Thursday, October 22, 2009

Macy's Designers of Chicago Trunk Show

Shop Macy's and local fashion at their annual Designers of Chicago Trunk Show today!  Local boutiques and designers will be showcasing their designs.

Monday, October 19, 2009


Make sure to catch Fashion Focus 2009 starting October 22!  Check out the schedule of events.

Headlining Runway Shows:

Macy’s presents the Designers of Chicago
Thursday October 22, 2009, 7:30 p.m.
Millennium Park – Chase Promenade North

Dress Code
Friday October 23, 2009, 7:30 p.m.
Millennium Park – Chase Promenade North

Gen Art’s Fresh Faces in Fashion
Saturday October 24, 2009, 8:00 p.m.
Millennium Park – Chase Promenade North

Vert Couture, Springtime in Chicago: An Evening of Fabulous Eco-Fashion and Environmental Responsibility
Sunday October 25, 2009, 6:00 p.m.
Chicago Cultural Center – Yates Gallery, 77 E. Randolph St

Designer Runway Shows:

Invention and the Obsolete: Abigail Glaum Lathbury
Thursday October 22, 2009, 9:00 p.m.
Prarie Productions, 1314 W Randolph St.

Horacio Nieto/Arlo Menswear
Friday October 23, 2009, 9:00 p.m.
EnVent Studio, 1376 W. Carroll Ave.
Le Jardin de L’Amour, Borris Powell Design Spring 2010 Collection
Saturday October 24, 2009, 9:00 p.m.
EnVent Chicago, 344 N. Ogden Ave.

Shopping Events:

Independent Retail Week’s Hot Spot
Monday October 19 , 2009, 5 – 7 p.m.
Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E Washington St

Fashion Fix: Squasht by Les Fall-Winter Collection Trunk Show
Thursday October 22, 2009, 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
Style Stop, 72 E. Randolph St

Elda De La Rosa
Thursday October 22, 2009, 4 – 6 p.m.
Style Stop, 72 E. Randolph St

Independent Retail Week’s Hot Spot
Friday October 23, 2009, 11:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
Watertower Pumping Station, 806 N. Michigan Ave
Fall Shopping Extravaganza
Friday October 23, 2009, 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
Style Stop, 72 E. Randolph St

Fashion Focus: Local Designers Emerge for the Cure
Friday October 23 – 24, 2009, 12 – 7 pm
Heidi Hess Showroom., 210 N Halsted

Tassels and Fringe
Friday October 23, 2009, 4:00 – 9:00 p.m.
Ellie Thompson + Co., 8 S. Michigan Ave., Suite 2203

Technicolor Lover
Saturday Oct 24, 2009, 10:00 am – 6:00 p.m.
Harris Theater Rooftop, 201 E. Randolph St

TZEN Couture Jewelry Trunk Show
Saturday October 24, 2009, 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
Style Stop, 72 E Randolph St.

Veronica Riley Martens Vintage Jewelry Trunk Show
Saturday October 24, 2009, 11:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Clever Alice, 1920 N. Damen Ave.

Silver Elements Collection
Saturday October 24, 2009, 12:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
The Art Institute of Chicago, 111 S Michigan Ave.

Julia Failey Jewelry at Grasshopper 510
Saturday October 24, 2009, 12:00 p.m. – 4p.m.
Grasshopper 510, 1944 N. Damen Ave.

Boudoir, Bourgeois and Boheme: Elise Bergman Fashion Installation
Saturday, October 24, 2009, 2:00 – 4:00 p.m.
Fashion presentation at 3:00 p.m.
Roslyn, 2035 N. Damen Ave.
Modahnik Debut
Saturday October 24, 2009, 4:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Style Stop, 72 E Randolph St.
Pick Your Poison presented by B Boutique
Saturday October 24, 2009, 4:00 – 6:00 p.m.
Poison Cup Wine and Art Boutique, 1114 W. Armitage Ave
Sporty Chic – Fashion, Comfort and Style in Peachy Tan Resort and Active Wear
Saturday October 25, 2009, 11 am – 1 pm
Style Stop, 72 E Randolph St

Industry Seminars

International Sourcing – the Ins and Outs of Getting Your Product Sourced, Produced & Delivered
Sunday October 25, 2009, 10 am
Chicago Cultural Center

The Ultimate Design Challenge: Finding a Job
Sunday October 25, 2009, 12 Noon
Chicago Cultural Center

Meet The Designers
Sunday October 25, 2009, 2:00 p.m.
Chicago Cultural Center

Marketing and Sales Strategies in Today’s Environment
Sunday October 25, 2009, 4:00 p.m.
Chicago Cultural Center

Other Events

The Nature of Diamonds
October 23, 2009 – March 28, 2010, Daily 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. (last admission at 4:00 p.m.), Closed Christmas Day

The Field Museum, 1400 S. Lake Shore Dr.
1400 S. Lake Shore Drive

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Make Me a Model

Mario Tricoci is hosting it's second annual "Mario, Make Me A Model" Contest and CFI is excited to be partnering!

