2015 Supima Design Competition

Supima is America’s luxury cotton. The annual Supima Design Competition was created to give runway exposure to emerging talent and was modeled after the legendary 1954 Wool Secretariat competition that launched the careers of the then-teenaged Yves St. Laurent and Karl Lagerfeld.

12052458_10153078104451759_6477756776863435639_oSeven of America’s top design schools (AAU, FIDM, FIT, Kent State University, Pratt BF+DA, RISD, SCAD) are asked to select one finalist from among their graduating seniors. Each finalist is asked to create a capsule collection of women’s eveningwear gowns from premium Supima denims, knits, corduroys, twills, and shirting. A prestigious panel of judges decides the winner at a full-fledged fashion show held during New York Fashion Week at Lincoln Center. The winner is announced at the completion of the show and receives a $10,000 cash award.


Host & judge details —

Host — Olivia Culpo

Judges —

  • Catherine Baba — Designer/stylist/costume designer
  • Ildo Damiano — Italian trend setter
  • Carmen Lilly — wardrobe stylist and personal shopping consultant
  • Aslaug Magnusdottir — entrepreneur and investor in the fashion space. She is the Co-Founder and former CEO of Moda Operandi and Tinker Tailor
  • Fern Mallis — was the Executive Director of the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) from 1991-2001, and created 7th on Sixth productions or NY Fashion Week as it’s known today. She’s currently President of the leading international fashion and design consultancy – Fern Mallis LLC


  • Jessica Michault — editor-in-chief of Nowfashion, the leading digital magazine specialized in live runway coverage.
  • Naomi Nevitt — digital, editorial and social media strategist specializing in millennial, fashion and shopping trends
  • Nicolas Ouchenir — Ten years ago, Nicolas Ouchenir started to experiment with calligraphy. Entirely self-taught, he invented alphabets – both traditionally crafted and modern in style – for a variety of luxury fashion and arts clients. Today, he is one of Paris’ most sought after artisans (with clients including Louis Vuitton, Hermès, Christian Dior and Cartier).

Supima Design Competition - Runway - Spring 2016 New York Fashion Week: The Shows

  • Sam Spector — After graduating from Parsons School of Design’s A.A.S program in Fashion Design, Sam Spector held the Fashion Editor position at OUT magazine where he styled fashion shoots and shot celebrity cover stories. Now styling & visual presentation work, editorial & tv shows.
  • Mary Alice Stephenson — world renowned style and beauty expert, fashion commentator, humanitarian and the founder and force behind GLAM4GOOD.
  • David Yi — Mashable’s first-ever fashion hire where he spearheads editorial for the new vertical. From overseeing original shoots, to writing in-depth stories about the ever-changing industry, Mashable Fashion is quickly becoming the go-to destination for the global digital generation.


Kate Mckenna — Savannah College of Art & Design  Kate

Having always been an artistic and creatively driven child, fashion was just one of the ways she expressed herself. After being completely captivated by the dressmaking scene in Sleeping Beauty, she was hooked on the idea of making dresses. Mckenna’s area of design focuses on women’s eveningwear, ready-to-wear and bridal.


Mckenna feels that fabrication is the most important part of her design process. “I design with a narrative, there’s always a reason or inspiration for silhouettes and details. I like to tell stories through my designs.” Here, her focus was on West African and Haitian voodoo in the deep south, with a deeper look into traditional indigo dying & basket weaving.


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Lauren Nahigian — Pratt Institute Brooklyn Fashion + Design Accelerator


Nahigian focuses on designing women’s sportswear but readily admits that her designs are “kind of out there”. An abundance of fabric, crazy colors and prints and intricate embellishments are all design elements Nahigian uses to express her vision.


For this collection, Nahigian says — “1970’s flirty, weird girl. Something’s a little strange about how she looks and acts but you’re obsessed with her anyway. You’ll secretly wish you too were sporting her attitude.”

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Julia Han — Rhode Island School of Design  Julian

Han specializes in women’s knitwear and textile development, believing that fabric is the essential part of any design. With a philosophy rooted in the idea of material exploration and fabrics, Han pushes conventional materials and techniques in unconventional ways to create pieces that make you stop and look. “Fashion is a combination of art, design, culture, business and craft, in short, a culmination of many of the things I am interested in”, says Han.

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Han describes her capsule collection by saying — “Initially inspired by the layered imagery of Patti Smith’s collection of prose poems, The Coral Sea, my Supima capsule collection, translates written poetry into wearable garments. This eveningwear collection mainly plays off of unexpected poetic textures and fabric manipulations in hues of blue. If The Coral Sea was a collection of clothing, rather than words, what would it look like and ultimately feel like?”

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Nnamdi Agum — FIT  Nnamdi

Agum takes more of a tactical approach to design and prefers working with his hands on the form. “ I enjoy creating clothing that makes people think”, says Agum. From eliminating or hiding seams to designing clothing with complicated and unusual seaming, Nnamdi Agum likes to push the boundaries of fashion.

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Agnum says — “New York’s rooftops are noted for their spectacular skyline views—but there’s so much more to them that most people never see. There are often lush, vibrant, amazing things in bloom, cultivated for their beauty, on those rooftops, known only to their privileged inhabitants. The collection is a cheeky nod to the beautiful secrets one may find, tucked away, just beneath the skyline.”


Karen Dang — Academy of Art University   Karen

With an avant-garde approach to design, Karen Dang is not afraid to use colors to set the tone for her collections.

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Here is what Dang has to say on this collection — “I wanted to capture the controlled chaos and beauty seen in the works of Martin Klimas and Ori Gersht. My collection is inspired by Klimas’ series, ”FlowerVases” and Gersht’s “On Reflection”, capturing the events that take place with the explosion of flower and vase. My first look is more structured like the vase and the last look is free and crazy, capturing the image of the shattered flower.”

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Paige Meacham — Kent State University Paige

Meacham’s focus is on women’s designer ready-to-wear and outwear. Her love of textiles and fabric manipulation comes through in her designs where embroidery, smocking, quilting and screen-printing play a roll in Meacham’s signature style.


“My Collection is inspired by my last two years of traveling around Europe and Asia. I believe that traveling is way people form layers. All the places I have been, I noticed the mixture of organic structures and movements, with hard city building lines. This juxtaposition of similar building structures with the vastly different lifestyles all come together to create something beautiful: humanity”


Leetal Platt — FIDM Leetal

Since 2014 Platt has received numerous awards and recognition for her designs including the 2015 Best in Show award at FIDM. Platt takes a fairly loose approach to sketching in order to accommodate for the varying responses to fabric behavior. The use of textiles, hardware and shape all come together to form Platt’s design point of view.

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Platt says — “My collection is inspired by the bouganvillea vine. I am particularly drawn to the colors of its flowers and the contrast between that and the stone and concrete walls the vines canvas. As the collection flows, I try to explore this concept of overgrowth over manmade surfaces, and the juxtaposition of organic textures laying beside the hard geometry of infrastructure, resulting in gowns with beautiful fabric manipulation, color, and silhouette.”



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