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Sep 14, 2015
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Supima names Kate McKenna winner of the 2015 Supima Design Competition

Sep 14, 2015

Supima announced the winner of the Supima Design Competition 2015 on Thursday at Skylight Clarkson Square. The winner, Kate McKenna, a student of Savannah College of Art and Design, bested 6 other competitors with 5 eveningwear looks that incorporated indigo-dyed fabrics and patterns.

The 6 other finalists were Karen Yang of Academy of Art University; Leetal Platt of FIDM; Nnamdi Agum of FIT; Paige Meacham of Kent State University; Lauren Nahigian of Pratt Institute Brooklyn Fashion and Design Accelerator; and Julia Han of Rhode Island School of Design.

Winner, Kate McKenna with her winning looks at the Supima Design Competition 2015 at Skylight Clarkson Square on Thursday. - Supima

For this year’s Design Competition, students were challenged with producing an eveningwear capsule collection with Supima cotton fabrics, thus rethinking fabric conventions. Brands such as Brooks Brothers, Uniqlo, AG Adriano Goldschmied, Carlo Bonomi and Nice Dyeing partnered with Supima by providing fabric for the students to use. CFDA member and 2014 International Woolmark Prize finalist, Bibhu Mohapatra, mentored the designers through their respective processes, and the final designs were judged by many of the fashion industry’s great minds, including Fern Mallis, Catherine Baba, Ildo Damiano, Carmen Lilly, Aslaug Magnusdottir, Jessica Michault, Naomi Nevitt, Nicolas Ouchenir, Sam Spector, Mary Alice Stephenson, David Yi and Supima’s VP of Marketing and Promotions, Buxton Midyette. The winner received a $10,000 cash prize.
"I can tell you that each year it gets more and more competitive as our competition gets known," said Midyette. "I mean we’re really still in the infancy of this competition. Even though we’ve been doing it for 8 years, we’re still growing in recognition but we’re growing fast and we see more competition within the schools to be nominated as the finalist, and so that means they’re working even harder. As a student it’s very expensive to buy fabrics for your projects. It has really been a fabulous partnership that we’ve had with the schools."

Finalists, Karen Dang, Nnamdi Agum, Kate McKenna, Leetal Platt, Lauren Nahigian, Julia Han and Paige Meacham. - Supima

Kate McKenna, the winner of this year’s Supima Design Competition, hails from Point Pleasant, New Jersey. She ultimately aims to run her own label, and she wants to work as a technical or concept designer for a design house. Her main areas of focus include women’s eveningwear, ready-to-wear and bridal. "I design with a narrative," McKenna said. Her collection consisted of dresses made with raw indigo fabrics and hand-painted and hand-brushed indigo-dyed patterns.
Midyette shared that the collections will be presented in Paris for Paris Fashion Week at the residence of Ambassador Jane D. Hartley. She said, “We’ll be doing more of a presentation there versus a runway show and so we’ll have all of the looks there—20 on mannequins and 15 on models for the presentation. We’ll also have artist, Nicolas Ouchenir who will put together a live illustration performance that will accompany the presentation.”
The Supima Design Competition began in 2008 as a way to give designers exposure and show the vast possibilities of Supima cotton. Eventually, Supima extended the competition to students by partnering with schools throughout the United States. Students who have taken part in the competition have gone on to launch their own labels and work for fashion houses and brands like Dior, Ralph Lauren and Marchesa, to name a few.

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