Supima is America’s luxury cotton: founded in 1954, the Supima brand designates an elite variety of pima cotton grown only in California and the Southwestern U.S. and prized the world over by designers and retailers who value its luster, strength, and superior softness.

Begun in 2008, the annual Supima Design Competition was created to give runway exposure to emerging talent and was modelled on the legendary 1954 Wool Secretariat competition that launched the careers of the then-teenaged Yves St. Laurent and Karl Lagerfeld.

For this seventh Supima Design Competition, six of America’s top design schools were asked to select one finalist from among their graduating seniors. Each finalist was asked to create a capsule collection of women’s eveningwear gowns from premium Supima denims, knits, corduroys, twills, and shirting.

This year’s six finalists: Jenny Hoang from Academy of Art University; David Lee from Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising; Ou Ma from Fashion Institute of Technology; Anastasia Iafrate from Kent State University; Sharon Moon from Rhode Island School of Design; and Yuxi Bi from Savannah College of Art and Design

The finalists will be judged by a diverse panel of fashion industry leaders. The winner will be announced at the completion of the show and receive an award of $10,000.

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Ou Ma from Fashion Institute of Technology; Ou Ma is an SDC contestant from Beijing China. She earned her BFA from the Fashion Institute of Technology. Beginning by working on her Barbie dolls as a child, Ma is now known for her exquisite knitwear. Ou’s collection explores deeply the status of mental disturbance and the infinite progression of emotional recovery. Starting from free-formed yarns, pin-tucks, pleats, and flares were manipulated base on the nature of the Supima cotton fabrics. She likes to think about silhouettes based upon the performance of the swatches she initially received. Ultimately, Ma would love to work at an established fashion company such as Calvin Klein or Ralph Lauren.

Love: her use of classic silhouettes and a blue pastel colour pallet gives the collection a soft and feminine feel while encapsulating old Hollywood glamour. Her use of texture which includes rushing and draping along with subtle patterns that give the appearance of sea spry gives the designs depth, and shows just how much the designer has thought about everything as a whole.  

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David Lee from Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising; David Lee is originally from Washington State and has received an AA degree from the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising. Known for his precise illustrations, Lee’s SDC capsule collection capitalizes on a unique representation of abstract floral prints. He has worked hard to make certain that the personality of the Supima fabric fits the designs he creates from it. The future is open for Lee who hopes to one day move from an internship to a paying position and to interweave his love for illustration.

Love: that the seemingly clashing colours on paper instead complement each other by the designer’s use of long gowns and slimming shapes that contour the body. The use of purple, yellow, turquoise and black make the collection stand out and the dresses a must for any woman. 

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Yuxi Bi from Savannah College of Art and Design; Hailing originally from China, Yuxi Bi has called The Savannah College of Art and Design her home for the past few years. There, she received her BFA and made it through many challenges to become an SDC contestant. Known for couture eveningwear, Bi is creating a romance themed capsule collection for the contest. Bi loves the elegance and texture of Supima and what it adds to her designs. Bi looks forward to an apprenticeship at a couture design house and, one day, hopes to establish her own.

Love: the use of draping, rushing and pastel colours create an interesting look and texture to her collection.

Not So Much: The only negative I have is that the pieces looked unfinished.

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Jenny Hoang from Academy of Art University; Hailing from Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, Jenny Hien Hoang has earned her BFA in Fashion Design from the Academy of Art University in San Francisco. Known for her womenswear and denim, Hoang’s SDC capsule collection is inspired by transformation. The collection creates something unique and unexpected out of cotton. She is fascinated with Supima and the competition has completely changed her way of thinking about the fabric in general. A fan of Giorgio Armani, Hoang hopes to one day be a designer for the likes of the Italian super house.

Love: the use of purple in her collection and interesting use of shade, texture and patterns to create an altogether regal and high class look.

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Sharon Moon from Rhode Island School of Design; Originally from Seoul, South Korea, Sharon Moon has earned her BFA at the Rhode Island School of Design. Specializing in women’s ready to wear in both knit and wovens, her SDC capsule collection revolves around decaying flowers. Ms. Moon is using laser cutting to portray a different and modern interpretation of a traditional flower. She enjoys the strong Supima fiber, especially as it applies to her laser cutting technique. Hoping to eventually start her own line, Moon is happy to start from the bottom at a womenswear label.

Love: the collection has obvious eastern influences which can be seen in the use of colour, as red seems to be the main colour theme, with the introduction of gold and purple into the collection, it creates a more royal look to the pieces individually and as a whole. The use of the laser cutter to create intricate and decorative cut out’s, is my favourite part of this collection. 

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Anastasia Iafrate from Kent State University; Anastasia Iafrate is originally from Russia but earned her BA in Fashion Design from Kent State University. Intrigued by couture evening wear, Iafrate infuses the love for her home country into her SDC capsule collection. The collection, entitled “White Nights of St. Petersburg,” is an homage to the beauty of the city and the unique Arctic circle twilight that is such a phenomenon there. Challenged to create evening wear from what is usually seen as a “casual” fabric, Iafrate has enjoyed her experiments with Supima. One day, Iafrate hopes to have her own line.

Love: the colour’s used complement each other well teaming orange with black as well as purple with hints of pink, this along with the intricate designs and detail on the dresses make the collection seem rich and elegant while also contemporary incorporating long dresses and puffball skirts.

Winner: Anastasia Iafrate

but who was your personal favourite?

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