It would be an understatement to say this is a tough time to be graduating from fashion school. With companies big and small tightening their belts, opportunities are scarce. And with large, in-person events rightfully deemed unsafe, getting your work seen on a large platform also presents significant challenges. Enter Supima, the nonprofit, luxury cotton brand that promotes American-grown Pima cotton worldwide, which has been working on a solution to both issues.
Each year, the organization produces a fashion show during New York Fashion Week where a select group of recent fashion school graduates are chosen to present their designs and compete for a cash prize to kick off their careers in fashion. And it wasn't about to skip it in a time when those designers need that support the most.
For the first time in its 13 years of existence, the Supima Design Competition will take place virtually via Instagram Live on Thursday Sept. 10, 2020 at 3:00 p.m. ET, ahead of New York Fashion Week —whatever that ends up being. As in years past, Supima also enlisted a famous face, with this year being celebrity image architect Law Roach — yes, the one who makes your jaw drop every time a new image of Zendaya is revealed — to host the proceedings.
"I am so humbled to be part of such a wonderful program that continues to lend its platform and resources to emerging designers, especially given the impact this year has had on their education and graduation opportunities," Roach said in a statement. "Supporting emerging design talent is one of the most rewarding parts of my career, and I cannot wait to see how incredible the final collections will be."
The six participating designers, who hail from Parsons, FIT, RISD and more, have been challenged to create capsule collections using Supima cotton fabrics. Also returning for the sixth consecutive year is famed eveningwear designer Bibhu Mohapatra, who will be mentoring them throughout the design process. We'll get to see the final product on the runway on the 10th, and a jury of more than 20 industry tastemakers, editors, and stylists will determine the frontrunner then and there, announcing the winner live during the presentation. The prize? A cool $10,000.
"This year’s design school graduates across the country have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and are struggling to find jobs or platforms to share their designs," said Buxton Midyette, VP Marketing & Promotions at Supima, in a statement. "We knew it was more important than ever to stay nimble and shift this competition into a virtual format that would help these recent graduates with their first step into the fashion industry post-graduation.”