to expand in the global market." Uriegas' case study focused on supply chain management, and Martinez' case study focused on technology and analytics. This is the first year that two students from UT Austin have been among the eight finalists.

To gain a deeper understanding of the case study process and the effort required to accomplish such a rewarding achievement, textiles and apparel junior Emily Deen spoke to Uriegas and Martinez about their experiences leading up to this week's announcement.

What about the YMA Scholarship opportunity encouraged you to get involved?

JU: What attracted me to the scholarship was the fact that they allowed you to choose different methods to tackle the same problem and didn't restrict you to your field of study. I chose supply chain management because it was so different than anything I had done before, and to me that was so interesting.

VM: I was encouraged to get involved because of the interdisciplinary nature of the case studies. Fashion is everywhere, but being tasked to propose a unique and innovative way to deliver fashion and, in turn, improve the industry was an intriguing opportunity.

Give us a quick synopsis of your winning case studies.

JU: In my case study, I proposed that an online retailer expand to the Asian market by making a language-based website in South Korea for the short-term and then utilize South Korea's good international relations to build a distribution hub for the East Asia market. All this will allow the company to expand their profit portfolio away from the western hemisphere into the growing Asian market and build their presence in the fashion market.

VM: My case study deals with comparing Amazon's and Forever21's business models in terms of globalization. The main case study was about using concert ticket sales and other aggregated online data to predict the best location for an e-commerce store to open pop-up shops.

What is something you learned about the fashion industry that you feel you wouldn't have been able to learn in a classroom setting?

JU: Supply chain is everything to the retail industry. The products, prices and place where they are distributed are all at the hands of the supply-chain coordinators. I knew this from previous classes I had taken, but getting to know how things worked and why they did was fascinating.

VM: I feel that the paper was a culmination of what I learned through my years at UT. It wrapped everything in a nice bow, as I got to show my research, business, fashion and technology-related skills. As far as what I learned about the industry through the case study, I learned a lot of in-depth information about industry practices for my respective subjects.

What was an unexpected challenge you faced throughout this process?

JU: Because the company I focused on is such an innovative company and is constantly growing, they are very secretive about their work. So, in order to get the information I needed I had to call, email and message every employee I could find on LinkedIn or Google. No one answered my requests for months, but luckily, a week before the submission of the case study, I managed to schedule a phone call with the current COO of the company.

VM: An unexpected challenge I faced during this process was putting technical knowledge into perspective and organizing it in such a way that it was concise and effective.

What advice would you give to students interested in applying in the future?

JU: I guess the best advice I can give is to not be scared about how big this project seems to be. Just do it. If I can do it, you can do it. I think the hardest thing about this case study is not putting the information together, but committing to the work and not giving up whenever you hit a roadblock. Whoever decides to do this in the future and succeeds, will find how rewarding the feeling of accomplishment can be. And you will definitely become more confident in your career.

VM: I would advise students interested in applying to go to the writing center. Use all of the resources available to you from the department, the University and so forth because the time investment is definitely worth the knowledge even in future classes.

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Tuesday, 19 March 2019

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