By  on September 4, 2014

NEW YORK — Anastasia Iafrate, a graduate of Kent State University, won the annual Supima Design Competition on Thursday, which carries a $10,000 prize.

“My career has officially started and it’s an amazing start,” Iafrate said backstage at the Pavilion at Lincoln Center. “It was unexpected, to be honest.”

For the competition, each finalist was asked to create a capsule collection of women’s eveningwear from premium Supima denims, knits, corduroys, twills and shirting fabrics.

“I loved working with the fabric,” said Iafrate, who graduated from Kent State with a bachelor of arts in fashion design. “It’s usually used for casualwear. You wouldn’t normally see it in eveningwear. So it was a challenge, and I took it and embraced it.”

In her five-piece capsule collection, “White Nights of St. Petersburg” — Iafrate was inspired by the beauty of the Russian city and the arctic circle twilight — the designer used color and detailing to enhance the fabric’s casual nature. She created knee-length dresses in coral corduroy and in black and purple twill, both with black stenciling, and three full-length gowns — purple denim with laser etching detail, salmon-colored knit with shoulder bow detail and a hand-stenciled printed shirting style with a draped center front bow.

Iafrate’s collection was chosen over lines from finalists Jenny Hoang of the Academy of Art University in San Francisco, David Lee of the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in Los Angeles, Ou Ma of New York’s Fashion Institute of Technology, Sharon Moon of the Rhode Island School of Design and Yuxi Bi of the Savannah College of Art and Design.

Supima, which designates an elite variety of pima cotton grown only in California and the Southwestern U.S., began the student design competition seven years ago.

“I am currently moving to New York and am looking for a job opportunity, so winning means the beginning of my career,” Iafrate said. “It means that people appreciate what I do. It’s a boost for my confidence and tells me that I’m on the right path.”

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