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Activia Training Scholarship -- Fitting into Boxes and Telling Stories

Activia Training Scholarship -- Fitting into Boxes and Telling Stories

This post has been written for the Activia Training Scholarship Competition, in response to the fourth question on their site, "How will this scholarship award help you?"


The ribbon of my seventeen years has unraveled from its spool at a hundred miles per hour, spilling over the edges of different boxes.

There’s the Farm Girl Box of green woven fields, sweet horse kisses, and starlit nights in the tractor. There’s the Student Box strung with stubby lead pencils, science fair ribbons, and graduation honors cords. Lastly, there’s the Fashion Designer Box of newspaper clippings, VIP lanyards, and beads sewn until my fingers bled. The colors, textures, and memories from each box vary, but together they tell a story. 

My Family, Silver Lake, Ore., 2000

My Family, Silver Lake, Ore., 2000

Born into Oregon agriculture, I wore hand-me-downs, had no television, and no concept of “fashion.”  I felt predestined by the generations of women in my culture to be confined to my Farm Girl Box, but I could feel my life’s ribbon spilling over the edges. The day my grandmother introduced me to a box of sewing notions, a large part of me fell in; unretrievable.

I didn’t fit into one box anymore.

Instead of sleeping with stuffed animals, I slept with a scrap of silk. When I was four, my grandmother taught me how to use a sewing machine, and I can remember sneaking out of bed at night to drape fabric on my dolls. As I grew older, I spent more time at my grandmother’s house sewing, and before long, I had started a business selling doll clothes online.

I was commissioned at 12 to design and sew a wedding gown, prompting my move from doll clothing to bridal/evening wear.

From there, I raised and sold livestock on our farm to supplement my business and save for college. Through the use of social media and niche marketing, my business started to grow, leading to my selection as Oregon’s 2014 Portland Fashion Week Emerging Designer. From there, doors opened to international exposure via shows such as Los Angeles Fashion Week and Vancouver, B.C. Fashion Week and press with Vogue UK and Elle HK

Grandma & Grandpa, Linn-Benton Community College Commencement, 2016

Grandma & Grandpa, Linn-Benton Community College Commencement, 2016

Throughout the unwinding of my fashion career, I filled my Student Box with ribbon too. At 15, I dual-enrolled in community college full-time, graduating with my Associates degree at the end of grade 11. Involvement in leadership programs placed me at the state level in public speaking competitions, as well as serving as the fashion editor for my college newspaper. This past year, I’ve attended NYACK College and interned with Nicole Miller while obtaining my New York state residency.

Graduating from The Fashion Institute of Technology is my dream because it’s about more than surface-level fashion. In the Fashion Design major, I will learn about design, construction, and business from industry professionals who are known for their experience and exacting standards. I am eager to attend college where I will be around people with similar passions, goals, and drive. The networking opportunities available at FIT are extraordinary. 

Right now I am focussing on my education, and my "Student Box," but I can’t wait to see where my "Fashion Designer Box" takes me someday.

Receiving this scholarship would be huge for me. College is the next step in my future, but without financial support from my family after the loss of my father, I know that I am going to have to work really hard to get there. Any help that I can get along the way will bring me closer to my long term goals. 

After graduation, I plan to set up a fashion house where I can market my products to high-end boutiques and continue creating for custom events. I hope to hire three to five employees to help make it easier to sell at a higher volume. I am also hoping to generate revenue from my blog, and I am currently working on launching a youtube channel in which I can also promote my business.

Los Angeles Fashion Week, 2016

Los Angeles Fashion Week, 2016

Giving back is important to me. I current give 10 percent of my income to charities, but I am hoping to increase that percentage as my company grows. My long term goal for my company is to be able to fund sewing classes for young students in Cambodia, and provide jobs for at-risk young people there who have aged out of the care of orphanages, in an attempt to alleviate the problem of sex slavery within that country.    

When composing a collection, a designer makes a mood board to tell the story of their line. My life has been diverse, but it tells a story. While collecting eggs and sewing on sequins hardly go on the same mood board, they’re both a display of work. These boxes, this ribbon of my life — they tell a story of hard work, flexibility, and drive. I believe that story composes a student who is worthy of your scholarship.

Flippin’ Coney Island Day Pancakes

Flippin’ Coney Island Day Pancakes

Pink Carnations and the Goddess of Spring

Pink Carnations and the Goddess of Spring