Fashion Scholarship Fund Case Study Competition (UCLA Nomination) -- Businesss Strategy

The Fashion Scholarship Fund Case Study Competition covers (1) Business Strategy, (2) Design and Product Development, (3) Merchandising or (4) Marketing. Nominees eventually complete a roughly 20-slide presentation in only one of the four categories mentioned above for the national competition, to which UCLA (one of 66 member schools) nominates contestants. The topic of this year’s case study is the intersection of digital technology and fashion.

Applicants to the national competition, which has a deadline of October 24, must first receive a UCLA nomination from the Center for Scholarships and Scholar Enrichment by doing the following:

(1) sign up for an account and create a profile asap in the FSF Wizehive Portal: Take that critical step asap, as the first thing you do. Fashion industry recruiters review profiles in the Wizehive Portal when looking for potential internship candidates. You do not need to win an FSF Scholarship in order to be considered for such an opportunity.
(2) submit a current resume
(3) submit a 250-word essay that identifies the top five FSF “Named Scholarships” to which you wish to apply (
(3a) if (and only if) you are an international student, submit an additional 250-word essay on what it would mean to you as an international student to become an FSF Scholar
(3b) if (and only if) you are a student of Black, African American or African descent who would like to apply for the FSF Virgil Abloh “Post-Modern” Scholarship, submit an
additional 250-word essay on why the Virgil Abloh “Post-Modern” Scholarship mission is important to you ( and what you
would like the team carrying on Virgil’s mission to know about you, including relevant personal and fashion-related experiences
(4) upload a 90-second video regarding your backgound and any experiences that make your situation unique, why you have chose your particular case study discipline, as well as your interest in the fashion industry and career aspirations
(5) upload a slide deck summarizing your overall case study premise, outline and plan for completion (at least three slides total)
(6) upload an unofficial UCLA or community college transcript
(7) provide the best cell phone number to reach you in case the Center for Scholarships & Scholar Enrichment needs to contact you regarding your application

Please see below for guidance on the format of the full case study slide deck for the national competition (17-21 slides).



▪ Rising full-time sophomore, junior or senior for AY 2024-25 (except rising seniors must be graduating no sooner than Spring of 2025)
▪ Must demonstrate a desire to pursue a career in fashion


2025 Fashion Scholarship Fund Case Study
The Intersection of Digital Technology and Fashion
Business Strategy

ACCESS THE MAGAZINE FORMAT* OF THE CASE STUDY (which includes slide deck examples) HERE:

How can fashion brands and retailers integrate AI to improve the ecommerce experience?

Fashion exists in an environment where digital technology is changing rapidly (Pastore, 2023a — see bibliography at end of document). The use of artificial intelligence (AI), in which machines complete traditionally human tasks, is expected to play an increasingly pivotal role in fashion and business strategy. Artificial Intelligence (AI) can be used to advance a brand/retailer’s goals in a variety of manners, ranging from enabling automated checkout to asset creation and customer engagement (Clark, 2023). According to WWD, “Companies that build a strong foundation of AI by adopting and scaling it now, where the technology is mature and delivers clear value, will be better positioned to reinvent, compete and achieve new levels of performance.” Additionally, according to Paul Daughtery of Accenture Technology, “Over the next decade, AI will be a mega-trend, transforming industries, companies, and the way we live and work, as generative AI transforms 40 percent of all working hours” (Pastore, 2023a). Yet alongside rapt interest and early exploration, the fashion industry is only at the cusp of
AI integration.

Early adopters of AI are exploring applications to apply throughout business practices, for instance:

● Martha Stewart is connecting her lifestyle products and services to AI through Martha AI, a tool to help consumers answer their home and living queries in real-time, almost as if Martha was standing next to them (Belgum, 2023).
● H&M is using AI within Snapchat to explore the audience’s preferred filters and assess the desirability of digital fashion (Lee, 2022).
● Bloomingdales recently partnered with Lily AI to easily apply a variety of attributes to broad product ranges, making it easier to search and filter one’s entire inventory by any attribute (Lily AI, 2023).

Your Role

You are the Vice President of Ecommerce at a brand/retailer of your choice. You are responsible for developing your brand/retailer’s ecommerce strategy to drive performance. You must connect your ecommerce strategy to the brand mission and corporate vision. As VP of Ecom, you must institute solution-oriented strategies that will advance the functionality and consumer experience online. Currently, your goal is to make systemic improvements to your brand’s ecommerce activities through integrating AI technology.