At the end of August six finalists were chosen and paired with our DIR.

Jacquelyn Davis with Ashley Zygmunt for Zamrie; Natalie Feliciano with Jess Audey for Audey; Jennifer Harrison with Cynthia Ryba; Veronica Kaczmarek with Catherine Furio for Furio; Cori Munro with Nora del Busto; and bringing back one of our DIR from the beginning of the year, Brian Kerwin with Alonzo Jackson for Fashion Geek. Plus one runner-up, Tatiana, was paired with our DIR Anna Hovet!

The models will spend six weeks preparing to walk the runway at the 2009 Fashion Focus fashion show in October wearing pieces created by our DIR. Our designers' collections will act as inspiration for the finalists' Mario Tricoci make-overs. The DIR will work with the finalists on a photo shoot for Chicago Magazine while meeting with them to fit and style their looks leading up to the show.

Stay tuned for our photo shoot!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Designer/Buyer Matchup

CFI partnered with the Chicagoland Entrepreneurial Center's Stitches Fashion Program to bring local Chicago boutiques in to meet with our DIR to give them feedback on their collections and their buyer's presentations! Thank you so much to:

Clever Alice

Gamma Player
Habit Boutique

Friday, August 7, 2009

Buyer's Presentations

Sandra Henderson Williams, an instructor with over 30 years of experience as a buyer at Sears Holdings, met with the DIR today to talk about proper presentation skills when meeting with retailers. Thanks for your wisdom and insight Sandra!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

A Lesson in PR

We had a great workshop on creating press releases today with Andrea Schwartz, V.P of Media Relations and Cause Marketing for Macy's Inc. along with Brooke Vane, Public Relations Specialist for the Chicago Department of Tourism.

Their most important tip?

Make sure you have a true reason to send out a release and that you have an avenue to sell your wares. There's nothing worst than a customer reading a great story about your wonderful collection, but then not being able to purchase it!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Tommy Hilfiger and Terry Lundgren at CFI

It's all the buzz here at CFI as Mayor Richard M. Daley and Macy's announces Tommy Hilfiger as the Master Designer for the Chicago Fashion Incubator here at Macy's on State!  This announcement came along with the news that Fashion Focus Chicago was returning for a fifth year in October, an awesome opportunity for local Chicago designers to be featured in Millennium Park.

Tommy Hilfiger comes to CFI and the DIR and alumni got to take advantage of Mr. Hilfiger's industry experience in a round table discussion, seek his advice, and discuss key issues that will directly effect them and their businesses.  What an important day!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Small Biz Workshop

Special thanks goes to Esther Barron, a Clinical Assistant Professor of Law and representative from the BLUHM Legal Clinic and Small Business Opportunity Center (SBOC), and her fellow students for connecting with the CFI and helping our DIR to understand the legal realm of their designing business.

The SBOC provides affordable legal services to entrpreneurs and nonprofit organizations to help them make the right legal choices for their business to include trademark registration, copyright protection, and business license.

The workshop was invaluable to the DIR, we can't wait until their next visit!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Welcome Future Founders 2009!

The Incubator was visited by Future Founders on June 18th, a program launched by the Chicago Entrepreneurial Center in 2005 to give motivated high school students the opportunity to learn about and experience entrepreneurship in the Chicago-land community.

At the Incubator, the students were given the opportunity to ask the DIR, who have first hand knowledge of owning their own businesses, questions about how to get started, problems they have faced, and pointers on how to overcome these obstacles.

What a great opportunity to learn from each other! 

Monday, June 8, 2009

Training, Training, Training!

The DIR attended a workshop taught by the ever generous, Kathy Chrucky, about creating Technical Specification Packages.  These skills will become extremely useful when they start the production of their garments and will communicate to the manufacturer the sizes, measurments, grading specs, trims, and labeling instructions.

Always ready to learn here at the CFI!

Monday, May 18, 2009

The Business of Fashion

Wow. What a past week here at The Chicago Fashion Incubator (CFI)...

On May 11th our Designers in Residence (DIR) learned all about costing their garments. Costing is obviously essential to any great design business, but not valuing products correctly seems to be the biggest mistake that all new designers make. Thanks to the amazing Kathy Chrucky the designers have been hard at work breaking down their pricing structures.

