Fashion student wins prestigious national scholarship


Photo courtesy of Catriona Buchanan

Catriona Buchanan outside a conference in New York City for the YMA Fashion Scholarship Fund.

Fashion textile and technology student Catriona Buchanan proved that hard work and dedication pay off.

Buchanan, a junior at SUNY Buffalo State, recently won a $5,000 scholarship through the YMA (former Young Men’s Association) Fashion Scholarship Fund.

The YMA Fashion Scholarship Fund is a national non-profit association committed to promoting education of the fashion arts and business by granting scholarships to talented students and facilitating internships, mentorships, and career programs.

“There’s a lot of competition,” said Lynn Boorady, chair and associate professor in the fashion textile and technology program. “We’re up against students from the best universities across the United States and Canada. For Buffalo State to be represented among these is very prestigious.”

Four students at Buffalo State and 500 total nationwide competed for the scholarship.

Buchanan emerged as one of 131 winners.

Competition came from universities such as Harvard, Pratt Institute and the Fashion Institute of Technology.

Along with her scholarship Buchanan received the opportunity to attend the Geoffrey Beene National Scholarship Awards Dinner in New York City.

There, Buchanan met the CEO of Steve Madden and Perry Ellis, as well as recruitment representatives from stores such as Macy’s, Barney’s, and Ralph Lauren.

“It was such an amazing experience to meet and network with industry professionals,” Buchanan said.

Faculty mentioned this opportunity to the students in the fall and Buchanan decided to get involved.

“Having passed it up last semester, I knew I had to at least try for it this time,” Buchanan said.

Each student was required to submit a tailored resume to the fashion faculty and interview with a scholarship fund representative before moving on. Students also couldn’t be graduating that fall and needed at least a 3.0 GPA.

“We encouraged all of our students to get involved, but of course they had to meet certain criteria,” Dr. Abraham, assistant professor in the Fashion Textile and Technology program, said.

The case study consisted of writing an eight-page paper on J.C Penney and their millennial market, a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) analysis, a potential product line, a brand identity, and a marketing plan. Students then chose either the design or the business concept. Buchanan chose business.

“I’m a merchandise major and my education worked seamlessly with what I was asked to create,” Buchanan said.

Buchanan had to create an assortment plan for nine garments, a competitive analysis between J.C. Penney and two competitors, develop a six month plan and visual presentation, and create an advertising campaign. The process took three months.

“Even if I hadn’t won, I was so proud of myself for giving it my all and for attempting something so major,” Buchanan said.

After winning the scholarship Buchanan decided to use the money to study in Italy this semester.

“I had always wanted to do the Siena study abroad program but I knew I had to be financially stable enough to afford it,” Buchanan said. “Now I can truly appreciate the art and architecture and most importantly the fashion of Europe.”

Next year Buchanan will be eligible for the Geoffry Beene award, which includes a 10 or 25 thousand dollar scholarship.

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