San Francisco’s Academy of Art University is back after a hiatus, joining six schools returning with students participating in the competition. The seven designers selected for this year’s competition are Alanna Lizun from Ohio’s Kent State University, Bryn Lourié of the Rhode Island School of Design, Genevieve Lake of the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in Los Angeles, Jessica Chang of Parson’s The New School in New York, Jessica Rubinstein from the Savannah College of Art and Design, Lili Shi of New York’s Fashion Institute of Technology and Paula Amaral from Academy of Art University.
The designers will present their collections on Sept. 6 on opening day of New York Fashion Week at a runway show at Pier 59 at Chelsea Piers on the Hudson River. The competition supports emerging talent by challenging student designers from among the country’s top fashion schools to create capsule collections using Supima cotton fabrics. The collections are then evaluated by a panel of judges and presented in a collective runway show. Prize money is awarded to the winner announced immediately after the show.
“The point isn’t to have them compete against one another, the point is really to have them present their best competition possible,” Buxton Midyette, vice president of marketing and promotion at Supima, said. “And so we have this incredible group of young women designers this year who you can see are already forming friendships and really supporting each other throughout this process.”
Supima said fashion designer Bibhu Mohapatra will be returning for the fourth time as mentor to the seven finalists. Mohaparta providing insightful feedback and insight to the students throughout the design process.
New this year, Supima has linked up with talent recruitment firm 24Seven to market the Supima Design Competition finalists’ portfolios to fashion houses across North America and Europe. The competition has a long history of helping kick start the careers of participants.
Started in 2009, the Supima Design Competition was created to give runway exposure to emerging talent and was modeled on the legendary 1954 Wool Secretariat competition that launched the careers of Yves Saint Laurent and Karl Lagerfeld. Supima represents the more than 500 U.S. family farmers that grow the superior grade cotton.