CFDA, Swarovski Foundation Team for Re: Generation Innovation Scholar Award

In recognition of the 25th anniversary of the CFDA Scholarship Program, the Council of Fashion Designers of America has teamed with the Swarovski Foundation to create the Re: Generation Innovation Scholar Award.

As part of their shared commitment to sustainability and education and timed to Earth Month, the CFDA and Swarovski Foundation will launch the three-year partnership to advance learning and innovative design thinking within sustainable systems. The annual $30,000 scholarship will feature a fellowship opportunity and provide one annually selected student with meaningful mentorship to help them reach their potential to transform fashion through ingenuity.

The scholarship opportunity is open to full-time undergraduate BFA or BA college students. The 2021 Re: Generation Innovation Scholar will be selected by a CFDA-Swarovski Foundation committee based on portfolio review and virtual presentation, demonstrating interests or strengths in sustainable systems, talent, financial need and professional potential. Students will be asked to embed Swarovski Foundation focuses of culture, creative innovation, care for the environment and human rights within their narrative.

In addition to the scholar award, Swarovski Foundation and the CFDA will expand beyond the principles of creativity for problem-solving and sustainable innovation, and offer programming, professional development tools, learning opportunities and information resources to students at American design schools and in the wider fashion industry.

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“Students are the future of American fashion and will be leading the charge in transforming today’s challenges into tomorrow’s solutions,” said Steven Kolb, chief executive of the CFDA. “Creative ingenuity is a prerequisite for impactful innovation in sustainable and lasting change. Through the Re: Generation Innovation Scholar Award, we look to students to imagine a new global and conscious fashion industry. We look forward to again be working with Nadja Swarovski as well as the Swarovski Foundation and thank them for the support.”

In 2019, the CFDA and Swarovski parted ways after a 17-year run. Swarovski had been the main sponsor of the CFDA Fashion Awards, including the presentation of the Swarovski Award for Emerging Talent and the Swarovski Award for Positive Change. At the CFDA Awards, the presenters and stars would pose for photo opportunities, surrounded by Swarovski crystals, creating images of the event. Swarovski continued to support the next generation of American talent through a diverse range of fashion programs.

Nadja Swarovski, who relinquished her corporate responsibilities at Atelier Swarovski last year in a management shuffle, now devotes herself full time to the foundation she established in 2013.

“Building on almost two decades of collaboration, I am proud to partner with the CFDA in a new capacity via the Swarovski Foundation,” said Nadja Swarovski, member of the Swarovski executive board and Swarovski Foundation chair. “The Re: Generation Innovation Scholar Award reflects our shared vision to identify, empower and accelerate the next generation of leading fashion talent in the sustainability realm. Design students have a unique ability to use the creative process to examine sustainable development and lay the foundations of a new and better future for this industry. Their creative expression through fashion is a vehicle for evolution — not only for trailblazing concepts and products, but also for societal changes in thinking and behavior.”

With the new Re: Generation Innovation Scholar Award, some $280,000 in scholarship money will be awarded through the 2021 CFDA Design Scholar Awards, including the Suntchi Image Maker Award, the Liz Claiborne Design for Impactful Futures Award, and the Geoffrey Beene Designer Masters Scholar Award.

Since its establishment in 1996 through a named Perry Ellis scholarship at Parsons School of Design, the CFDA Scholarship Program has awarded over $2.2 million and 302 scholarships to student design talent attending 22 leading American colleges and universities. From 2015 to 2020, 76 percent of scholarships were awarded to women and 72 percent from ethnic/diverse backgrounds.

The Swarovski Foundation, which was established by Nadja Swarovski to honor the philanthropic spirit of her great-great-grandfather Daniel Swarovski who founded the crystal business 126 years ago, has supported over 50 organizations and 500,000 people across 40 countries. The foundation’s mission is to support charitable initiatives and organizations working in three areas: fostering culture, creativity and education, promoting human empowerment and preserving the environment.

The foundation supports the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, the blueprint for a better world set out by the United Nations in 2015.

As reported last month, the Swarovski Foundation launched a sustainability project with the United Nations. The program is aimed at challenging creative talents across a variety of sectors, including design, fashion and engineering to create, invent and make in a sustainable manner. Known as Swarovski Foundation Institute: Creatives for Our Future, the new global grant program was devised with the United Nations Office for Partnerships.


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