NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 07:  Designer Alyssa Wardrop, Fashion Institute of Technology backstage at Supima Design Competition SS18 runway show during New York Fashion Week at Pier 59 on September 7, 2017 in New York City.  (Photo by Brian Ach/Getty Images for Supima Design Competition)


FIT TO WIN: Yesterday the annual Supima Design Competition celebrated its 10th anniversary at Pier 59 Studios in New York. Partnering with top U.S. fashion design schools, Supima — an organization promoting Supima cotton — had each school nominate one of its most impressive graduating seniors as a finalist.

Each of the seven selected designers was provided fabric from Supima’s partners (Brooks Brothers, Uniqlo and Albini, among others). Armed with the textiles — as well as a faculty mentor — the student finalists were encouraged to create women’s eveningwear capsule collections intended to emphasize the distinctive characteristics of Supima cotton.

Judges included editors from leading publications and industry veterans, who based their decisions on originality, execution, as well as the designs ability to best showcase the luxury of Supima cotton. The winner was promised a $10,000 cash prize. At the show’s end, guest judge June Ambrose announced Alyssa Wardrop of the Fashion Institute of Technology as the contest winner.

NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 07: (L-R) Winner Alyssa Wardrop, FIT and June Ambrose attend Supima Design Competition SS18 runway show during New York Fashion Week at Pier 59 on September 7, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by JP Yim/Getty Images for Supima Design Competition)

Winner Alyssa Wardrop, FIT, with host June Ambrose. JP Yim/Getty Images  Getty Images

Backstage, Ambrose commented on how important the mentorship and support of an event like this provides emerging talent in the industry. “This event gives these designers the support they need to catapult, to launch and to sustain,” she said. “It really helps them develop their craft and gives them the support, resources and access they need.”

The competition’s designer mentor Bibhu Mohapatra reflected on how proud he was of each of the designers, calling them “the future of this industry.” Watching the designers grow throughout the process, he said, stirred him emotionally and he stressed the importance of having this sort of medium for generations to come. “With this experience, the designers get a taste of what it will be like when they go out into the market,” he said. “This is an amazing platform.”

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