Online showcases have quickly become an alternative for fashion shows this season. Though numerous individual brands have been affected, it's been unclear whether designer group shows would undergo the same format changes or take place entirely — until now. The annual Supima Design Competition, regularly a highlight of New York Fashion Week, is going digital this September.
Several days before the official NYFW schedule begins, Supima's student showcase will be hosted on Instagram Live by stylist and Legendary host Law Roach — the self-proclaimed image architect behind Zendaya, Ariana Grande, and Jameela Jamil's looks. A series of live and pre-recorded content will stream on Supima and Roach's accounts, utilizing social media when in-person shows aren't possible — especially for fashion students graduating during the pandemic.
"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.
Six designers from top fashion schools like Parsons, FIT and more have been challenged to create womenswear capsule collections with textiles by Supima, a nonprofit that grows US prima cotton. Throughout the design process, they've each been mentored by eveningwear designer Bibhu Mohapatra. The winner, who will be announced during the live presentation, will be rewarded $10,000 towards their future fashion career. This is more beneficial than ever given the changes COVID-19 has brought on the fashion industry, including unproduced collections, emergency funds and beloved brands shuttering altogether.
"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, Supima's VP of Marketing and Promotions, 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."
Of course, this being a competition, the collections will be evaluated in a digital runway show by a group of judges. Over 20 editors, stylists and tastemakers will determine who wins the final prize when the show streams from @Supima and @LuxuryLaw at 3 PM on September 10.
The six designers selected for this year's competition who will present their collections in the digital showcase are Amanda Forastieri (Drexel University), Sakura Mizutani (Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising), Jenny Feng (Fashion Institute of Technology), Jennie Nguyen (Kent State University), Terrence Zhou (Parsons School of Design) and Kyra Buenviaje (Rhode Island School of Design).