On New York Fashion Week's official first day, seven recent design school graduates presented their debut collections as finalists in the 10th Annual Supima Design Competition. Bibhu Mohapatra, in his third year as mentor, helped the industry newcomers blend Supima cotton with creative interpretation.
Hope seemed to permeate Pier 59 Studios while the graduates prepared to send their wares down the runway--refreshing during an uncertain time for NYFW. Adding to the lightheartedness, the entire event took the cotton theme and ran with it, from the images displayed pre-show to the fluffy white bouquets for guests.
The young designers interpreted concepts ranging from athletics to dreaming, all tied together by a common material. Kent State University graduate Sarah Johnson brought Eastern and Western influences together to explore ideas of strength, while Parsons' Margaret Kwon extended her thesis collection and considered the concept of aura. Ultimately, a panel of judges that included the event’s host, June Ambrose, Fern Mallis, Fashionista’s Tyler McCall, and FU EIC Katharine K. Zarrella, among other insiders, chose to award the $10,000 grand prize to Alyssa Wardrop, who recently graduated from FIT. Her abstract, geometric, hand-painted collection was inspired by Michelangelo Antonioni's film, The Eclipse.
"I wanted to translate that interesting creation of moments to another form of media," Wardrop, who next plans to study design at the master's level and gain experience within the industry, said of her concept. "Just disrupting fashion."