NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 07: Alexandra Pijut, Savannah College of Art and Design walks the runway at Supima Design Competition SS18 during New York Fashion Week at Pier 59 on September 7, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by JP Yim/Getty Images for Supima Design Competition)
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SCAD Alumna Alexandra Pijut Debuts at NYFW with Supima
Alexandra Pijut is no stranger to having her work on the runway. This past spring quarter, she was one of few seniors selected to present her senior collection at SCAD’s inaugural FASHWKND.
After being featured on Fashionista’s 38 Standout Looks from the show, being snapped on Teen Vogue’s Instagram story, and a couple of other nods of approval from leading fashion publications, Pijut was chosen to represent the university in the Supima Design Competition a week before graduation.
“My Spring/Summer 2018 collection that I just showed at NYFW was quite different than what I showed at SCAD FASHWKND,” Pijut says. “My senior collection is luxury ready-to-wear… that created this hybrid of streetwear and formalwear. My Supima collection is an extension of the concept that I developed during my senior year, but I took it into a much more formal eveningwear direction with feminine, quirky silhouettes and unexpected colors.”
But SCAD students have been known to take the cake at this competition.
Jeffrey Taylor (B.F.A., Fashion Design, 2016) took home the grand prize in 2016 and so did Kate McKenna-Schliep (B.F.A., Fashion Design, 2015) the year before.
“Once I showed my senior collection at SCAD FASHWKND, my sights immediately shifted to competing in the Supima Design Challenge,” says Pijut. “We began draping the following Monday [after graduation] and had our first fitting in New York five weeks after that.”
With no summer vacations, Pijut’s passion continued to be a constant source of fuel during her journey towards debuting at New York Fashion Week. She says she used Skype to stay in contact with Supima and get their feedback, along with her mentor New York-based designer Bibhu Mohapatra, to make the changes necessary before moving to final fabrics that she developed in collaboration with SCAD’s Fibers department.
When asked about what obstacles she faced Pijut said, “My main challenge was achieving the number of manipulations that I wanted in the short amount of time that I had.”
For Supima, she wanted to utilize intricate pleating and smocking techniques with Supima fabrics hand screen printed and foiled.
“It was a tall order in the amount of time that we had,” Pijut said, “but they were techniques that I didn’t want to compromise on, and it paid off in the end.”
It definitely did pay off when the final looks strutted along the catwalk at New York Fashion Week.
“My first time showing at NYFW was completely surreal,” Pijut says. “I had been working on the collection and anticipating that moment for so long that I almost couldn’t believe it was happening.”
Opening Alexandra’s Supima collection was a screen printed and hand foiled strapless denim hi-lo dress over a one-shouldered, smocked collar organza slip dress. A mouthful, right? That’s because it required impeccable craftsmanship to create, which Pijut happens to acquire.
The pièce de résistance wasn’t necessarily one piece, but the garments that showcased Pijut’s remarkable vision and execution of the smocking techniques along the corsets. Her use of color vividly depicts a quirky sense of femininity that she aimed to deliver in her debut, and she did it well.
Pijut’s work culminated in a strong debut five-piece collection.
According to Pijut, June Ambrose, host of this year’s Supima show, approached Pijut and expressed to her how much she loved the collection.
“Knowing that people I look up to like the collection as much as I do has been the biggest reward,” Pijut says.
So what’s next for the designer?
She says it’s still in the works. With the vision of her own label forming, Pijut thinks it’s best to gain some more experience in the industry learning and designing under an expert in the industry, but she is “staying open to possibilities and opportunities.”
Written by Anthony O’Baner
Images courtesy of LaForce