Fashion Alumna Represents Kent State in Virtual 2020 Supima Design Competition
Held every September during the start of New York City’s fashion week, fashionistas flock to the annual Supima Design Competition to get a sneak peek at up and coming talent emerging into the fashion industry. This year, however, COVID-19 and social distancing pushed the competition online where it was shown on the Supima Design Competition website and streamed on their Instagram IGTV page on Sept. 10. Jennie Nguyen, a recent graduate from the Kent State School of Fashion’s design program, was one of just six designers featured in the national competition.
Now in its thirteenth year, Supima’s design competition was created to introduce the next generation of designers into the fashion industry. Graduating seniors from the top design schools in the country are chosen to represent their school and compete for a $10,000 cash prize and an opportunity to show their collections in front of high-profile fashion audiences and influencers in New York City and Paris. Nguyen joins previous Kent State nominees: Shuxian Kong (2019), Alanna Lizun (2018), Sarah Johnson (2017), Kara Michelle Kroeger (2016), Paige Meacham (2015), Anastasia Iafrate (2014) and Sylvia Bukowski (2013).
This year, finalists were challenged with creating a five-look womenswear capsule collection using premium SUPIMA cotton fabrics. Working with a prominent fashion designer as a mentor, students had the opportunity to learn what design elements translate to the runway and what will resonate with the judges. A prestigious panel of judges from the fashion and media world was charged with selecting a winner. Celebrity stylist, Law Roach, who has created wardrobes for actresses like Zendaya and Kerry Washington, served as the host for the event and and also as one of the judges.
Nguyen knew she was going to be in fashion from a young age. Inspired by her mother who worked as a seamstress in Vietnam, some of her first memories include sewing scraps of fabric into clothes for her Barbie dolls.
Inspired by the shape of the beauty and shape of an iceberg and its texture, Nguyen’s Supima collection is meant to bring awareness to global warming. “Global warming has become one of the most profound problems in our world today, yet both the awareness as well as solution seem to be quite far-fetched,” expressed Nguyen. “My design is mainly inspired by the beauty of the 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.”
In addition to the fashion mentor provided by Supima, Nguyen has been working exclusively with School of Fashion professors, Linda Ohrn-McDaniel and Archana Mehta, who have served as mentors throughout the process.
“It has been a roller coaster ride working on Supima with Jennie. Due to the pandemic, her printed fabric shipment got delayed and we had only a week and a half to stitch the final five pieces of her collection,” said Mehta. “Jennie is a quick learner - very organized and dedicated. She worked incessantly to achieve the looks she wanted, and it was a pleasure to work with her.“
To see the chosen looks and the winner of the 2020 Supima Design Competition, watch the show now on the Supima Design Competition Instagram IGTV page. Please visit their website for more information about the competition.