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Tim and Johnny Belk Honored at Annual FIT Gala

Cheri Fein, executive director, Public and Media Relations
press@fitnyc.edu or 212.217.4700
FIT Students Miguel Pena and Sarah Jing Jing Xu Named Winners in Competition To Design Garments Inspired by Belk’s New Branding  

Thomas M. (Tim) Belk, Jr., chairman and chief executive officer of Belk, Inc., and John R. (Johnny) Belk, president and chief operating officer of Belk, Inc., were honored by the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) and FIT’s Educational Foundation for the Fashion Industries (EFFI) at the college’s annual benefit gala, One Family, One Company, One College Make a Difference, on Wednesday, May 11 at Cipriani in New York City. Belk, Inc. is the nation’s largest privately owned department store group, with 305 Belk stores located in 16 southern states.

FIT celebrated the Belks’ outstanding leadership and achievements in retailing before an audience of approximately 500.  The event raised $1.4 million to benefit FIT’s Educational Development Fund, which assists the college with scholarships, technology, and student services, among other priorities.

FIT President Joyce F. Brown and FIT trustee and EFFI chair Jay H. Baker welcomed guests. Bruce Rockowitz, president, Li & Fung (Trading) Ltd., the principal operating subsidiary of the Li & Fung group, presented the awards. Musicians Joe Firstman and Mark Bryan from Hootie and the Blowfish entertained.

 “We are honored to have Tim and Johnny Belk here in New York City,” said President Brown. “Belk, Inc. represents the finest in family-owned companies, in this case three generations’ worth. Belk has been providing its customers with the garments, products, and service they need and want for almost 125 years. This is a true success story, and we are delighted to salute it tonight.”

As a special feature of this year’s gala, FIT students majoring in Fashion Design were challenged to design sportswear and special occasion looks for spring 2012, inspired by the color palette and tagline (Modern. Southern. Style.) of the new corporate identity launched by Belk, Inc. last October. Four finalists in each category were selected from a field of 25 by a panel of judges from Belk. Belk judges then chose Miguel Pena as the winner in the sportswear category. Johnny Belk presented Pena with a check for $2,500. Pena’s garment will be manufactured and sold in Belk stores, with an in-store target date of spring 2012.  

 Miguel Pena's winning sketch  Sata Jing Jing Xu's winning sketch
Sketch of the winning Sportswear garment, designed by Miguel Pena    
Sketch of the winning Special Occasion garment, designed by Sarah Jing Jing Xu

The winner in the special occasion category was selected by the dinner guests, who voted on the finalists’ sketches and mood boards, which were on display.  Sarah Jing Jing Xu was named the winner and also received a check for $2,500 from Belk.

About Belk
Charlotte, NC-based Belk, Inc. (www.belk.com) has 305 Belk stores located in 16 southern states. The company was founded in 1888 by William Henry Belk in Monroe, NC, and is in the third generation of Belk family leadership. Its Belk.com website offers a wide assortment of fashion apparel, shoes, and accessories for the entire family, along with top-name cosmetics, a wedding registry, and a large selection of quality merchandise for the home.
 
FIT and The Educational Foundation for the Fashion Industries
FIT, a leader in professional career-oriented education, is a selective college of art and design, business and technology of the State University of New York (SUNY), with 46 majors leading to the AAS, BFA, BS, MA, MFA, and MPS degrees. The college serves more than 10,000 students and offers courses in a wide range of fields. Visit www.fitnyc.edu.

Organized in 1944, The Educational Foundation for the Fashion Industries is a private foundation that serves as a fundraising and advisory body to FIT. Its membership includes leaders from management in fashion and related industries, who also offer expertise and opportunities to students.
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