Thursday, December 8, 2011

"Made in Chicago" T Shirts - The Perfect Holiday Gift!

Have you ever noticed that Chicagoans are full of pride for their city?  Yes we do have utterly freezing long winters and not so honest politicians, but don't let us catch you saying anything badly about Chicago or else!  We are born, bred, and "Made in Chicago."

Majority of the Designers at the Chicago Fashion Incubator pride themselves on the fact that their garments are created and manufactured locally.  CFI itself focuses on supporting Chicago designers and giving them resources to help create successful businesses.  CFI has taken that effort one step further and created an organic "Made in Chicago" T shirt that not only allows you to show your pride for the city you love, but also helps support the Chicago Fashion Incubator and our mission to support local fashion designers.  

Dare we suggest that this could be the perfect holiday gift for that special Chicagoan in your life?  These limited addition shirts are available for purchase in our Etsy store (CFI Etsy Store), get one before they are gone!  Look fashionable and help support your local community of fashion designers!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Buyer's Event and Media Presentation

The Chicago Fashion Incubator recently held an exclusive buyer's event and media presentation at Macy's on State Street in our 7th floor event space. Buyers and media were invited to view the spring 2012 collections of our resident and alumni designers, who were showcased at our Fashion Focus Show last month. To those who joined us - thank you, your presence was much appreciated!

See below for highlights from the event!

The fabulous designers of the Chicago Fashion Incubator.

The DJ kept everyone dancing with his innovative mix of oldies and pop music.

Modahnik by Kahindo Mateene.

Cettina by Concetta Cipriano.

Gidi by Teneasha Prunty.

Eric Kipp.

Siobhan by Shavonne Dorsey.

Crystal B. Designs by Crystal Simms.

C/FAN by Christina Fan.

ZAMRIE by Ashley Zygmunt.

Miriam Cecilia.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

The Style Tribe Sports C/FAN and Zamrie

Young fashion darlings of local Chicago blog The Style Tribe indulged in a shopping spree at our LAUNCH/CFI pop up shop---and came out covered in C/Fan and Zamrie, lines of our beloved past DIR members Christina Fan and Ashley Zygmunt, respectively.  Take a peek at what Nicole, one of the 5 Style Tribe girls, chose to play dress up with!

Image via The Style Tribe


The Chicago Fashion Incubator is taking the world by storm!  With our sartorial machine's success gaining steam, we are pleased to see that the media has taken an interest in us---call us the einstein of the fashion and retail industry!  We were the subject of an article written by an organization called Changing Gears.

Changing Gears is a public media project interested in exploring the economic transformation of the industrial Midwest, through the stories of people driving and experiencing this change.  Our Executive Director Lara Miller was interviewed for the article, as was past DIR Stephanie Kuhr (creative mind behind her line Dottie's Delights) and Donaldo Smith (main man of his brand Killian Gui).    

Happy to have been recognized---read up

CS Praises Pop Up Shop Opening

For the fashion minded Chicagoan, one knows to, nay takes pleasure to, page through the current month's Chicago Social Magazine.  Well you can imagine our delight when skimming through CS's coverage of art affairs, cultural celebrations and socialite soirees, we saw our very own fashionable festivity!  With compliments galore (gosh're making us blush!), take a look at the LAUNCH Pop Up Shop Opening rave review in the June 2011 edition of Chicago Social.

The Salon Series: Lara Miller

We at CFI, are not one to brag, BUT when one of our own has a special event---we like to shower them with attention!  On Monday, June 27th, The Salon Series will be featuring CFI's Executive Director Lara Miller for an exclusive dinner soiree in Wrigleyville.  The series will spotlight the limited, oversized bamboo/organic cotton blend scarf collection created out of the brilliant collaboration between Lara Miller and JC Steinbrunner---the founder of The Salon Series.  Each individual scarf from the collection will be hand-silk screened with Miller and Steinbrunner's sketches and will come to life in the following colors: sage, dusk red, cream, light blue, and dark blue. The evening will kick off with refreshing bubbly, a to-die-for trunkshow, AND a reduced 30% off on specials and special orders on the 2011 hand-loomed collections.   The event will open the floor to guest of honor: Lara will offer a discussion of her inspirations and goals, as well as the hard knocks of being a Windy City designer.  The stylishly subtle affair already has a hot following with Racked Chicago and Refinery29...