Objective: Advance the integration of artificial intelligence in fashion ecommerce

Your objective is to develop an ecommerce AI strategy for an existing brand or retailer of your choice. The brand/retailer that you select should be generally well-known. The brand that you chose must be a fashion apparel, accessories, footwear, home, beauty, or health & wellness brand. It is suggested that you choose a company that is publicly traded so that information regarding the company is easily accessible.

Within your hypothetical role as the VP of Ecommerce, you are seeking to improve efficiency and create a stronger customer connection utilizing artificial intelligence. Specifically, you would like to advance site merchandising, consumer interactions, and management of omni-channel inventory. You are tasked with identifying an AI solution for one of these areas of opportunity.

Faced with new opportunities for the application of AI in fashion, you will develop an AI initiative that addresses one of the areas of ecommerce opportunity. Your initiative should be innovative yet obtainable. It may build upon existing technologies used by the company or present an entirely new technological initiative. Your initiative may introduce a new process, technology, or tool that enables the business to interact, sell, or manage inventory efficiently.

Submission Format

Case studies should be submitted as a 17-21 page slide deck including title, appendices, and references. The slide deck should be in landscape orientation, with slides sized for on-screen show 4:3 or 16:9 display (approx. 10” x 7.5”).

Submission files can be created in any software of the applicant’s choosing, such as PowerPoint, Keynote, Adobe InDesign, Illustrator etc. However, all cases must be submitted in a flat PDF format without video or sound.

Required Content

Section 1: General Introduction (2-3 Slides)

Title Slide. Must be the first page/slide of the deck. Include: title, case study discipline (Business Strategy), and one sentence summary of your strategic business pitch. Do NOT include any identifying information (name, school, etc.).
Executive Summary. Cover all components of your case study to provide the essence of your case study without the fine details in paragraph format, no longer than 350 words.
Optional Table of Contents. Outline sections of your case study.

Section 2: Brand Introduction (2-3 Slides)

Brand/Retailer Introduction. Introduce your chosen brand/retailer. Provide relevant information so readers understand relevant product, channel, distribution, and/or communication strategies.
Current Strategies. Assess the company’s current strategies related to digital technological and ecommerce. Include recent activities relating to AI. Specifically, address the problem/challenge you seek to address with your AI initiative.
o Competitive Analysis. Research similar or advanced technology strategies pursued by competitors and aspirational brands. Evaluate the successes and opportunities presented by
these existing business cases.
o SWOT Analysis. Identify relevant strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats of your brand/retailer. Focus on areas that may relate to your initiative. For instance, if focusing
on a supply chain initiative to support ecommerce, identify strengths and weaknesses of the brand’s current supply chain strategy.

Section 3: Research (2-3 Slides)

Technology and Ecommerce Drivers. Address evolving technology and ecommerce trends in the fashion industry or related industries. Consider trends that may influence your initiative.
Market Research. Summarize key findings from your research regarding the evolving fashion industry. This may include insights on competitors, consumers, and industry-wide trends.
Impact. Demonstrate how this research highlights a gap in the market and/or an AI/ecommerce opportunity for your chosen brand/retailer. Tie together the research about the brand/retailer’s market, consumer, and/or digital strategies.

Section 4: Strategic AI Initiative (4-5 Slides)

Strategic Objective. Introduce the specific objective of your AI Strategy. This may include friction points you want to solve for or specific goals that you seek to achieve. It will also include intended outcomes.
o Your strategy may seek to attract new clients, improve the user experience, or advance other components of the site. Consider questions such as:
▪ (1) How do I get people to the site? How will I engage new clients?
▪ (2) How do I create the strongest user experience (e.g., the cart, payment, visual merchandising, search bar, etc.)?
Key Performance Indicators. Clearly present the intended benefits to the business. Address what key performance indicators (KPIs) you seek to impact. Include at least 3 KPIs.
o Explain your rationale for identifying these as your key indicators of success.
o Explain how the KPIs will be used to measure the initiative’s success. Include numeric goals, such as a total financial target or percent change.
o Examples of KPIs include financial measures (e.g., cost, sales, profit) and customer adoption (e.g., traffic, conversion).
AI Ecommerce Initiative. Introduce your AI initiative intended to achieve your overarching objective. Address how you may advance site merchandising, on-site consumer interactions, or management of omni-channel inventory for your chosen brand/retailer.
o Present the details of how your initiative would be integrated for the brand. This may align with existing strategies and processes or be an entirely new integration.
Technology Introduction. Provide an introduction of the specific AI technology that will be utilized within your initiative. Explain how the technology can be utilized to support brand/retail strategies, with focus on ecommerce.
o If utilizing a specific software or tool to support your AI initiative, introduce the capabilities of the software/tool.
o If relevant and available, provide an use-case example of a current brand/retailer using a technology that is the same or similar.

