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Kayla Garb Named Fashion Scholarship Recipient

Sy Syms Honors Student Awarded $5,000 and Career-Building Perks

Kayla Garb, a first-year honors student at YU’s Sy Syms School of Business, has been named a YMA Fashion Scholarship winner by the YMA Fashion Scholarship Fund (FSF). Winners receive $5,000 toward their education expenses and are up for consideration for an additional award, the National Merit Scholarship, worth $30,000.


In addition to the monetary award, Garb, of Teaneck, New Jersey, will be given access to valuable internship opportunities to jumpstart her career, as well as connection to a fashion industry mentor. She is also invited to attend the FSF Awards Gala which will be held January 9 at the Marriott Marquis hotel. Garb is looking forward to attending the festivities. “It is going to be a great opportunity to meet like-minded people from the fashion world and from other schools. I am also really happy to bring about a kiddush hashem by being there,” she said.

Fashion has long been a passion of Garb’s and over time she developed that into a career path. “I have always been interested in fashion, partly because I love art and saw it as wearable art,” she noted. “As I have gotten older, I have become more interested in the science and business of fashion, such as marketing, retail and trend forecasting. I pursued these interests by doing an internship at Esti's, a high-end clothing store in Brooklyn; a summer program at FIT (Fashion Institute of Technology); and a summer internship at Nue by Shani, a brand known for their shape-wear dresses. In the future, I would love to work in the business world of fashion, or anything that incorporates analytical thinking and creativity.”

Competitors for the scholarship submitted case studies which they developed with their faculty advisers. Garb, a marketing major and art minor, submitted a proposal for an in-store concept aimed at increasing sales. She was advised on her submission by Dr. Gabriela Coiculescu, assistant professor of finance at Sy Syms.

Coiculescu explained the objective for each submission was to explore how digital technology can be combined with the traditional retail model in order to improve performance for a specific retailer. Garb chose J. Crew as her sample subject, with a focus on the chain’s basics line. In her case study, each store would stock only samples of clothing items on its sales floor. When a shopper wants to try the clothing, they scan the QR code with an app developed for the store and an employee brings the item in the shopper’s chosen size to the dressing room. This new approach to shopping would mean the sales floor is less cluttered and the clothing is less likely to be damaged because it is not handled as much. Garb’s proposal included moving the point of sale to the dressing room, having shoppers pay there using NFC (near field communication, which allows devices such as smartphones and tablets to talk with other devices in close range) and also giving them the option to have their purchases delivered directly to their homes.

“My role was to guide Kayla in making the final touches to the financial plan that accompanied the proposal,” Coiculescu said. “Kayla came to me with a very well developed and articulate proposal, and I have to say that I learned a lot about the fashion and retail industry from reading her case study. Kayla is a very talented student, who has the potential to succeed in any future career she chooses. I hope that the FSF scholarship will open many opportunities for her.”

Michael Strauss, interim dean of Sy Syms, said that the school is proud of Garb, who is “smart, committed and focused” in her passion for the fashion industry. He is glad, he added, that a student of her caliber has embraced the program at Sy Syms and looks forward to continuing to coach and advise her on her career aspirations.

For more information about the YMA FSF scholarship, please contact Melanie Zuckerman at Yeshiva University will be recruiting students to participate in the competition in spring 2018.