SAIC presents art and fashion on the runway

The room was filled with electricity as over 500 fashionistas, art lovers and supporters gathered around a packed runway at Venue Six10 at the Spertus Institute to witness art and fashion on display presented by 20 of Chicago‘s emerging designers. And they did not disappoint!

Students from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago’s (SAIC) fashion design program showcased avant-garde collections inspired by intimate personal experiences and social issues at the 83rd annual SAIC Fashion Show.

“Eight hundred miles from the ready-to-wear capital of New York City, Chicago offers the freedom to explore fashion without limits,” said Anke Loh, Sage Foundation Chair of SAIC’s Fashion Design department. “That freedom was made especially evident in this year’s show in the range of issues represented by student designs, from stories of immigration and displacement to gender roles, identity, and equality.”

A crowd favorite included senior Oscar Chen, whose work sought to challenge society’s gender roles. “Inspiration for this collection came from the playful gayness of performance artist Leigh Bowery and Robert Mapplethorpe’s concept of undressing, aiming for a fun, sensual collection that challenges hetero-normative dress codes,” said Chen in a statement about his work.

Before the runway show, Nick Cave, SAIC’s Stephanie and Bill Sick Professor of Fashion, Body and Garment, awarded Master of Design graduate student Nick Mahshie the RumChata Foundation $20,000 fellowship grant to support continuing fashion design work beyond graduate studies at SAIC.

Alumni of the SAIC fashion design program include Halston, Cynthia Rowley, Gary Graham, and Maria Pinto among others. Pinto, who attended the show, will receive an honorary doctorate at SAIC’s commencement later this month. (See fashion show finale here!) (Additional photos by Jim Prinz).

Congrats to all these wonderful designers! Every one of them is a winner!

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