Awards & Opportunities

Our Fashion and Textile students have the opportunity to compete for a multitude of faculty and industry-based awards …

Red Dress

Red Dress Award

Junior level fashion design students at Thomas Jefferson University all design and construct an eveningwear red dress look to participate in the “Go Red for Women” national campaign by the American Heart Association. Every year, the American Heart Association’s Philadelphia chapter hosts a Red Dress Fashion Show at a historic location in the city. A panel of industry judges award prizes to the top three dresses, and attendees of the Red Dress Fashion Show choose a fourth dress to award the “People’s Choice” prize. The winning looks are displayed in the window of Macy’s center city Philadelphia location for a period of time in the summer months.

Design X

Design X

All fashion design students at Thomas Jefferson University are required to take Problem Solving, a class that pushes students to think outside the usual parameters of fashion and materials, fostering an environment of creative design thinking. Problem solving project briefs ask students to create garments using a given prompt and small budget. Prompts may direct students to visit a location, such as the zoo or the aquarium, to gather visual inspiration. Often, budgetary restrictions of $20 or less require students to use unconventional materials instead of fabric to construct their garments. Looks designed in this class are shown at the annual Design X fashion show organized and produced by the Fashion Industries Association group on campus.

PA Ballet Collaboration

PA Ballet Collaboration

Annually beginning in 2019, Thomas Jefferson University collaborates with the Pennsylvania Ballet to provide costuming for one of their special performances. Junior and senior fashion design students are given the opportunity to participate in this event, which is completely extra-curricular to any class assignments. Students, along with faculty mentors, start the project by visiting a ballet performance and being given special access to the ballet costume room to study how these pieces are made. Students, with the help of the dancer they are costuming, sketch and design unique looks, keeping in mind the need for cohesion between all the dancers’ costumes. A panel of ballet, costume, and fashion industry judges award prizes to the top designs at a special intimate performance of the ballet. In 2019, Thomas Jefferson University and the PA Ballet closed out their collaboration with the help of the Barnes Foundation by offering a special performance of the ballet for free in an outside terrace at their museum.

New York Fashion Week

New York Fashion Week

Twice a year, two senior fashion design students are chosen by a panel of Fashion Design Faculty to participate in an Emerging Designer Fashion Show at New York Fashion Week. These students show their chosen collection on a professional runway alongside other industry designers making a name for themselves. This is a fantastic opportunity that is not available to students at many other fashion schools.

Fashion Scholarship Fund (FSF)

The Fashion Scholarship Fund is a national non-profit association dedicated to supporting students pursuing careers in the fashion industry. Each year, FSF awards over $1.2 million to help students succeed in all areas of the fashion industry

2019: Six students won $5000 prizes; One student won $7500 prize

2018: 11 winners

2017: One student won top award for $35,000


  • Minimum overall GPA of 3.2
  • Must be a full-time sophomore, junior, or senior student at a FSF member school

PRIZE: $5000 scholarship awarded to multiple recipients; top finalists may compete for higher prizes

The Council of Fashion Designers of America Scholarship (CFDA)

 This scholarship was established in 1996 by the Council of Fashion Designers in America and has awarded more than $2 million and 300 scholarships to fashion design students from more than 22 leading American colleges and universities. The top student projects travel to New York to present their portfolios in front of a CFDA Member Selection Committee in May, giving students not only a shot at the scholarship, but also access to incredible networking opportunities.


  • Full-time, year-three undergraduate fashion student of an American college or university
  • Accepted specializations include: Apparel, Accessories, Jewelry, Materials, Technical Design
  • The CFDA will accept up to 10 submissions per school as endorsed by the school’s Dean, Chair, Director or equivalent.

PRIZE: $25,000 scholarships awarded each year

Black Talent in Design and Fashion Fund

Co-founded by Jefferson Fashion Design Aluma Alicia Pickney (class of 2013) and funded by a number of large organizations, this scholarship directly funds Black students studying to enter the apparel or footwear industries. Four Thomas Jefferson University fashion design and fashion merchandising students received scholarships through this fund in October 2020.


