Academy of Art University student Linh La premiered her first-ever New York Fashion Week (NYFW) collection at the 12th Annual Supima Design Competition on Sept. 5 at Pier 59 Studios. Excited to be able to showcase her collection, La mentioned that the occasion was “… a great opportunity to move forward, challenge and broaden skills, and learn so much more.”
The Supima Design Competition partners with some of the top fashion schools in the country as a way for students to present their collections during NYFW, a chance to win a $10,000 prize, and work alongside womenswear design mentors like Bibhu Mohapatra. The eight finalists selected for the competition rank at the top of their classes from schools like the Academy, Fashion Institute of Technology, and Parsons School of Design.
According to La, designers in the competition are required to use “five types of fabric from Supima—jersey, shirting, velveteen, denim, and cotton [twill], for the majority of the looks.” Based on the specification outlined in Supima’s overview, the competing designers were instructed to create a “capsule collection of women’s evening wear that highlighted the unique characteristics of Supima cotton.” In addition to fulfilling these requirements, the judging was based on “originality, execution, and ability to showcase Supima, America’s luxury cotton.”
Design competitions allow for the greatest innovation, without stifling creativity. This rang true at this year’s Supima Design Competition Fashion Show (Spring/ Summer 2020) at NYFW. Designers were able to showcase looks with inspiration from many backgrounds and cultures. NYFW Founder Fern Mallis described this year’s showcase as “the most optimistic group of collections I’ve seen in years. The prints, the colors, the energy, it makes me feel good that these students are in a place where they feel good about the future and they’re optimistic about the cotton and the prints, and what they’re able to do with it.”
La’s collection was inspired by the sculpture artist Judith Scott. La describes her as “a truly remarkable visionary with Down syndrome, who used random objects and fabrics, wrapping the items in interesting ways to create textures and sculptures.” The artist’s technique inspired La to do the same, creating texture and shape with the help of scraps she was able to collect. La’s collection featured monochromatic looks with small pops of sculptured color. The looks were polished and chic, featuring mainly whites, blacks, and greys.
La wanted to use as much of the Supima fabric as possible. She was able to create added volume with the Supima shirting fabric and enhanced draping with the Supima jersey. La’s favorite look from her collection is the “Snow Queen,” an all-white sheath pleated dress with a smocked jacket created completely out of Supima denim. She enjoyed working with the Supima denim the most because “it created a more structured look with gathering and smocking.”
Although La wasn’t the winner of the competition, she was excited for the opportunity to participate and show her collection at NYFW. She also wishes she could have had the opportunity to show Judith Scott her collection; unfortunately, the artist passed a few years ago.
The Supima Design Competition judges are industry professionals, some of whom represented publications like The Daily Front Row, Harper’s Bazaar, Instyle and Fashionista. Supima fabrics were provided by a host of sponsors like Brooks Brothers, Uniqlo, and Tintex. The fashion show was hosted by fashion influencer Blair Eadie.
To learn more about Supima cotton and the competition visit: www.supima. com/design-competition.