CFI Public Open House

Exciting news, my eager readers: July 28th, we are opening our studio doors to the public for a peek behind the CFI curtain!  Join us this Thursday evening and see how the Chicago Fashion Incubator machine operates....or should I say creates!  Come see the space that serves as the drawing board for fashion innovation!  Get up close and personal with our DIR: have a chat about their process, see their sketches come to life, and view the garments they have so masterfully created.  It should be an afternoon of fashion and fun so be sure not to miss it, we'd love to see you there!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The Four P's

Prada, Pucci, Proenza, Posen.....?  Can't keep a girl from dreaming.

Sorry to break your fashion concentrated hearts, dear readers, but today, the four P's in question are not rooted in the above mentioned immaculate design houses.  Instead, they refer to the four essential P's in fashion and retail marketing: Product. Place. Price. Promotion.  Although these elements may not be as aesthetically pleasing as Prada's fall runway collection, they are still an exciting key to success in the industry!

The idea of the P's came from Nicole Rehyle of, a boutique blog and support firm for retailers and wholesalers.  She explains the four P's presence (excuse the alliteration) in the industry as well as four other factors that play into fashion credibility.  To get the whole story from the horse's mouth (and in this case, the horse is a zebra sporting this season's chic stripes), read Nicole's piece and apply those P's to your fashion dreams!

A Blog About A Blog

Hello! This is Katelyn Finn, I'll be blogging for the Chicago Fashion Incubator a bit this summer!

With social media invading our thoughts, and every answer to every question imaginable at our internet capable finger tips, I have to beg the question:  how does a fashion designer take advantage of this online marketplace?

As I was writing my daily submission....POW!  The idea was right under my nose (literally and figuratively) : a blog would serve as the perfect vehicle to both establish and further promote an emerging designer with his or her line.  Agreeing with me on this point is Jane Hamill, a Chicago fashion professional herself.  She is the founder of Jane Hamill Consulting which is a firm that works with fashion designer companies on the business side of things. On her own blog, Jane spotlighted the DOs and DON'Ts  of the operational management of a fashion design blog written by Erika Gimbel, a Chicago freelance writer.  Take care to study these helpful tips, my fashion forward readers!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce Breakfast

As they say, "the early bird gets the worm....", but in this case, we should say: "the early bird gets a fabulous fashion preview"!  This morning at the Hilton Chicago, our current DIR and past CFI alumni designers had the opportunity to showcase their pieces on the the runway at the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce Breakfast.  The event, themed "Chicago: The Great Global Marketplace", highlighted the city's business driven creativity and innovation.  The keynote speaker of this event was Macy's Chairman, President and CEO: Terry Lundgren who was being honored for his dedication and innovation in the retail industry.  Another attendee, our city's Mayor Rahm Emanuel, spoke on issues in the Chicagoland business arena as well.  CFI is honored to be apart of such an exciting Chicago event!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Designer Bio: Shavonne Dorsey

Last but not least, our sixth 2011 Designer in Residence is Shavonne Dorsey of Shavonne Dorsey Apparel.  Described as simple and powerfully feminine, the Shavonne Dorsey collection specializes in fashion and fit for the plus size market. Each Shavonne Dorsey design reflects the elements of a stylish, opulent and classy woman. The line features perfectly fitted sheath dresses available in a wide range of sizes. Timeless, classic designs are updated with special details that add a twist of originality, essential to making the Shavonne Dorsey customer feel special.  Be sure to take a look at the beautiful collection at

Designer Bio: Kahindo Mateene

Continuing with our study of CFI Designers in Residence, the next designer to keep a eye on is Kahindo Mateene.   A graduate of the Illinois Institute of Art – Fashion Design Program, she is influenced by the dichotomy of her vibrant African heritage fused with western design sensibilities. The brightly colorful African print is the signature of Modahnik, the designs are modern, feminine and visually appealing with an underlying sexiness.  Modahnik has a socially conscious mission at its core: to produce in Africa using fair trade practices.  Indulge in the Modahnik experience at

