Putting the Chic in Chicago: Fashion Focus Spotlights Local Designers

Chicago is pulling ahead of the competition for the most fashionable city! One of the hottest events in town, Fashion Focus: Chicago’s Fashion Week was a citywide celebration of Chicago’s fashion industry presented in conjunction with the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) and the Mayor's office. Highlights during the week included a variety of runway shows in Millennium Park showcasing the latest trends in menswear, emerging and established designers, shopping events and much more.

The week kicked-off on Tuesday, October 15, with Designer and Muse. Hosted by the City of Chicago, this opening, private event partnered with local celebrities in the creative industries (music, culinary, film, theater and dance) with a designer who created a look for his or her “muse” that was showcased throughout the evening. Pairings included: Maria Pinto and Jeanne Gang (architecture), Azeeza Kahn and Alpana Singh (culinary), Shernett Swaby and Mindy Segal (culinary), Diego Rocha and Naomi Beckwith (visual arts) among others.

Fashion Focus: Taking it to the Streets followed the next day and could best be described by a quote from fashion icon Coco Chanel, when she famously said, “Fashion is not something that exists in dresses only. Fashion is in the sky, in the street, fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live, what is happening.”

This fashion extravaganza welcomed international designers Sarah Stevenson from Toronto Fashion Incubator and Christine Phung from the Atelier de Paris, an incubator program in the City of Light. Chicago designers included Lagi Nadeau, Shelby Steiner Agnes Hamerlik, Randall Hill, Laura Takataka, Nicole Puszynski, J. Toor and Chicago Playground.

The Art of Fashion Runway Show returned for its 6th season presented by StyleChicago.com. This popular show featured 10 spring 2014 looks from 10 Chicago-based designers who included Maria Pinto, Calvin Tran, Eva Pazola, Borris Powell, Lily & Migs, Michelle Tan, Mark Roscoe, Hector-Javier MonArrez, Shalini Sharma and Shernett Swaby.

A ground-breaking plus-size event, CURVES.COUTURE.CHICAGO, was also held at the Millennium Knickerbocker Hotel during Fashion Week. Sponsored by Chevrolet and ProjectThyck, the event's emphasis was on local plus-size designers and entertainment. The fashions were top-notch and Val Warner was the charming emcee for the event. They showcased Steve Harvey’s Men's Collection, too, with some very handsome male models. I love that this group, Thyck Troupe of Chicago, spotlights talented, curvy women!

Home to over 400 local designers and 300 independent boutiques, Chicago boasts one of the most creative fashion communities in the country. The City of Chicago’s Fashion Initiative, started in 2006, partners with the industry on resources and high-profile events for local designers and independent boutiques to gain visibility, learn about the business of fashion and elevate the industry. For more information on the City of Chicago’s Fashion Initiative and Fashion Focus: Chicago’s Fashion Week, visit fashionfocuschicago.org .

Love our fashion forward city!

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