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Annie Carson '19 at the 2017 YMA FSF gala in New York City Annie Carson '19 at the 2017 YMA FSF gala in New York City

Annie Carson, a junior fashion design major in the College of Visual and Performing Arts’ School of Design, was named one of eight 2018 National Merit Scholarship finalists by the YMA Fashion Scholarship Fund (FSF), an international nonprofit organization composed of influential members of the fashion industry.

Carson qualified for the National Merit Scholarship competition after winning a $5,000 YMA FSF scholarship in 2017 and being nominated by her faculty. One 2017 YMA FSF scholarship winner from each of the 60 YMA FSF member schools was eligible to compete in the National Merit Scholarship competition.

In early January, Carson will present the case study she submitted for the competition to the FSF Executive Committee, which will determine if she will be awarded $10,000 or $30,000. The announcement of Carson’s award level will be made on Jan. 9 at YMA FSF’s Annual Awards Gala in New York City.

All of the competitors’ case studies focus on the topic of emerging technologies that allow retailers to offer their customers an enhanced shopping experience. In addition to choosing one or more technologies, applicants were asked to choose a particular brick-and-mortar retailer that could benefit from the selected technology and demonstrate how it could be deployed in that retailer’s business. The judges, who are industry professionals, scored the applicants on the depth and relevance of their research, the creativity and feasibility of their ideas and the clarity with which they portrayed both.

Carson’s case study focused on Nordstrom and 3D body scanning; Optitex, fashion pattern-making software; and smart mirror technology.

“Together, the three technologies create a more interactive and easier in-store shopping experience and a custom dress shop named ‘Cut for You,’” says Carson. “The dress shop offers multiple tops and bottoms that can be mixed and matched together to create a perfect dress and fit for each customer.”

Founded in 1937, the FSF’s goal is to advance the fashion industry by encouraging gifted and enterprising young people to pursue careers in design, merchandising, retailing and business so the industry will continue to attract dedicated, capable and creative individuals.