Celebrate the art and industry of fashion and its “makers,” October 14-19

The Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) is pleased to announce the premier events for Fashion Focus: Chicago’s Fashion Week, October 14-19, a citywide celebration of Chicago’s fashion industry. Highlights during the week include a Fashion Town Hall and networking event for industry professionals; runway shows at the Chicago Cultural Center and in Millennium Park showcasing the latest trends, emerging and established designers; shopping events and much more.

“Chicago’s fashion community is made up of numerous emerging and established fashion designers, boutiques and artists,” said DCASE Commissioner Michelle T. Boone. “The City’s fashion initiative is focused on enhancing opportunities, nurturing talent and shining a spotlight on the art and business of fashion in Chicago.”

In 2006, the City of Chicago launched Fashion Focus Chicago, an initiative to foster and elevate the business of fashion in Chicago. Fashion Focus provides mentorships and educational opportunities with industry experts – and creates promotional opportunities for designers through programming and vending opportunities at City festivals and industry events.

What does it take to nurture talent and build successful fashion brands? This question will be explored at a special kick-off Fashion Town Hall and networking event on Tuesday, October 14 at the Chicago Cultural Center (78 E. Washington St.) from 6-9 p.m. The town hall will convene industry professionals for a panel discussion with the “makers” and the process of and resources needed to create successful fashion businesses in Chicago.

Chicago fashion icon Nena Ivon will serve as the Keynote Speaker for the Fashion Town Hall. Ms. Ivon will share her expertise and industry knowledge. She was a staple at Saks Fifth Avenue Chicago for 53 years where she served as Director of Fashion, Special Events and Publicity for a number of years and is now directing her expertise towards educating fashion studies students at Columbia College Chicago. Ryan M. Beshel, ,marketing lead for Purely Fashion, Publicist for 900 North Michigan Avenue and runway model agent for Agency Galata, will serve as the event’s emcee.

The Chicago Cultural Center will play host to two FREE runway shows and selling events on October 15 and 16 in the Sydney R. Yates Gallery (4th Floor North).

On Wednesday, October 15, Sanford-Brown College (formerly the International Academy of Design and Technology) will present REVOLUTION runway show featuring innovative creations from the school’s junior, senior and graduate fashion designers, in the Sydney R. Yates Gallery from 7-9 p.m. Included in the show will be emerging designers Javonica Sapp and her 2015 line of bridal gowns and Mamie Kapend-Ngewebwa’s 2015 African print inspired line.

The Chicago City of Learning program continues on Thursday, October 14 with the ReImagine Jazz Collection Student Runway and Selling Event by STEAM STUDIO in the Sydney R. Yates Gallery from 6-8 p.m. The pop-up design studio and maker space will showcase the output of efforts students apply to media production skills, creative techniques and design thinking to solve real-world challenges. STEAM STUDIO is inspired by design, innovation and pop culture with a focus influenced by Science, Technology, Engineering,

Art and Math. STEAM STUDIO participants earn fashion focused digital badges in design, photography, collaboration, completing projects through the Chicago City of Learning Program.

Even more Fashion Focus events will take place in Millennium Park.

Back for its seventh season on Friday, October 17 is The Art of Fashion Runway Show presented by in Millennium Park. This popular show will feature 10 spring 2014 looks from 10 Chicago-based designers. The VIP event begins at 6 p.m. and the runway starts at 7:30 p.m. Designers include: Annie Andrews, Calvin Tran, Christina Karin, Eva Pazola, Hector Javier-Monarrez, Heidi Hess, J Toor, Mark Roscoe, Ricorso, Shernett Swaby, Squasht and Voyeur by Vex. Tickets are currently on sale at

Northern Grade will bring the latest in menswear to Millennium Park in the Chase Promenade South tent on Saturday, October 18 and Sunday, October 19 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Northern Grade is a mobile menswear market featuring vendors of products manufactured in the United States. Items for sale include clothing, footwear, gear, games, paper goods, grooming supplies and much more.

Fashion Focus 2014 will also present FashionChicago®, the designer shopping event in Millennium Park on Saturday, October 18 and Sunday, October 19. This shopping extravaganza will feature more than 30 of Chicago’s best apparel, jewelry and accessory designers. The event will take place from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. in the Chase Promenade North tent at Millennium Park on both Saturday and Sunday. Dressing rooms will be provided.

Fashion Focus: Chicago’s Fashion Week is presented in part by the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events and programmed with the assistance of the Mayor’s Fashion Council. For more information on the City of Chicago’s Fashion Initiative and Fashion Focus: Chicago’s Fashion Week, visit or join the conversation on Facebook (Fashion Focus Chicago) and Twitter, @FashionFocus.

Note to Media: For media credential instructions visit the “Press Room” or email

Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events

The Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) is dedicated to enriching Chicago’s artistic vitality and cultural vibrancy. This includes fostering the development of Chicago’s non-profit arts sector, independent working artists and for-profit arts businesses; providing a framework to guide the City’s future cultural and economic growth, via the 2012 Chicago Cultural Plan; marketing the City’s cultural assets to a worldwide audience; and presenting high-quality, free and affordable cultural programs for residents and visitors.




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