Section 5: Integration Roadmap (3-4 Slides)

Development and Launch. Develop an integration roadmap to address the various stages of development and launch for your new AI initiative. Include a specific timeline and milestones.
○ You may use the Identify, Design/Define, Develop/Test implement framework. Alternatively, you may address specific tasks and stages such as research and development,
manufacturing, transit, and launch.
Targeting. Address the specific product categories, consumers, and distribution channels that will be affected by your AI ecommerce strategy.
Financial Investment. Summarize the estimated financial cost or investment required to launch your proposed initiative.
○ Explain the breakdown of financial investments aligned with integration. For instance, is there a major investment in tools, technology, and/or resources for the company? Or does it
utilize resources the company (most likely) already has?
○ Consider if costs are recurring or one-time only investments.

Section 6: Potential Risks (1 Slide)

Risk Assessment. Address the potential risks involved in the execution of your strategic initiative. As suitable to your initiative, emphasize non-financial risks such as integration and execution challenges, learning curve for use, customer use scenarios, and impact to brand reputation.
o You may choose to balance your risk assessment with comparable consideration of rewards. This may include the reverberating reward for the total business.

Section 7: Plans to Scale (1-2 Slides)

Future Growth. As the integration of AI in fashion continues to advance, consider how you will scale your initiative over time. Specifically, outline your plans for growth if your initiative is
successful. This may relate to growing this initiative or may address your overarching objective with another process or tool.

Section 8: Conclusion & References (2-4 Slides)
Use the final slides for your conclusion, bibliography, and any footnotes.

Conclusion. Your conclusion should be your final statement expressing the importance and relevance of your idea for the brand you have selected and the industry. This may utilize a traditional recap approach, touching on key points, or you may utilize creative storytelling to instill understanding and importance.
o Your conclusion should address the objectives of your AI ecommerce strategy, the specific technology to be used, and the intended business impact.
References. All text references should be properly formatted using a format such as APA, Harvard, or Chicago style. Images may be cited with the source name listed under the image on each page, such as “Vogue” or “WWD”. Alternatively, image citations may be provided in a separate list with web addresses only.

Section 9: Appendix (3-5 slides)

Optional. Use the appendix to present additional, supplemental ideas that support your project concept.

General Guidelines

Do not include your name or college/university affiliation on the title page or anywhere in the case study as the review process is anonymous.

No specific font or format will be enforced. You are encouraged to utilize visuals throughout your presentation. It is advisable to not overload each slide with information, and to keep your presentation concise and to the point: each slide should take no more than 1-2 minutes to absorb by the reader.

Do not exceed the page limit. Ensure your content connects from section to section to tell the story you are trying to convey. This is the first time judges will be exposed to your case study and they should be able to fully interpret your intended plans.

All references should be included within a references/bibliography page at the end of your slide deck or annotated in footnotes visible within the slide. Do not use hyperlinks in a footnote as the content cannot be accessed once the case study is uploaded.

Be sure to proofread your case study. Points will be deducted for not following format directions, as well as for grammar and spelling errors.

AI Disclosure

You may use AI programs (e.g. ChatGPT) for brainstorming and help in generating ideas. However, note that the material generated by these programs may be inaccurate, incomplete, or otherwise problematic. You may not submit any work generated by an AI program as your own. If you include material generated by an AI program, it should be properly cited like any other reference material.

Eligibility Requirements

● You must be a full-time sophomore, junior, or senior.
● You must be graduating no earlier than Spring 2025.
● You must demonstrate a desire to pursue a career in fashion.
● To receive on-campus support, you must be enrolled in an FSF member school.

