Supima Spring/Summer 2015

Anubhuti Kumar, Contributing Writer

Clothes, colors, and cotton galore were a perfect way to introduce the fresh faces of New York Fashion Week. That is what Supima, a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting the use of Pima cotton, did with their annual design competition held Thursday, September 4th at Lincoln Center.

Supima chose senior students from top design schools in America and gave the young talent a chance on the runway. This year’s contestants were: Ou Ma (Fashion Institute of Technology), Jenny Hoang (Academy of Art University), David Lee (Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising), Anastasia Iafrate (Kent State University), Sharon Moon (Rhode Island School of Design), and Yuxi Bi (The Savannah College of Art and Design).

Pima cotton was the basic material with which the finalists were required to design their evening gowns. Yuxi Bi was enthused to work with such a unique fabric.

“It’s fabulous,” Bi said. “The first time I saw the fabric I fell in love with its softness, its texture.”

Other designers found the cotton to be a bit of an obstacle at first, but a fun challenge with time.

“It was a little bit challenging, of course because this is not the eveningwear fabric that you would normally see, but it was fun,” said Jenny Hoang. “The fabric was just fantastic. I could do so many things with it, and it still kept its shape and it had the quality. It was fun. Challenging, but fun.”

From florals to Transformers to romance these designers were truly inspired. Ou Ma’s collection was elegantly understated in its blue theme that reminisced of summer beach days. A strapless high-low dress stole the show with its subtly chic, flowing design.

David Lee’s collection stood out in his use of  bold, youthful colors. A long plum dress with a stunning deep neck and blue crossed straps was a favorite with its infusion of drama and confidence.

Anastasia Iafrate, the grand winner of the competition and the $10,000 prize, created a collection entitled “White Nights in St. Petersburg.” The luxurious collection emitted an aura of classical elegance. A light maroon dress tinted with black accents took us back to a simpler time without giving up an ounce of glamour. Iafrate shared her thoughts on the experience backstage.

“It feels awesome! Excited, Ecstatic! It’s just something that I can only dream of,” Iafrate said.

The Supima Design Competition, now in its seventh year, was created to emulate the Wool Secretariat competition that launched a very young Yves Saint Laurent and Karl Lagerfeld. Who knows; maybe New York Fashion Week has just encountered the next one.

Email Anubhuti Kumar at [email protected].