Seihak Long, an Austin based student designer caught his star on April 15, 2016 as the recipient of this year’s $15,000.00 Grand Prize at the FGI Scholarship Competition 2016, the FortyFive Ten Scholarship in honor of Shelly Musselman and Shelly Musselman Design Award. This award was first established in 2011 in honor of Dallas’ fashion icon, the late Shelly Musselman. I was there when Jan Strimple produced one of the most memorable Runway shows in memoriam Forty Five Ten Boutique’s co-founder Shelly. As the former Regional Director of The Fashion Group of International of Dallas and the co-chair of the FGI Scholarship Competition in the past few years, this award is a big deal as a talented fashion design student is being recognized not just for creativity but the potential to become successful commercially. Brian Bolke at Forty Five Ten and Meredith Musselman, daughter of the late Shelly Musselman, they look for both signs of genius as they make their pick of the finalists each year.
“I was raised in an underdeveloped country, and I have encountered the challenges of not being able to go to school or even having a full meal. Poverty is an important issue that is deep in my heart, which has built me to become who I am today. By becoming a ecommerce for a charity organization, this will allow me to develop a company, an organization with the sole purpose of helping those in need. A company can be created with the fundamentals of business being based on a genuine and caring mission statement. I would love nothing more but to be able to work for or even create a company who sees the need in helping others more important than making money and ignoring the pleas of help from those who need it.”
I had a chance to interview Seihak Long, who is a Retail Merchandising and Apparel Design major at the University of Texas at Austin post winning exclusive to FashionScoop. As one of the judges of the garment entries, I assure you that his winning certainly is deserving because of his well-rounded ability in execution of complicated and ambitious designs. Frankly, he is very much an over-achiever and I adore over-achievers when I meet my own kind. Seihak has already done an internship in New York with Alexis Bittar, CFDA Award Jewelry Designer, no wonder each of his entry has its own accessory.
[JS]: How do you feel now after winning the Forty Five Ten Scholarship in honor of Shelly Musselman and Shelly Musselman Design Award?
[SL]: I am extremely honored to be part of the legacy that Musselman has established and it is an opportunity that will anchor me going forward as a designer. I was privileged to have been interviewed by Brian Bolke, former business partner with Shelly Musselman. And special thanks to Chuck Steelman, Jenny Siede, Khanh Nguyen at Nha Khanh and all the volunteers.
[JS] Were you nervous at the award show?
[SL]: Yes, I was really nervous and stressed out because at the same time I was organizing a showroom, coordinating models, and doing backstage work for the University of Texas Fashion Show, but an ending like this made it all worthwhile.
[JS]: I also like your entries in the Jenny Siede Digital Marketing Award category, do you think having a solid digital technical background is important as a designer?
[SL]: Today as we get into the digital age, it is really important for a designer to produce digitally. The industry requires you to use CAD over hand drawings, and not having those skills will make a designer less efficient. It only helps to communicate your creativity and help it grow.
[JS]: You’ve mentioned that you find inspirations from Architecture. Is there a certain architecture that appeals to you more? Can you give us an example?
[SL]: In general, I am inspired by classical architecture, specifically the Duomo di Firenze by Brunelleschi. Brunelleschi modernized the dome in his time by recreating the technology to make a dome. Fashion can take from any story, and it just so happens that architecture is both functional and sculptural in the way fashion is.
[JS]: In which country you were raised before settling in Austin Texas?
[SL]: I was raised in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, but my mother brought me and my two brothers to America where we could get an education and have opportunity all on her own. Although my family might wish that fashion wasn’t my career, I still push forward to be the best designer I can be.
[JS]: What’s the ONE thing you will tell next year’s students when it comes to competing for the coveted FGI Scholarship Grand Prize?
[SL]: When everything feels like it’s falling apart, just keep pushing forward and there will be someone there to believe in you and give you hope.