Yi Deng, a second-year graduate fashion design student, recently won the $25,000 merit-based Geoffrey Beene Design Scholarship for fashion design.
The Triangle: How does it feel to win the Geoffrey Beene Design Scholarship?
Yi Deng: It feels like dream, but a dream come true. I am very excited and even doubt if it is true.
TT: What was your reaction when you heard you won?
YD: Our dean and almost all the professors walked into the studio and the dean announced the news while we were in class. I was working on my sportswear pattern. When I heard this, I was so shocked. The first words I said were, “Are you sure this is not a mistake?” But after I saw the email from [the Council of Fashion Designers of America], I felt so happy and calm. I was much calmer than I thought I would be. Other than calling my family and friends, I went to the machine-knitting studio and started knitting my sportswear fabric. I can really feel and enjoy the moment when I am calm. And later when I went back home and told my family about this, they were so excited, even more excited than I was.
TT: Why did you choose fashion design? What is your favorite part of it?
YD: Actually, fashion design was not my major and my career choice before. My undergraduate major is finance and I had a master’s degree [in business administration]. After I graduated in 2009, I went back to Shanghai and worked in Ernst & Young as an auditor for one year. But fashion design had been my dream since I was a young girl. I used my spare time and learned drawing for three months and meanwhile I tried to apply to a fashion design school. It was so lucky for me to get the offer from Drexel. I quit my job, which made my colleagues and friends think I was crazy, and came to Drexel University. Everything happened so fast and my life and career changed totally within three months. For me, fashion design is what I always wanted to do, as both a hobby and a career. It is my passion. It is a process that my thoughts and concepts come to real life from flat. I can create the things I like and also things some other people may like and enjoy as part of their life.
TT: What are your future goals?
YD: First, find a good job. And later on, consider doing my own design.
TT: What would you like to do after graduation?
YD: I think after graduation I will try to find a job I like and can really learn from. After I get some experience, I will consider establishing my own business.
TT: A genie grants you three wishes. What are they?
YD: That my family will always be healthy, that great opportunities favor me, and that I will be wealthy enough to open a nursing home in China for the homeless and elderly beggars.
TT: What is the best part of Drexel?
YD: The best part of Drexel University is that it provides opportunities to people with different backgrounds to apply to graduate school, like our fashion design graduate program. Drexel is the only school I found that accepts students without fashion design backgrounds.
TT: What advice would you give to future fashion design majors?
YD: There is no right or wrong, no rigid rules or uniform judgment in this field. Pursue the things you really love and are good at.
Triangle Talks is a weekly column that highlights members of the Drexel community.