Fashion is a love of mine, always have been and always will be. Being from Chicago it always feels like we are several steps behind cities like New York when it comes to nurturing a fashion scene. It can almost seem nonexistent besides a couple fashion shows and blogs here and there. That’s why I try and promote every single thing the city does that shows a solid effort to promote fashion in Chicago, which is why I love The Fashion Incubator at Macy’s on State Street.
The Chicago Fashion Incubator (CFI) is a direct result of Mayor Daley’s Fashion Initiative. He recognized that fashion can have a huge impact on the city’s culture, tourism, business expansion and most importantly job creation and retention. I will be the first to admit that the process has been slow going, but I would rather slow progress than no progress at all. The most impressive thing to me about the CIF is the Designers in Residence program. It’s a program where the CFI provides six up and coming Chicago-based designers with the tools to launch their careers. The program starts in March and provides workshops and mentors that will advise the upstarts so they can get their designs to the public by way of local events and shows. They get a workspace, a showroom and everything else they need to get their designs made. Most importantly, they get the tools to grow their business in the city and hopefully that will make way to a more robust fashion scene.
The six designers were just announced and it seems like a nice mix of characters. The 2013 Designers in Residence are Agnes Hamerlik, Olivia Hwang, Lagi Nadeau, Katelyn Pankoke, Shelby Steiner and Takako Yamanaka. These six designers will be given the tools to thrive over the next year and I can’t wait to see the results. To learn more about the designers, including links to samples of their past work, click here. Make sure you pay attention, you may be purchasing one their designs very soon.