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