The show must go on, according to Supima — and the cotton firm recently announced that its annual design competition this year, for the first time, will be held in a digital format due to the coronavirus pandemic. Its virtual showcase will take place in early September.
Here, Supima shares this year’s finalists, alongside insights on what inspires their designs, and why they love working with cotton.
Amanda Forastieri, Drexel University
Inspiration: Visually, I am inspired tremendously by the memories I have in some of my favorite places — from my garden to my grandmother’s house. Both have had a great impact on my designs and my life. I looked at how designers like Issey Miyake and Pierre Cardin visualize and build their garments and thought about how to bring that together with my own bold identity and vision.
Conceptually, I was inspired by what our “new normal” looks like after the pandemic and ongoing social justice movements. Working toward designing and creating my Supima capsule collection, which I’m so honored to be doing, during this pandemic has made me challenge myself to think about how my role in fashion can impact long overdue change beyond the industry — after all, fashion has the power to spark hope for lasting change and I’m excited to be part of that.
Working with cotton: I actually used cotton for my senior year thesis and something about it really just spoke to me. Even looking back at my academic progress, my strongest projects used cotton. I love leaning into the endless possibilities there are for playing with the fabric’s structure, and how well it takes to the colorful prints I create. Growing up in Puerto Rico, cotton was one of the main fabrics present in my closet due to its breathability. It actually is still is in many shapes and forms now, most commonly T-shirts, long dresses and jeans. When in doubt, there’s nothing better than my pair of vintage mom jeans, a nice cotton shirt and a black belt. It can be styled so many ways.
Sakura Mizutani, Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising
Inspiration: My Supima collection is inspired by a “Japanese four seasons.” I’m really good at experimenting with new and different designs and materials and enjoy introducing elements not related to fashion into my collections. I draw a ton of inspiration from abstract items, such as seasons, inanimate objects and human emotions — they really impact the shapes and colors I use in my designs.
Working with cotton: I’m so honored to have been selected to partake in the Supima Design Competition this year. I wasn’t sure it would happen due to COVID-19, so was pleasantly surprised when I found I was selected as a finalist. I often wear and design with cotton because I have sensitive skin and the fabric is very gentle. With Supima cotton, the fibers are very long and strong — which are great characteristics that help prevent breaking and tearing so the garments can be worn for a long time. I’m excited to show the versatility of the fabric with my collection. I want to leave people asking, “You made that shape with Supima cotton?”
Jenny Feng, Fashion Institute of Technology
Inspiration: The inspiration for my designs usually come from a vulnerable side of me that I want to explore. This collection is an investigation of the dichotomy between protection and chaos. By manipulating and distorting fabrics and forms, I hope to create a landscape that is imperfect yet expressive and sculptural.
Working with cotton: I have such a distinct and unconventional approach to design and Supima cotton really complements that. Not only is it super soft to the touch, but it also lets me take some design risks that I can’t necessarily accomplish with other fabrics. I’m very excited to bring this collection to life.
Jennie Nguyen, Kent State University
Inspiration: My collection intends to raise awareness about global warming and through use of Supima cotton. Global warming has become one of the most profound problems in our world today, yet both the awareness of it and its solution seem to be quite far-fetched. My designs are mainly inspired by the beautiful shape of the iceberg and its texture. The iceberg, by itself, appears to be a beautiful work of nature. However, when put in the perspective of environmental influence, the iceberg carries a concealed hazard. What is underneath is the unknown. It can either be the act of preservation of mother Earth or the consequences of human destruction.
Working with cotton: I love using Supima cotton fabric because it always delivers the best dyeing results. All of the prints I design are usually bright and vibrant, so Supima really lends itself to that for me — it’s truly is superior to other fabrics.
Terrence Zhou, Parsons School of Design
Inspiration: For my collection, I was inspired by the idea that life is a performance. I drew upon my own personal experiences and chose mathematical elements and 3-D objects to reimagine the body. With the final pieces, I’ll be able to exaggerate proportions and hide the identity of the wearer, emphasizing the performative nature of everyday life and fashion.
Working with cotton: Cotton has played an important role in my design. From draping and pattern-making to the final product, cotton proves to be the best fabric to not only hold shape but also illustrate my inspiration. It’s an added bonus that 100 percent cotton is very breathable to the human body. I really look forward to sharing this collection with the world this fall.
Kyra Buenviaje, Rhode Island School of Design
Inspiration: For this collection, I was prompted by the feeling of loneliness of being stuck at home during this pandemic. I started to imagine an alternate world where we were stuck outside and what sort of freedom, density and massiveness we would be surrounded with. It was a really inspiring perspective for me and has led me to imagine endless possibilities for my Supima collection. While I’m excited by the process, I’m really looking forward to seeing my final pieces.
Working with cotton: Supima cotton is so unapologetically luxe. It has this ability to adapt to whatever manipulation I apply to the fabric and it’s so much fun to feed off that tendency and create something unconventional. It’s really such a sturdy foundation. I am not scared my experimentations won’t be supported. It’s so versatile that there’s really so much that can be done.
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