Fashion Student Earns Top CFDA Design Scholar Award

VCUarts Fashion Design senior X’avier Alexander has earned the top Design Scholar Award from the Council of Fashion Designers of America.

Of 340 applications, Alexander earned the top award of $50,000 for his collection, “Who You Be.” The award was made possible through a CFDA donation by Eddie Bauer, and it goes directly toward Alexander’s tuition and studio/material expenses.

The scholarship comes in recognition of Alexander’s eight-piece “Who You Be” womenswear collection. His work explores Black self-representation and identity in the United States through the lens of consumerism as false empowerment.

“My collection solely focused on this idea of consumerism and how there is a false sense of empowerment through the consumption of luxury goods,” Alexander said. “[It] tells the story about our origins of royalty, being stripped away of that and having to turn to materialistic things for a sense of self-worth, and then showing you what the future holds if we decide to not only invest properly but also understand who we are as people.”

“Who You Be”:
Alexander’s award-winning eight-piece collection

The competition included students from CFDA schools including Parsons New School for Design, The Fashion Institute of Technology, Marist College, and the University of Texas Austin, among others.

“X’avier competed alongside the best student design talent from the top design schools,” said Deidra Arrington, chair of Fashion Design + Merchandising at VCUarts. “His win is the largest award received by any VCUarts Fashion student during our time as members of the CFDA and elevates the reputation of VCUarts Fashion.”

For Alexander, this scholarship represents an opportunity to further extend the reach of his work. 

“The ultimate goal with my work is to bring these conversations to the forefront in unique ways,” he said. “To challenge people to think above the surface level, and to actually implement change for people of color. I have a long journey ahead, but I am appreciative of this stepping stone within my journey.”