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New York’s elite gathers to honor Michael Strahan and other award recipients at major industry gala

Avon Dorsey
Jan, 18, 2017

On an unexpectedly warm and balmy winter night (January 12), the glittery fashion set headed to New York’s Grand Central Hyatt Ballroom, for an evening of dinner, dancing and educational donations! 

The Geoffrey Beene National Scholarship Awards Dinner celebrated 80 years of its Fashion Scholarship Fund and helping students to achieve their dreams of networking with industry professionals and working in the fashion industry. Throughout the night, the organization awarded nearly $1.5 million in scholarships to deserving students from various schools that included FIT (Fashion Institute of Technology), University of Pennsylvania, SCAD (Savannah College of Art and Design), Parsons School of Design and several other institutions.

The students had to submit graduate-level projects that proved their talent and eagerness to work in the fashion industry after graduating; 200+ students made submissions, yet only a handful scored the top prizes of $10,000. - $35,000. in individual scholarship money. 

Industry icons Fern Mallis and Simon Doonan, as well as Martha Stewart were in attendance, and movie star Kellan Lutz (from the Twilight film series) was on-hand to give special remarks at the ceremony. Super Bowl champion and television host Michael Strahan gave a rousing speech after accepting the Future of Fashion award for his debut in menswear, ‘Collection’ by Michael Strahan and MSX by Michael Strahan.   

Speaking on his accolades and being awarded, we caught up with Strahan about his winning perspective. 

ESSENCE: Michael, congrats on the award tonight, were you surprised when you found out about the news? 

MICHAEL: “I thought, ‘What has happened?! Have they lost their minds? [laughs jokingly] But truly -- in all honesty-- I was honored and surprised, and shocked! Fashion is a great business with a lot of great, creative people, and that’s what I love about it!” 

ESSENCE: What inspired you to become a men’s wear designer?

MICHAEL: “The inspiration for me was to be honest with myself and make things that I would basically wear. Things that I feel are not necessarily edgy, but classic and that you can look at in three years and see a picture of yourself and not say, ‘what was I thinking?’”

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ESSENCE: How does it make you feel when you see people wearing your clothes?  

MICHAEL: “Actually kind of awestruck [points to my Michael Strahan suit]. You look better in the clothes than I do [laughs jokingly]. And that’s what I love about it -- the ability to be creative, to have a concept or an idea, to develop it and then to see actual people wearing it, like you are tonight! That is the great thing about all of this! You need to be the model for us!” 

ESSENCE: Do you wear your own clothing? 

MICHAEL: “The things that I design are things that I wear myself everyday and things that I’m very proud to put on my back. And, I think if you’re really true to yourself, other people will appreciate that.”