Designer Bio: Eric Kipp

A modern perspective to classic menswear with a commitment to quality and U.S. manufacturing, Eric’s line focuses on sharply tailored suits and separates that easily transition from office to evening. Eric is a graduate of the Fashion Institute of Technology, New York. His extensive experience in a wide range of menswear was a platform for launching his custom tailored clothing company in Chicago. Eric is using his residency at CFI as a launching pad for a new ready-to-wear line. Browse over the fine suits of Eric Kipp Custom Clothiers and get the latest news about his new collection at

Designer Bio: Crystal Simms

Wanting to learn every in and out of the fashion industry, Crystal Simms (our designer of the day), graduated from The International Academy of Design and Technology in our own fair city.  Upon graduating, Crystal wanted to continue her path in design and began working for a prestigious Chicago based couture house.  After gaining valuable experience in the field, she established her own line, Crystal B. Designs.  Embracing the female figure, Crystal B. Designs fuses architectural form with a womanly silhouette to create a garment nothing short of amazing. Check out her designs at

Designer Bio: Concetta Ciapriano

As promised, we continue our profiles of the 2011 Designers in Residence at the Chicago Fashion Incubator.  Our next designer in question has had, what you could describe as, a lifelong love affair with the art of design.  Concetta Cipriano is utterly fascinated with the concept of transforming a simple yet metamorphic piece of fabric into a fully developed work of art.  Cipriano's pieces strive to express the delicate balance between between femininity and structure,  between intricacy and simplicity.  Her line, titled Cettina, is an aesthetically pleasant equilibrium of strength and beauty---the same elements the embody the women she designs for.  To view more of her sartorial creations, visit her website:

Designers in Residence Bio's: Taneasha Prunty

The Chicago Fashion Incubator at the Macy's on State serves as home to six highly talented and innovative designers.  With fall fashion season in full swing, it is only natural to give you an insider's look to the world of our blooming designers.  Today's show stopper is Taneasha Prunty: the creative mind behind her line, Gidi.
After studying finance at UIC, Taneasha decided to follow her passion and try her hand at designing elegant evening wear for the sophisticated woman.  Running with her idea  that every woman should invest in classic staples, Taneasha created a line that provides timeless beauty, or as she calls it "relaxed couture."  Aesthetically, she connects the subtle sophistication of vintage with the modern flair of the contemporary.  With such a striking appeal, the impression of her line is always unforgettable. Be sure to take a peek at the exciting new evening wear line, Gidi:

Friday, May 20, 2011

The Driehaus Awards for Fashion Excellence

Tonight is a who’s who of the Chicago fashion scene:  the 10th Annual Driehaus Awards for Fashion Excellence celebrates the spectacular talent coming through Chicago’s design woodwork.  The evening features a runway show with looks to kill, an awards ceremony highlighting outstanding achievements in design, and a silent auction.  The night’s proceeds benefit our very own CFI!  We at The Chicago Fashion Incubator are always thankful for just about anything fashion related, but we are extremely honored to be the beneficiary of the Driehaus Design Initiative!

The generosity of the Driehaus Design Initiative have given us the opportunity to develop a Resource Center that will benefit not only our CFI designers, but also all Chicago based designers.   Thank you, Mr. Driehaus!

Thanks for the shout out, Refinery29 Chicago !

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

VitaminWater Inspiration by design

Please join VitaminWater and The Chicago Fashion Incubator for a night of inspiration. 

May 12th, 2011
6PM VIP reception
7PM design competition 

Attendees MUST be 21 years of age.
Space is limited, VitaminWater will distribute final confirmation on May 6th.

Lara Miller
The Chicago Fashion Incubator at Macy's on State Street

Thursday, April 14, 2011

A, B, C to Z

Agga B., C/FAN & Zamrie: covering the literal and figurative A, B, C's of fashion know how!  And a girl who definitely has her sartorial degree is Jena, The Style Tribe third fan of CFI's DIR collections at the Pop Up Shop.  Choosing items from three of our designer's lines, she packs a punch of color and style individuality in this look.  We are so happy to have pleased the chic girls of The Style Tribe!