  • Full time undergraduate of color enrolled in accredited college/university
  • Fashion design and management majors eligible
  • Culminative GPA of 2.5+

PRIZE: $500 scholarships available

Eileen West/ UFC

 Eileen West is a classic brand under the Komar brands group dedicated to high-quality sleep and intimates. This scholarship is offered to Thomas Jefferson University Fashion Design students interested in sleep and intimate apparel product categories, and offers internship opportunities to its winners. In Spring 2020, seven Thomas Jefferson University students were awarded a total of $35,000 in scholarships by the Underfashion Club.


  • For junior level students only
  • Applicant must have overall GPA of 3.0 or higher in most recently completed semester.
  • Applicant must submit all documents required (Application, Resume, Personal Statement, Illustrations) by the specified deadline.
  • Applicant must be interviewed by members of the SAIG Committee representing the Underfashion Club, Inc. For the interview applicant should bring his/her portfolio and 2-3 projects.

PRIZE: Scholarship amounts have historically been awarded up to $15,000; multiple winners 

Make It with Wool Contest

National Make it with Wool is a once a year sewing and design competition that is supported by the American Sheep Industry. A fashion design competition is sponsored specifically for college students in fashion design majors.


  • Only students currently pursuing a degree in a college-level fashion or apparel design program may participate.
  • Garment may be created for the participant or another/ model.
  • See website for fabric requirements

PRIZE: Winner will receive a $1000 scholarship from the American Wool Council and a trip to the Make It with Wool Sewing Contest in January.

Martinson Fund

This grant is made possible by the generosity of Eileen Martinson, alumna (Class of ’86) and chair of our Board of Trustees. The Martinson Capstone Awards provide funding for students to use as part of their projects. Capstone projects and similar junior and senior level major projects will be considered.


  • Must be a junior or senior student working on capstone project to apply
  • Must have the support of at least one faculty member

PRIZE: Can apply for specific funding amount

Black Design Leaders Grant

The Black Design Leaders Grant will be awarded to a Black student or recent graduate who plans on (or already is) pursuing a career in design at a start-up

PRIZE: $1,050 awarded to one recipient

Joe’s Black Book Scholarship Competition

Joe’s Black Book is an organization within the fashion industry that looks to connect companies to freelancer and other collaborators. This scholarship seeks to support the next generation of designers through educational funding.


  • Junior level students only
  • Must specify womenswear or menswear design

PRIZE: (2) $10,000 scholarships- one for womenswear and one for menswear

Gucci Changemaker

The Gucci Changemaker fund aims to provide scholarship opportunities to diverse undergraduate students with unmet financial need interested in the fashion industry.


  • Open to graduating high school seniors and currently enrolled undergraduate students attending an accredited four-year college or university in pursuit of a bachelor’s degree within North America.
  • Scholarship amount based on unmet financial need and students can reapply each year

PRIZE: up to $20,000 each year 

Elevate Grant and Mentorship Program- Stitch Fix

This grant/mentorship program sponsored by Stitch Fix is designed to support early-stage underrepresented entrepreneurs in fashion


  • Must be an early-stage (minimum 2 years operation) fashion/ apparel business operating in the US
  • Company must be majority BIPOC-owned


  • 5 Recipients will receive $25,000 grant for business expenses and advisory support
  • Business mentorship opportunities with Katrina Lake, CEO of Stitch Fix, and Brandice Daniel, Harlem Fashion Row founder.
  • Wholesale orders of your product will be placed to sell on the Stitch Fix platform 

WGSN Future Makers Mentorship Program

This six-month mentorship program is awarded to 10 mentees from around the globe and runs every six months from 2020 to 2022.


  • Must be over the age of 18
  • Must have a background in or aspire to a career in design or fashion
  • Must be able to commit to the full six-month program, attending monthly online meetings with your mentor
  • Describe how you are being held back in your career aspirations, with the aim of creating a diverse and inclusive group of mentees

PRIZE: (10) individuals will be awarded 6-month internships with WGSN

Carson Kressley Award

Most Ready for Retail – Named in honor of Carson Kressley, a member of Jefferson’s Board of Trustees and an original members of the hit TV show Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, this award celebrates a senior collection that is easily translatable to the current retail market.