On May 13th the DIR had their second Marketing Planning session with the incredible Ken Walter. SWOT analysis, competitive analysis, and target market psychographics are just a few of the great exercises the designers have been working on.

Today the DIR and I headed over to ORBA to learn all about Quickbooks - a near perfect tool for any small business, especially for a new designer to manage their accounting.

Ahhhhhh. Just another week here at CFI!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009


The Chicago Fashion Incubator would like to welcome Anna Hovet as a designer in residence for the 2009 - 2010 class. Anna will be taking the place of Alonzo Jackson whose line, Fashion Geek, has enjoyed enormous success in the past several months. With a solid business support structure in place, the Incubator board agreed that they could best support Alonzo externally and on an as-needed basis, making room for a designer who was at a more crucial stage in their career. Please find Anna's bio below.

Anna Hovet

With a passion to add beautiful and interesting things to the world, Anna Hovet moved from North Dakota to Chicago in 2003. She attended the School of the Art Institute of Chicago where she earned her BFA with a focus in design.

Anna’s determination to be a well-rounded designer led her to Chicago’s well-known store Akira, where she worked as a stylist and fashion show coordinator while in college. After graduating, she was hired by Kids Headquarters where she designed layette for Ecko, Calvin Klein, Kenneth Cole, and Target.

Anna is currently launching her first full collection – Anna Hovet Fall 2009 for women, and developing her newest concept – Hovet for men. She is also selling custom-made pieces to individual clients and at a local boutique.

Beyond designing, she freelances as a stylist and frequents art, music, fashion, and social events to evaluate developing trends and anticipate their usability.

Sunday, April 5, 2009


Industries tend to be full of acronyms. Perhaps it's because we are all so busy, but no one seems to like to spell out or say things completely anymore...

B2B,CEO, CRM, DBA, RFP, ROI, and my personal favorite from

BHAG - Big Hairy Audacious Goal.

So. We have decided to jump on board the acronym band wagon here at The Chicago Fashion Incubator at Macy's on State Street. Just  a few...

CFI - Chicago Fashion Incubator
DIR - Designers In Residence
ED - Executive Director

Monday, March 30, 2009

ABC 7 Chicago

ABC 7 Chicago - Behind the Scenes

Heading upstairs to the ABC 7 studio

Jess keeps us entertained as we wait in the green room

On the set

The segment closes with our 6 Designers in Residence

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Nora del Busto

Nora del Busto

Nora del Busto, a Michigan native with a passion for architecture, loves to design structured garments with precise detail and manipulating plain fabrics into extraordinary one-of-a-kind pieces.

Nora initially worked as a lawyer after receiving her Bachelor of Arts from the University of Michigan and her Juris Doctor degree from Loyola University Chicago School of Law. After working as an attorney for a few years, Del Busto decided she wanted to spend less time in the courtroom and more time exploring her creative side.

Del Busto recently graduated from the International Academy of Design and Technology and is currently working at Cintas as an apparel design assistant. When not working on a project she can be found taking a break on the lakefront running path training for the next marathon.  You can see more of Nora's work at

Cynthia Ryba

Cynthia Ryba

Cynthia Ryba, who began sewing and creating clothes at the age of 16, offers a unique alternative to everyday dressing. With great attention to detail, Ryba’s expertise lies with using conventional materials in an unconventional way. Molding and shaping fabric in an organic fashion, her silhouettes are fluid and imaginative transcending the fleeting, temporal trends of the day.

Past professional experience includes work as an International Accessories Buyer for the major retailer Claire’s Accessories (Japan based stores), an internship with Cynthia Rowley and work as a freelance milliner for musician Lenny Kravitz. In addition, she is a Fashion Group International award winner as well as a Richard Driehaus Annual Fashion Show participant and winner.

Ryba is a graduate of the International Academy of Design and Technology in Chicago where she earned a degree in Fashion Design. She is currently working on a line of day to evening professional womenswear dresses – available in stores in the spring of 2010. For more information please visit

Zamrie - Ashley Zygmunt

Ashley Zygmunt

Ashley Zygmunt, a Chicago native, began pursuing her interest in fashion at the School of the Art Institute Chicago, through the early college program and continuing at Purdue University in the Apparel Design and Technology program. In spring of 2007, she became the first student in the program to study abroad in Hong Kong at Hong Kong Polytechnic University.