Image via The Style Tribe

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Local Lovin'

Chicago can't seem to get enough of CFI's local fashion flavor!  Erin, another member of The Style Tribe, is pleasantly partial to the sartorial stylings of DIR Anna Hovet and Ashley Zymunt's Zamrie.  Feel free, readers, to feast your eyes on the lovely pairing of the designer pieces Erin chose from CFI's 900 N. Michigan Pop Up Shop!

Image via The Style Tribe

Friday, March 18, 2011

LAUNCH/CFI Party: New DIR Introduced!

LAUNCH/CFI was a smash hit success!  For all of those in attendance, we are thrilled that you could join us!  For those who couldn't be there, words can not explain the amazing displays of fashion that were present, but we'll do our best to set the scene:  
Located on the 5th floor of 900 N. Michigan Shops, the annual CFI  pop up shop was the perfect back drop to showcase the fantastic designs from both alumni designers and our new Designers in Residence (DIR) all while raising funds for our incredible organization. 

Guests sipped on their choice of refreshing cocktails from Svedka along with a variety of flavors from vitaminwater and vitaminwaterzero served by Blue Plate CateringKIND Snacks were paired with Barefoot Wines along with tasty bites provided by Frankie's Scaloppine and treats from King Cafe.  A lucky group of  Gilt City Gives ticket holders were able to shop the store and meet the designers before a crowd of over 350 of Chicago's fashion media and industry insiders came to celebrate.  A chic crowd added to the the visually spectacular main event: the CFI garments.  To put it plainly: the level of sartorial perfection was at an all time high.
Equally as exciting as the aesthetic of the designs sported by FORD models cat walking around the pop up shop, was the formal introduction of our new class of DIR:

From left to right: Shavonne Dorsey, Eric Kipp, Concetta Cipriano, Kahindo Mateene , Taneasha Prunty, Crystal Simms  (Refinery29 profiled our fabulous new DIR!)
To say the LAUNCH/CFI attendees took an intense interest in the designers' original pieces would be an understatement!  The new DIR hit a fashion home run---three cheers for CFI!  Congratulations to our six new Designers in Residence: we are so proud of you and look forward to your great success to come!

Over all the LAUNCH/CFI event was an enormous success and there is only more fashionable entertainment to come: exclusive trunk shows, fashion shows and other fabulous events.  If you are looking for a more low key but equally fashionable outing?  Perhaps to shop or browse beautiful, chicago based lines?  The pop up shop is open on Thursday through Sunday for your shopping pleasure.  See the below CFI pop up shop calendar for special events and store hours.

Insiders tip:  In the upcoming weeks, we will give you the opportunity to get a closer look at these talented new scene stealers.  Designer Biography pieces will give readers a bit of a background of the designers, as well as an inside peek at each line and collection.  Should be a sartorial treat!

ALSO:  check out Fox Chicago interview with our very own Lara Miller and CFI Alumni Kate Coxworth!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Partners in Fashion Crime

In keeping with our Chicago community based mission, we eagerly jumped at the chance to partner with Columbia College’s Fashion Studies Department.  

Only being a few weeks into their Chicago Fashion Incubator experience, our six Designers in Residence have the incredible opportunity to pair with Columbia students enrolled in a course titled “Decision Making: Fashion Management.”  This class focuses on the fundamentals of critical business decision making that are necessary in developing a competitive edge in today’s fashion/retail business market.  Groups of three to four students pair with one of the six CFI designers to perfect the designers’ business plan.  At the semester’s end, the student teams will give presentations highlighting the most relevant needs of their field work. This symbiotic relationship offers designers the benefit of Columbia’s academic influence, while simultaneously giving the students the opportunity to get hands on experience in the fashion/retail industry.  

Good luck to both our CFI designers and Columbia students---can’t wait to see the finished product!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

March 15th - Meet the 2011 Designers at Launch/CFI!

2011 Launch/CFI invite 

Click on the invite above or here to purchase tickets


And be sure to save the dates for a month of full of shopping and shows! 


 2011 Launch/CFI Events Calendar

Lara Miller

The Chicago Fashion Incubator at Macy's on State Street


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The Chicago Fashion Incubator | 111 N. State Street 11th Floor | Chicago | IL | 60602