Supima, the marketing brand for American-grown Pima cotton, recently held its 12th annual Supima Design Competition, a contest that scouts top talent from selective U.S. design schools. The runway show portion was hosted earlier this month in New York, and final collections will be presented during Paris Fashion Week, with the winning designer in attendance.
This year’s host, Blair Eadie, announced Gina (Zinan) Guo from Drexel University as the winner. Guo was selected by a panel comprised of industry judges and received a $10,000 cash prize, including exposure to top fashion industry executives, fashion press and influencers.
The 2019 finalists included: Andrew Kwon, Parsons School of Design; Illene Martoseno, Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising; Isabel Hajian, Rhode Island School of Design; Ishwari Vijh, The Fashion Institute of Technology; Linh La, Academy of Art University; Shuxian Kong, Kent State University, and Yoohyeon Kim, Savannah College of Art and Design.
Each participating university selects one graduating senior to represent the school as a finalist to compete and a mentor who works with their finalists throughout the design process, in addition to Supima’s design mentor, Bibhu Mohapatra, a CFDA Award-winning designer, who is working with the brand for the fifth consecutive year. Finalists are required to create five eveningwear looks with each type of Supima fabric: shirting, knit, velveteen, twill and denim, creating a five-look capsule collection. The competition culminates with a panel of judges comprised of professionals from the fashion and media world that collectively select the winner.
Buxton Midyette, vice president of marketing and promotions, Supima, told WWD, “This year’s group of young designers are so incredibly talented and detail-oriented. It’s amazing what they can do with our cotton. What started out as a small competition with four design schools has developed into an international showcase with eight schools and a partnership with the Hyères Festival. This format really challenges these emerging designers to be their most creative and inventive selves. What makes this competition so special is the opportunity for these gifted students to build their portfolios and differentiate themselves. We find this is key to opening doors for them to pursue their career path whether it is with a major design house or starting their own label.”
Mohapatra told WWD, “When these young designers are ready to go out to the market to look for a creative position at any company, it is our goal that they standout, because of this extra training and knowledge that they have gained from the competition. That is the real gift of this competition.”
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