Gina (Zinan) Guo, a fashion design graduate from Philadelphia’s Drexel University, won the 12th annual Supima Design Competition that supports emerging talent from some of the nation’s top design schools.
Guo, selected by a panel of industry judges, received a $10,000 check from Supima to kickstart her design career.
The competition requires student designers to create capsule evening wear collections using Supima cotton fabrics supplied by Albini, Brooks Brothers, Colorich, Nice Dyeing, Olah Inc., Olimpias, Rainbow, Tintex and Uniqlo.
“It’s a huge honor to be chosen for this award among the other talented designers,” she said following her win. “I can’t believe it’s real.”
Guo was given the award by this year’s host, fashion designer and blogger Blair Eadie. Speaking to Sourcing Journal backstage before the show, Eadie said this was special for her not just because it was her first time hosting, but also because she was one of the 12 judges involved in evaluating the collections.
“That’s a lot of pressure,” Eadie quipped. “I was really struck by the talent and dedication of the students and how different they were able to put together their collections from just Supima fabrics.”
For her collection, shown with creations from seven other finalists on the runway at Pier 59 Studios on Thursday, Guo presented a diverse five-piece group inspired by nature and the environment. It featured a long sleeve, high-waisted balloon skirt with embroidery in Supima jersey; a printed shirting jumpsuit with balloon sleeves; a printed denim top over a high-waisted skirt with embroidered trim; a digital print twill jumpsuit and a printed velveteen dress.
In winning the competition, Guo bested Linh La from San Francisco’s Academy of Art University, Illene Martoseno from the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising in Los Angeles, Ishwari Vijh from New York’s Fashion Institute of Technology, Shuxian Kong from Ohio’s Kent State University, Andrew Kwon from Parsons School of Design in New York, Isabel Hajian from the Rhode Island School of Design and Yoohyeon Kim from Georgia’s Savannah College of Art and Design.
Many former Supima Design Competition winners have gone on to launch their own labels, show at New York Fashion Week, and secure jobs with top international labels, including Michael Kors, Marchesa, Ralph Lauren and Phillip Lim. Supima represents the 500 farmers that grown the high-grade cotton in Arizona, California, New Mexico and Texas in the U.S.