Required Documents for Submission:

1) Completed FSF Case Study
2) Current Resume
3) Current Unofficial Transcription
4) New for 2025 Prepare an (approximately) 90 second video containing your responses to the following prompts:
• Explain why you have decided to select your case study discipline.
• Tell us about your interest in the fashion industry and career aspirations.
• Tell us about your background and any experiences that make your situation unique.
5) Required for all applicants: Please submit a 250-word maximum written response identifying the top five Named Scholarships you’re most interested in applying for, and why.
IN ADDITION: If you are an international student only: Submit a 250-word maximum response to address the following question:
• As an international student, what would it mean to you to become an FSF Scholarship recipient?
IN ADDITION: If you are a Virgil Abloh™ “Post-Modern” Scholarship applicant: The mission of the Virgil Abloh™ “Post-Modern” Scholarship Fund is to foster equity and inclusion
within the fashion industry by providing scholarships to students of academic promise of Black, African American, or African descent. Mr. Abloh named the fund “Post-Modern” to
represent that recipients will not only receive funds, but will also be given access to vital career support services and mentoring. Submit a 250-word maximum response to the
following question:
• Please explain why Virgil Abloh’s™️ “Post-Modern” Scholarship mission is important to you. What would like the team carrying on Virgil’s mission to know about you?
We encourage you to tell us about relevant personal and fashionrelated experiences.

Judging Criteria

Your case will be reviewed by industry professionals including the FSF Board of Governors, FSF Mentors, and FSF Alumni. Judges will use the following criteria to score your case:

Creativity & Feasibility (40%)

• Is the applicant’s idea unique, inspiring, and innovative?
• Is the applicant’s idea well-thought-out and conceivably executable?
• Is the applicant’s idea clearly connected to the selected brand?

Research & Development (40%)

• Has the applicant researched the selected brand/ retailer, demonstrating depth of knowledge of the company’s activities and competitive positioning as relevant to the presented concept?
• Has the applicant conducted thorough research regarding the retail landscape and the attitudes, behaviors, and lifestyle traits of the intended consumer?
• Has the applicant presented their research and business strategy in a manner that is clear and supports the overall strategy?
• Has the applicant developed an innovative AI strategy, supported by research, that will increase the brand’s relevancy in the future of fashion?
• Has the applicant addressed how consumers will be impacted by their proposed strategy?
• Has the applicant identified KPIs that align with their project goals and clearly explained why these KPIs are important?

Clarity (15%)

• Does the scholar display strong business acumen and common sense?
• Does the applicant’s case follow logical development and a clear structure; is it easy to follow and summarize?
• Did the applicant clearly complete each portion of their prompt?

Format (5%)

• Did the applicant use correct grammar and spelling?
• Did the applicant include a title page with one sentence to summarize the case?
• Was the applicant’s name and school kept anonymous?

Deadlines and Announcement of Competition Results

February 1, 2024: Wizehive, the digital platform used for FSF case study submissions will open. Your FSF faculty member will provide you with the Wizehive link. Complete the Applicant Profile on Wizehive to participate in FSF Summer Scholar Series which will run from June – August 2024 (see details below). October 14, 2024: Submit all required materials on Wizehive BEFORE 8:59 AM Pacific Time (11:59 AM Eastern Time) to avoid any issues with submission. The Wizehive portal will close PROMPTLY at 9:00 AM Pacific Time (12:00 PM Eastern Time). Be sure to allow sufficient time to upload all required documents (i.e., case study, resume, unofficial transcript, video) – the Wizehive submission portal will close automatically at the scheduled time even if an upload is still in progress. If all documents are not fully uploaded, your submission will not be received by the FSF. Please contact Katie Simone, FSF Program Manager, at who will help rectify any submissions that are incomplete. You will receive a Confirmation of Submission to your Wizehive homepage that your submission process was completed. Mid-December 2024: The Scholarship competition results will be announced in midJanuary. Results will be sent to the FSF faculty member at your school. Your FSF faculty member will share the results with you. If you are applying from a school without an FSF Educator, you will be contacted by the FSF team to be notified of the results. Additionally, results will be posted to the FSF website. Following the announcement of results, you will receive a Welcome Letter from the FSF.

Attend the Summer Scholar Series

This program consists of workforce preparedness courses and master classes from industry experts on relevant topics and current challenges of the industry. We equip Scholars, Scholar Applicants, and Alumni for their future internships or full-time job opportunities.

Supporting Materials

Additional resources are available for all case study tracks in the FSF Student Resources Dropbox folder.

Ready to Get Started?

To start your research, reference the following articles.

AlixPartners. (2023). ‘Fail Fast and Fail Forward’ When Implementing AI into Workflows. WWD.

Bain, M. (2023). Generative AI Won’t Be the End of Human Fashion Designers. The Business of Fashion.

Bain, M. (2023). The Complete Playbook for Generative AI in Fashion. The Business of Fashion.

Behance. (n.d.) 3d fashion.

Belgum, D. (2023). Martha Stewart Entering AI Arena With ‘Ask Martha’. WWD.

Bell, J. (2023). Searching for Fit With AI. WWD.

BOLT. (2023). How AI and Web3 Are Shaping Fashion’s Future. BOF Professional Summit.

