Alyssa Wardrop, 22, a 2017 FIT Fashion Design graduate, has won the 2017 Supima Design Competition with her capsule collection, made with Supima cotton. The announcement was made by stylist June Ambrose following a New York Fashion Week runway show held on Thursday, September 7 at Pier 59 Studios. Wardrop was one of seven students from leading U.S. design schools who were challenged to create capsule collections of women’s evening wear that highlighted the unique characteristics of Supima cotton. Wardrop won $10,000.
Wardrop, of Rockaway, NJ, graduated from FIT as a Fashion Design major with a concentration in Sportswear and a minor in the History of Art. Her BFA thesis advisor was Jonathan (KYLE) Farmer, who will work with her again when she enters FIT’s new MFA program in Fashion Design in the fall of 2018. Wardrop was also a CFDA Fashion Future Graduate Showcase finalist this year.
The Supima Design Competition challenges each designer to rethink familiar fabric conventions. The seven designers—each of whom was nominated as a top graduating senior by their school—were provided fabric from some of Supima’s brand partners, including Brooks Brothers, Albini, Olimpias, Olah Inc., Nice Dyeing, and UNIQLO. Each was also assigned a faculty mentor. Wardrop’s was Daniel Silverstain, a faculty member in FIT’s Fashion Design Department, which is chaired by Eileen Karp.
Designs were judged on originality, execution, and the ability to showcase Supima cotton. The judges were: Nicole Chapoteau of Allure; Jade Frampton of Elle; Tracey Greenstein of WWD; Sarah Krauss of S’well; Carmen Lilly, stylist; Fern Mallis, founder of New York Fashion Week; Tyler McCall of Fashionista; Scott Morrison of 3X1; Paige Reddinger of Daily Front Row; Zachary Weiss of Observer; Alexandra Wilkis Wilson of Fitz & Co.; and Katharine K. Zarrella of Fashion Unfiltered. Bibhu Mohapatra, a graduate of FIT, served as a designer mentor to the contestants.
The Supima Design Competition, now in its 10th year, was created to give runway exposure to emerging talent and is modeled on the legendary 1954 Wool Secretariat competition that launched the careers of the then-teenaged Yves Saint Laurent and Karl Lagerfeld. Since its start, former Supima Design Competition winners have gone on to launch their own labels, show at New York Fashion Week, and win jobs with top international labels. Supima is the nonprofit brand that promotes 100 percent U.S.-grown luxury cotton for the apparel and home fashion industries.
In addition to FIT, students from Drexel University, Kent State University, Parsons School of Design, Rhode Island School of Design, and Savannah College of Art and Design participated.