Alyssa Albano, ’24, poses on the red carpet at the 2024 gala for Fashion Scholarship Fund. Albano has won a scholarship through this fund two consecutive years in a row. (Courtesy of Alyssa Albano)

A senior’s path to winning the Fashion Scholarship Fund two years in a row


Alyssa Albano, ‘24, has always had a love for fashion. As a young girl, she would sew pieces of fabric on mannequins to make little dresses.

Her passion was put on pause as she got older and busier with school. But, when she arrived at Lehigh, she felt her love for design return.

“Going to college opened my eyes to being more creative again and trying out different styles,” Albano said.

When Albano discovered the opportunity to combine her interest in fashion with her marketing and management major studies through a unique scholarship, she jumped at the chance. Two years later, Albano will graduate from Lehigh as a two-time consecutive winner of the Fashion Scholarship Fund Case Study Scholarship.

According to their website, The Fashion Scholarship Fund awards over $1.4 million in scholarships annually to help students from 72 member schools succeed in sectors of the fashion industry including design, merchandising, marketing analytics and business strategy. The topic of the Case Study Scholarship changes yearly, but it always involves students focusing on issues facing the fashion industry today.

Albano was first introduced to the Fashion Scholarship Fund in 2022 through marketing professor Nevena Koukova, who has been the faculty advisor for this scholarship for the last eight years.

Each year, Koukova visits different marketing classes and marketing club events at Lehigh to alert students of the scholarship and how they can apply.

“You can be any major, as long as you have foundational knowledge on marketing or business or product design,” Koukova said. “This scholarship allows students to learn more about the industry and see where they can fit in and what type of career they might be interested in.”

After expressing interest to Koukova, Albano began to brainstorm her first product.

“I felt like the topics I was learning in my classes were applicable to this case study,” Albano said.

Receiving feedback from both Koukova and Lehigh alumni in the marketing field, Albano worked toward her first winning idea, a Non-Fungible Token (NFT) for Lululemon. This online platform would enhance the customer experience for Lululemon and create a community for shopping discounts, new releases and seasonal updates.

After winning in December 2022, Albano attended Fashion Fund Scholarship events and went to a gala to receive the scholarship award, meeting many people who worked in the fashion industry.

“I feel like the opportunity to network and meet people in the industry is such a valuable experience,” Albano said. “I learned a lot from that, and the fact that they even let us be in a room with all these industry professionals is pretty crazy.”

Albano said the support from these events encouraged her to apply again in 2023.

Her second time around, she designed a color-changing fabric to promote sustainability in the fashion industry. She collaborated with a company called QR Morphosis and combined their color-changing technology with clothing products from Aerie, a store she shops at herself.

“I loved getting to research a company I was familiar with and shop at all the time,” Albano said.

As this was her second time going through the application process, Albano knew the basics and was excited to get to work.

“During my second project, I visited a few of the stores, and I saw they were already taking measures to be sustainable,” Albano said. “Being able to add to that was really cool.”

Emma Flinchbaugh, ‘24, who also won the Fashion Scholarship Fund in 2023, has experienced firsthand the opportunities that the scholarship has to offer.

Flinchbaugh attended the gala last year with Albano and landed an internship with Kohl’s after speaking to a representative there. After she graduates, she will return to Kohl’s merchandise team and work with them full time.

“I wouldn’t have landed this job without the scholarship,” Flinchbaugh said. “This experience has opened many doors and allowed me to network with people in the industry I would not have had access to before.”

As for Albano, she’s looking at pursuing marketing sales or merchandising roles with a focus on fashion.

“This case study has shown me that I do love fashion and want a future in this field,” Albano said.

Koukova is confident Albano will join the mentoring program after she graduates and help students with academic and professional projects.

“(Albano is) very good in terms of following through on her projects and everything that she’s doing,” Koukova said. “She always asks for valuable feedback and looks to incorporate suggestions. She’s always been very positive and supportive of everything going on in the department of marketing.”

Albano recommends that anybody who is interested apply to the Fashion Scholarship Fund. She said she thinks even students who are not marketing majors like herself can apply and find success through the program.

Comment policy

Comments posted to The Brown and White website are reviewed by a moderator before being approved. Incendiary speech or harassing language, including comments targeted at individuals, may be deemed unacceptable and not published. Spam and other soliciting will also be declined.

The Brown and White also reserves the right to not publish entirely anonymous comments.

Leave A Reply