Center for Humane Technology (2023, March) The A.I. Dilemma.

Clark, E. (2023). Episode 27: AI’s Arrival, In Retail and the World. WWD Voices.

Feitelberg, R. (2023). Tory Burch and Christopher John Rogers Talk AI, Creativity and Social Media. WWD.

Hickman, M. (2023). How AI Is Helping Retailers Right-size Inventory. WWD.

Lee, A. (2022). H&M Group is about to go Big with AI. WWD.

Lee, A. (2023a). Amazon Juices Shopping With Generative AI Summary of Reviews. WWD.

Lee, A. (2023b). Amazon Sees Itself Driving Generative AI in Retail. WWD.

Lee, A. (2023c). Generative AI’s Implications in Fashion. WWD.

Lee, A. (2023d). Shopify on Its New AI-powered Direction. WWD.

Lee, A. (2023e). What Brands Need to Know About Generative AI. WWD.

Lee, A. (2023f). What to Know About Google’s AI Apparel Try-on. WWD.

Lee, A. (2023g). What to Watch: Fashion, Retail Tackle AI. WWD.

Lobad, N. (2023a). Charlotte Tilbury Combines AI and Artistry for New App Launch.

Lobad, M. (2023b). How Generative AI Will Shape the Face of the Beauty Industry. WWD.

Manso, J. (2023). How Beauty Executives Are Leveraging AI. Beauty Inc.

Medieros, J. (2018). Here’s How North Face Boosted Conversions Using AI. Modev.

Moin, D. (2023). Lily AI Appoints Its First-ever President. WWD.

Pastore, A. (2023a). Accenture Announces $3 Billion Investment in AI. WWD.

Pastore, A. (2023b). AI Could Be Crucial for Customer Engagement, Verint Study Claims. WWD.

Pastore, A. (2023c). Consumer Sentiment Around Generative AI Remains Challenging. WWD.

Richford, R. (2023). What Will AI Mean for Fashion? WWD.

Salesforce, Inc. (2023). 1 in 6 Shoppers Have Used Generative AI for Purchase Inspiration – Salesforce Report.

Salesforce: News & Insights.

Signals. (2023). Commerce in the age of generative AI. Mastercard Labs.

Talwar, K. (2023a). Despite Data Concerns, Most Are Welcoming AI Integration. WWD.

Talwar, K. (2023b). New Research Reveals the Potential of Commerce in the Age of Generative AI. WWD.

Weil, J. (2023). Generative AI Will Make Over the Beauty Industry. Beauty Inc.

Zaczkiewicz, A. (2023). Klarna, OpenAI Partner on AI-powered Shopping Experience. WWD.

UCLA Nomination to National FSF Competition (Minimum $7,500 national award plus award gala in NYC, possible internship & mentorship opportunities)
Supplemental Questions
  1. Have you signed up for an account and created a profile in the FSF Wizehive Portal? *That needs to be the very first thing you do as an applicant, without delay*: Fashion industry recruiters review the Wizehive Portal profiles for potential internship candidates. You do not need to win an FSF Scholarship in order to be contacted regarding an internship.
  2. Please upload a current resume that focuses on your key experiences and skills with relevance to your interest in business strategy and the fashion industry.
  3. Please identify the top five FSF "Named Scholarships" to which you wish to apply: Why have you selected each of those five opportunities? Why do they align with your own background, interests and goals?
  4. *If* you are an international student, what it would mean to you, as an international student, to become an FSF Scholar?
  5. *If* you are a student of Black, African American or African descent who would like to apply for the FSF Virgil Abloh "Post-Modern" Scholarship, why is the Virgil Abloh "Post-Modern" Scholarship mission ( important to you? What would you like the team carrying on Virgil's mission to know about you, including relevant personal and fashion-related experiences?
  6. Upload a 90-second video regarding your backgound and any experiences that make your situation unique. Why have you chosen your particular case study discipline? What is the nature of your interest in the fashion industry and what are your career aspirations? If you cannot upload the video, please just upload a document stating that, and email the video to Provide a Dropbox link or similar in the email if necessary.
  7. Please upload a slide deck summarizing your overall case study premise, outline and plan for completion (at least three slides total) in the Business Strategy category.
  8. Please upload an unofficial copy of your UCLA or community college transcript.
  9. Please provide the best cell phone number (nine digits with no dashes, spaces or parentheses) for the UCLA Center for Scholarships and Scholar Enrichment to contact you regarding your scholarship if necessary.
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