NEW YORK — Supima has named the eight finalists for its annual Design Competition, selected from four of the country’s top fashion-design schools, who will present their collections at Lincoln Center during Mercedes-Benz New York Fashion Week in September.

This story first appeared in the July 25, 2012 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

This is the fifth year that Supima, the promotional organization of the American Pima cotton growers, will stage the competition featuring two students from the Fashion Institute of Technology, the Rhode Island School of Design, the Savannah College of Art and Design and the Pratt Institute.

FIT’s participants are Kyle Phillip Edmund Pearson, an Easton, Conn., native who graduated in May with a bachelor of fine arts in fashion design and a specialization in eveningwear and bridal, and Yvonne Luong of Madison, Wis., who also graduated in May with a B.F.A. in fashion design and a specialization in special occasion. Pearson’s specialty is the art of corsetry and corset construction. His inspiration for the Supima capsule collection comes from what he sees as a shift in global power from Western to Eastern society. Luong hopes to “make and drape one-of-a-kind dresses and at the same time not starve.” The inspiration for her collection comes from the aurora borealis and is an exploration of creating art through coloring techniques and fabric manipulation.

Representing RISD is Atlanta’s Abbey Glass, who graduated with a B.F.A. in apparel design, and Jacqueline Siefert of Naugatuck, Conn., who graduated in May with a B.F.A. in apparel design and a concentration in history of visual art and culture. Glass plans to use desert pastel colors, Western tailoring and inspirations from a recent trip through Idaho to create her collection. Siefert is drawing inspiration from a mixture of natural structures and Baroque elements of the Piazza Navona in Rome.

Finalists from SCAD are Madrid native Eduardo Labohemia Calvo, who graduated with a fashion design major and business minor, and Natalia Yepes from Pereira, Colombia, who graduated in May with a B.F.A. in fashion design, and specialized in women’s ready-to-wear. Calvo aims for his collection to “embody elegance and femininity” without “superfluous bells and whistles.” He won Lifetime’s “Project Runway” Scholarship Design Competition, for which he designed a couture candy garment for Dylan’s Candy Bar in New York City. Yepes is inspired by architecture and will include her hallmark details such as embroidery, beading and fabric painting and printing in her collection.

The student winners from Pratt are Kate Wilkoff of Cabin John, Md., who graduated in May with a B.F.A. in fashion design, and Massachusetts native Meredith Lyon, who specializes in women’s sportswear with an emphasis on designing separates and dresses with basic silhouettes. Wilkoff is inspired by architecture that is affected by natural deconstruction processes, such as rust and decay. Lyon found inspiration from the beauty found in the “birds and bird ladies that reside in New York parks and streets.” Buxton S. Midyette, vice president of marketing and promotions at Supima, said, “This is another great group, and we’re once again happy to be joined by tremendous art and design schools in conducting this competition.”

Each finalist will present a capsule collection consisting of five pieces of eveningwear made from at least 70 percent extra-long staple Supima cotton. Each piece represents one of the three categories of fabric for which Supima is best known: fine-quality shirting, fine cotton jersey and premium denim. Finalists will be judged on the originality and execution of their garments, as well as how much they have capitalized on the strength and softness of Supima cotton. There is a $10,000 cash prize for the winner.

Midyette explained that as part of its commitment to emerging designers, Supima charges no entry fee. The Supima fabrics, which come from the same Supima mills that supply licensees like Brooks Brothers, Splendid, AG Jeans and Agave, are donated to the designers. Supima also supplies models, production and staging, and publicity.

“It’s our major activity of the year, and it’s all about giving back to the industry,” he added.

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