Past professional experience includes design and production internships with Zac Posen, and Peter Som where she worked through two Mercedes Benz Fashion weeks. In addition, Zigmunt has freelanced for Li and Fung USA, in the Oxford collections division of the company, where she assisted with Norma Kamali for Wal-Mart, Just My Size, a plus sized label, and White Stag Fast Fashion, a high style mass marketed label.

Ashley graduated in May 2008 and is eager to elevate the fashion industry in her favorite city, Chicago.

Furio Apparel - Catherine Furio

Catherine Furio

Catherine Furio, a Chicago native, had a passion for creating and designing at a young age. Growing up, Furio spent Saturday’s working in her father’s menswear store where she was surrounded by fabrics, patterns and garments. Her enjoyment working in retail and her interest in the visual arts drew her to pursue fashion as a career.

Furio received her bachelor’s degree in apparel design from the Rhode Island School of Design in May 2008 and moved back to Chicago to pursue her career in fashion design. The collection can be viewed at

Audey Dresses - Jess Audey

image via

Jess Audey


Jess Audey began her sewing career in Cleveland, OH at the age of fourteen and spent most of high school sewing her own skirts and prom dresses. After moving to Chicago in 2001, Audey began to design and sell her own dresses to those interested in her luring style. Heavily influenced by her experience with tactile upholstery fabrics and custom orders, Audey strives to combine the perfect fabric and design for each of her garments.

Past professional experience includes work in the creative department at Chicago’s custom handbag company, 1154 Lill Studio.

Audey studied fashion design at Columbia College Chicago. Focusing on fit and timeless silhouettes, she launched AUDEY, her own design studio that is committed to the classic tradition of cocktail dresses with an innovative touch. Audey dresses are mix and match - pick from 5 different tops and 5 different bottoms, you can have 25 different dresses! Her line can be viewed at

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Fashion Geek - Alonzo Jackson

Alonzo Jackson

Alonzo Jackson or "Zoe," as he's fondly known, has taken the underground streetwear scene by storm. The Chicago south side native, who's mascot began with a quick sketch of a duck when he was seventeen, has grown into the face of the brand "Fashion Geek". Mixing contemporary, classic, and urban styling with a witty sense of humor, Alonzo has established a key customer base for Fashion Geek which includes Kanye West, Lupe Fiasco, Jermaine Dupree, Jagged Edge and most recently, in the XXL magazine on Young Jeezy. In addition, Fashion Geek Clothing has been featured in publications including Complex Magazine, Antenna and New City. In 2008, Jackson was accepted into the SLATE show at the International Magic Fashion Tradeshow in Las Vegas where he exhibited Fashion Geek Clothing's 2008 Fall/Winter Collection for worldwide buyers. Everything Jackson has learned about fashion design, production and manufacturing has been from pure fascination with the process. Jackson admires such designers as Ralph Lauren, Tommy Hilfiger, Louis Vuitton and Gucci.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Meet the 2009 CFI Designers In Residence

Second City Style wasn't the only site to quickly post the news about the CFI "passing of the torch" on 2/11/09. Our friends at Style Chicago and Runway to Retail were also quick to note all of the talent passing through the Incubator.

And now may we present...... drum roll please....... The Chicago Fashion Incubator Class of 2009!

Alonzo Jackson (Fashion Geek), Ashley Zygmunt (Zamrie), Catherine Furio (Furio), Cynthia Ryba (Cynthia Ryba), Jess Audey (Audey Dresses), and Nora Del Busto (Nora Del Busto).

Stayed tuned for a little more information on each of our new designers!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Welcoming in the New Class

Tonight was a special night, our first Designers in Residence welcomed in the new 2009 class and the wonderful ladies over at second city style were amongst the first to get the word out. Here's a snippet of their coverage, please click on the link to read the whole story.
Melissa Gamble introduced the 2009 designers. Left to right: Ashley Zygmunt, Alonzo Jackson, Cynthia Ryba, Catherine Furio, Jess Audey and Nora Del Busto. Photo courtesy of Second City Style.

"Last night there was a changing of the guard at Macy's. It was a celebration to wish the class of 2008 Chicago Fashion Incubator designers well, and to say hello to six designers who will be occupying their studio space within the offices of Macy's on State Street. The outgoing class included Kate Coxworth - Kate Boggiano, Yana German - YANA Collection, Kristen Rosynek Hassan - organiK Revolution, Glenn Mallory - 6Ace by Glen Mallory, Agga Raya - AGGA B and Lidia Wachowska - Evil Kitty."

On March 1st, 2009 we'll welcome in the brand new class! Stay tuned to meet:

Alonzo Jackson
Ashley Zygmunt
Catherine Furio
Cynthia Ryba
Jess Audey
Nora Del Busto