Japanese Fashion Takes on Philly at the Sakura Collection Fashion Design Awards

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By Gary Wooten

Philadelphia hosted the first Sakura Collection Fashion Design Awards in North America on July 6. Beginning in 2012, the Sakura Collection has hosted fashion design competitions around the world to challenge young artists to create designs using traditional Japanese textiles. This year, the designers used Enshu Men Tsumugi, a rare, hand-made fabric, to construct their pieces to feature in the Sakura Collective Grand Prix at the Iron Gate Theater. 

Contestants for the Philadelphia competition were tasked with designing and constructing two looks of their choice for women, men or children utilizing Enshu Men Tsumugi. The judges for this particular event are as follows: Elissa Bloom, Executive Director of the Philadelphia Fashion Incubator at Macy’s Center City, and Osamu Saito, Established Yohji Europe S.A. The winner of this competition was awarded a free round ticket trip to Japan.

“We are the SAKURA COLLECTION Fashion Design Award team, which aims to connect Japan's traditional industry with young creators from around the world to generate new ideas for the future. We are happy to invite you to our next fashion show in Philadelphia.” - Sakura Collection

For the competition, the 10 finalists were given the stage to debut their designs for the packed audience in attendance at the theater. The creativity of these artists was extraordinary; all of the designers were given the same fabric and managed to construct completely different interpretations of the traditional and non-traditional Japanese styles. There were dresses, pant suits, capes, jump suits, skirts, hats, handbags and more–all with intricate details to showcase their unique point of view. 

From the pool of 10 designers, three were selected for awards presented by the event sponsors. The first award, sponsored by Nukumori Koubou, was presented to Risa Fugetsu for their pair of men and women’s outfits. The second award, sponsored by Mt. Fuji Japanese Steakhouse, was presented to Lon’yea Ellis for their pair of children’s outfits. The winner of the Sakura Collection Philadelphia Gran Prix, receiving the ANA award and round-trip tickets to Japan provided by All Nippon Airways, was Mahdiya Trudeau-Williams for their pair of women’s outfits. 

“Thank you to Sakura Collection for hosting this amazing competition, and congratulations to everyone who participated–this was a really amazing event and I loved everyone’s designs. Thank you so much for the award!” - Winner Mahdiya Trudeau-Williams

This event was an amazing way to engage and showcase the Japanese community here in Philadelphia. In celebration of the Japanese community, Mayor Kenney and Mikio Mori, ambassador of the Consul General of Japan in New York, were present at the event to offer their support and show their commitment. Global Philadelphia Association looks forward to seeing more competitions from the Sakura Collection in our global city showcasing and exposing young artists to the Japanese culture within our community. 

Visit the Sakura Collection’s website to keep up to date with future events. The next event is scheduled for October 8 at Japan Village in Brooklyn, NY.
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