by Karen Alberg Grossman

What a fabulous night for the fashion industry and fashion design/merchandising students across the country. At a record-breaking dinner (1500 attendees, plus an extra $100,000 generated by a live auction) at the NY Hilton, honorees spoke of the tremendous contribution that young people are making to our industry. Past scholarship winners spoke with emotion about how their scholarship changed their lives, giving them internships and opportunities that would not have happened otherwise.

The 2019 scholars who received either $15,000 or $35,000 awards were: Maxine Britt (U of Minnesota), Rachel Davis (U of Cincinnati), Jennifer Junker (Iowa State University), Jeremy Kalteux (U of Georgia), Viviana Martinez (U of Texas at Austin), Isabella Mendez (Savannah College of Art and Design), Sydney Silver (Academy of Art University) and Javier Uriegas (U of Texas at Austin).

Industry honorees were Ryan Seacrest, Martha Stewart and Hal Lawton, all of whom spoke beautifully about the growing importance of fashion in the world. Seacrest, claiming to be daunted by the size of the crowd as opposed to his television audience, pointed out that current disruption in the retail world is actually a good thing, creating excitement and opportunity for today’s trailblazers. Stewart, speaking with unexpected humor and humility, talked not only about living creatively with style but also about the value of education as “not preparation for life but as life itself.” Lawton, who wisely eschewed any mention of yesterday’s stock market prices, noted that of all the industries out there, fashion leads in terms of diversity and inclusion.

YMA, now in its 82nd year, proudly printed their stats on the Awards program: more than $1,100,000 awarded annually, 200+ scholarship recipients from 60+ colleges and universities, 100% summer internship placements, 100+ corporate recruitment partners, 1000+ fashion industry mentors and an alumni community of more than 2,000. For more info or to get involved:; 212-278-0008.

Photos by: Cindy Ord / Getty Images