Design Excellence

In Performance Apparel – This award is presented to a collection demonstrating a strong sense of performance or active apparel design and construction knowledge and technique.

Fashion Design Faculty Award

Excellence in Design – The recipient of this award is chosen by the Jefferson Fashion Design Faculty and is given to a student who demonstrates a strong eye for design and a determination to succeed.

Li & Fung Awards

Design Excellence by a Junior – Li & Fung is a major fashion supply chain management company that works closely with many American and European fashion companies to facilitate and manage production. This award celebrates design excellence by a junior fashion design student in their junior design studio class.

Design Excellence by a Junior - Honorable Mention  – This Li & Fung award is presented to the runner up for Design Excellence by a Junior.

Nexus Learning Award

A Collaborative Design Initiative – This award is presented to a senior collection that utilized collaborative efforts between a fashion design student and a design student from another background to create an overall visual aesthetic.

School of Designe & Engineering Award

Outstanding Senior Design Student – This award celebrates a senior fashion design student that has demonstrated strong design skills, a hard work ethic, and presents themselves professionally.

The Evelyn & Paul Knudsen Red Dress Award

Excellence by a Junior – Every year, junior fashion design students at Jefferson create red dresses for the American Heart Association’s national “Go Red for Women” campaign. This award is separate from any awards presented by the American Heart Association at their annual Red Dress Fashion Show, and is instead presented by the Jefferson Fashion Design Faculty to a student who demonstrates design excellence in their red dress execution.

Coates Brothers Clothing Award

Excellence in Workmanship and Quality/Senior Collection – Coates Brother Clothing is contract sewing and production company established in 1973 locally. This award is presented to a senior fashion design student whose collection exemplifies extreme attention to detail and knowledge of the garment construction process. 

Fashion Industries Association Award

Best of Show –  Sponsored by the Fashion Industries Association (FIA) chapter on campus, this award is usually presented to a single look shown at the Annual Fashion Show that the industry judges find most exciting or inspirational. 

Fashion Industries Association Award

Best Senior Collection  –  This award is presented to a senior collection that is most well developed and physically executed. 

Fashion Industries Association Award

Best Senior Collection - Honorable Mention  – This award is presented to the runner-up Best Senior Collection.

Joan Calabrese Award

Design Excellence in Childrenswear  – This award is presented to a sophomore fashion design student who has displayed design excellence with their childrenswear look. 

Mike Ternosky Obey Award

Most Creative Collection  –  Mike Ternosky is a Thomas Jefferson University Fashion Design alum from the class of 2000. He is most well-known for his work as the head designer of the Obey clothing brand, which utilizes the artwork of artist Shepard Fairey. This award is presented to a senior collection that displays over-the-top visual aesthetics and/or avant-garde styling. 

Nicholas Louis Palumbo Award

Design Excellence in Menswear – This award is presented to a fashion design student that presents outstanding menswear at the Annual Fashion Show. 

Schwab Family Award

Most Well Merchandised Senior Collection –  This award is presented to a senior collection that has created a collection of garments that can be easily mixed and matched to create new and exciting outfits for a more impactful overall presentation.

Stuart Weitzman Award for Excellence

Eveningwear or Bridal Collection – Stuart Weitzman is a well-known American shoe designer and entrepreneur. This award is presented to a senior collection that demonstrates excellent knowledge of Eveningwear or Bridal design, fabrication, and construction.

Collection XIIX  Award 

Collaborative Textile Design for Womenswear – Collection XIIX is one of the premier leaders in design, brand, licensing, and product development in the Fashion Accessory industry. This award represents excellence in a collaborative collection, and is presented to both a fashion design and textile student who worked together to create custom textiles for a fashion design collection.

The Woolmark Company Award 

Textile Innovation  – The Woolmark Company is the industry leader in merino wool and is instrumental in the global supply chain of Australian wool. This award is presented to a fashion design and textile design collaborative pair for excellence in textile innovation in a senior collection.

United Fabrics Award

Original Jacquard Textile Design – United Fabrics is globally recognized wholesale distributor of upholstery and apparel fabrics. This award is presented to a textile design collaborator for excellence in jacquard textile design and construction.