Inside the Chicago Fashion Incubator at Macy’s, you’ll find 6 talented Chicago-based apparel designers ready to grow their business and come into their own creative aesthetic. These Designers in Residence, a title they’ve been given secures them with office and studio space at Macy’s on State Street during this one year program.
The curriculum, robust and comprehensive leaves no piece of the fashion development process untouched. The designers cover everything from the fashion calendar, business plans, time management, marketing, costing and other vital topics. Each week they have a one-on-one meetings with the program’s Director of Education and mentor, Jane Hamill, founder of Fashion Brain Academy to discuss their progress, successes and challenges ahead. Whether it’s talking about sourcing options or reviewing first samples, like Lagilelei Nadeau of Lagi Nadeau who is transitioning from jewelry to womenswear for the next season, it’s clear that the incubator is a collaborative, fostering environment.
The program is supported by great city partners such as The School of the Art Institute, SCORE, Fleishman-Hillard and gives these designers the opportunity to tap into their expertise. They’ve also received tangible benefits. Rachel Frank, a ready-to-wear designer worked with students at Colombia College to help create a marketing toolkit specifically for her brand which she uses regularly. There’s even the designer-buyer match up program connecting them with various local retailers that helps prepare them with the realities of working with stores.
What seems to be clear is that they all understand that it takes time to build a fashion brand and are committed to learning everything they can. Already, they have participated in an in-store collaboration at Macy’s showing designs they created for under $100 inspired by the perfume brand Hanae Mori and next up is a fashion show during Fashion Focus Chicago this October.
For these designers, the end result will not just be their new collections, but solid businesses that represents Chicago fashion and shows them the outcome of what time, commitment and creativity can result in.
Learn more about the Chicago Fashion Incubator at Macy’s.
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