Posted Friday, January 22, 2010 - 2:42 PM

Pratt Student Kasia Wisniewski Wins One of Four $25,000 Annual Fashion Scholarship Fund Scholarships

Pratt senior fashion design student Kasia Wisniewski was honored by the YMA Fashion Scholarship Fund with one of four $25,000 Fashion Scholarship Fund (FSF) Geoffrey Beene National Scholarship Awards at the 2010 FSF Geoffrey Beene Fashion Scholarship Awards Dinner on January 13 in Manhattan. Also honored were sophomore fashion design students Ruby Gertz and Tracey Li, who received $5,000 general scholarships for their design work. In all, 110 students comprised the FSF Class of 2009 and 2010 and were honored in front of nearly 800 leading fashion and beauty executives.

The FSF Geoffrey Beene National Scholarship Award is given to four students who won a $5,000 scholarship the year prior. Scholarship finalists were required to go through a rigorous application process that included the creation of a retail store concept for a launch; the submission of a personal essay and a paper describing what steps retailers should take in these tough economic times; and the development of an apparel brand. Wisniewski created a versatile low to mid-priced fashion label for men and women titled "Darwin" for the challenge which utilized innovative business and mass-marketing skills regarding trend forecasting, branding, and garment fabrication.

The FSF Board of Directors reviewed finalists' work to determine the four winners whose names were announced at the January 13 awards ceremony. Wisniewski, the sole design student of the four, plans to use the prize money to finance her senior collection and to provide a foundation for her post-graduate career in the fashion industry. Wisniewski is a native of Milwaukee, Wis.

"We are so proud that Kasia represented Pratt and that she was one of the four recognized this year," said Rebeccah Pailes-Friedman, acting chair of Pratt's Fashion Design program. "Her work reflects the high standards of the program and the passion and creativity of our students," she added.

The $5,000 scholarship was open to any sophomore or junior from the participating schools listed on the FSF website. In order to be considered for the scholarship, students had to reinvent five classic garments in honor of the 25th anniversary of the Tommy Hilfiger brand: the khaki pant, the jean, the polo shirt, rugby shirt, and button-front woven shirt or redesign one of the five items in five different ways. Students were also charged with the creation of a new iconic item to add to the Tommy Hilfiger collection that would represent the brand and appeal to a mass audience. They then presented their designs and wrote an essay regarding brand customers, competition, and ways to improve the brand. Gertz is a native of Melrose, Mass. and Li is a native of Brooklyn, N.Y.