Drexel University’s Carla Pierini the winner of the 16th annual Supima Design Competition

Drexel University’s Carla Pierini the winner of the 16th annual Supima Design Competition

Supima Names 16th Annual Fashion Design Face-Off Winner Carla Pierini of Drexel University was named the winner by a panel of more than 20 industry veterans, editors, designers, and stylists on Thursday.

The competition required Pierini and other top design school finalists to create capsule collections of eveningwear entirely from Supima’s American-grown cotton. As part of New York Fashion Week, the students presented their final designs Thursday at a live runway show at The Prince George Ballroom.

Pierini, a Venezuelan worker herself, said she drew motivation from her experience visiting an exile camp a year ago. In the end, she wants her collection to tell the story of rebuilding one’s life and starting over, the ongoing refugee crisis.

“I wanted to tell this story, but it wasn’t only about me,” Pierini said during her acceptance speech. “It’s about my people. I’m just representing people working for what they want in life.”

The event was attended by seniors from seven other schools in addition to Pierini: Amber Kuia of the Academy of Art University, Alexander Ziemba of the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in Los Angeles, Hee Jin Hwang of the Fashion Institute of Technology, Wendy Wang of Kent State University, Tianze Wu of the Parsons School of Design at The New School, Sahara Clemons of the Rhode Island School of Design, and Mariana Espinosa of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago round out the group.

Supima’s fabric partners, including Albini, Colorich, Metro Dyeing LLC, Olah Inc., Olimpias, Rainbow, Tintex, and KAIHARA Denim, provided materials to each designer in May. Supima requested that members make five looks from five kinds of texture: jersey, denim, velveteen, twill, and shirting. This year’s finalists were mentored by eveningwear designer Bibhu Mohapatra, who has won the CFDA Award nine times. Throughout the program, he provided advice, support, and insight.

Jeremy Scott, the host of this year’s fashion show and a former “Making the Cut” judge, stated that the competition is “a great space” for emerging talent to find mentorship and gain exposure.

“I think there’s a lot of potential,” Scott told Sourcing Journal. “I mean you have a room full of professionals who are able to talk about it, get their names out there.”

A panel of more than twenty judges, including Scott and Mohapatra, evaluated each collection. Originality, execution, and “ability to showcase Supima” were the criteria used to evaluate designs. Pierini will be awarded a $10,000 cash prize as the winner.

On Wednesday, Scott got the chance to meet one-on-one with each of the finalists and learn about the details and passion that went into each cotton-heavy collection.

Scott commented, “It was so sweet to hear all their different stories, the passion behind what they were doing, and what they were trying to say.” Every one… has a story that was exceptionally genuine.”