This article is a sponsored collaboration between the Fashion Scholarship Fund and PAPER

On the heels of an unquestionably difficult year, the Fashion Scholarship Fund (FSF) looked toward the future by honoring some of the industry's most promising young talent.

On Tuesday, the FSF awarded $1 million in scholarships to 120 students during its 84th annual awards ceremony. And though it was a virtual night of celebration that even featured appearances by Ryan Seacrest and Virgil Abloh, host Tamron Hall made sure the spotlight stayed on the FSF recipients who showed great tenacity amidst the difficulties of this past year.

"Never has there been a more important time, or greater need, to support an incoming class of FSF Scholars. 2020 has crushed opportunity across every industry," she said. "We've all been impacted in some way. And it's been felt most strongly by the ambitious, talented youth who are out there hustling to make a name for themselves. The Fashion Scholarship Fund has been listening to those in need and pivoting their programs to meet these unusual times."

Also echoing Hall's statement was FSF Executive Director Peter Arnold, who touched on their continued efforts to help those entering the industry during this challenging time, whether it be through providing scholarships, mentorships, and other opportunities. And of particular emphasis was their support of students of color — who made up 33 percent of this year's applicant and winner pool — including the 20 awardees of Abloh's new Post-Modern Scholarship Fund for Black students.

Later in the evening, PacSun and Fashion Scholarship Fund announced an exciting new initiative for which FSF Alumni will be selected to collaborate with PacSun's creative director to create a series of limited-edition unisex collections that will be available for purchase beginning in Fall 2021.

But perhaps the most exciting part of the night was the lead-up to the FSF's top scholarship prize, the Board of Directors' Chairman's Award, which was taken home by Lehigh University senior Evelyn Siao. After all, as FSF President and Chief Stores Officer at Macy's Marc Mastronardi explained, we have a lot to look forward to from this pool of incredible talent.

"Each and every one of these candidates is here because of the gifts they have to share with our industry," he said. "They are exceptionally driven and have a vision of the future that will continue to propel our industry forward."

Watch the entire event for yourself, below.

Design by Marrisa Wilson/ Courtesy of the Fashion Scholarship Fund

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