Category Archives: Links

Recap: More 2014 Fashion Focus Chicago Events

Fashion Focus Chicago is always a crazy week if you’re in the industry… after Tuesday’s Town Hall kick-off event, the rest of the week was filled with shows and events.

I attended the Sanford-Brown University’s student fashion show on Wednesday evening, with my husband. The student show is always fun to watch, and see what new and creative ideas they are experimenting with. I’m also on the Academic Advisory Board for the fashion program at the school, so it’s a little personal as well. The show was held at the Cultural Center, and I have to say, a better show than last year’s event! The theme was pop art, so models wore colorful wigs and held up comic signs reading things like “Pop!”, “Wham!”, etc. Very fun.

10516614_10101612119596808_4879873575085500764_n 10615581_10101607424076668_432737621794928781_n

Thursday evening I attended the AIBI Open House, visiting my good friend, designer Lauren Lein, who sells in the Made in Chicago store that AIBI has in the heart of the Magnificent Mile shopping district. I also met a few new faces, and saw my friends Flo and Diana from Fine Fabric Sales.

IMG_20141016_212619 IMG_20141016_212740

The StyleChicago.com‘s Art of Fashion show at Millennium Park is the big event of the week, held on Friday, and was not one to miss. My husband again came to check out my world of fashion, and we had a fun time. The show was fantastic and featured 12 designers. My favorites were Shernett Swaby (whose dress I wore that night), and Voyeur by Vex.

10603503_10154724542510076_1705941501804742031_n IMG_20141018_111106-2 IMG_20141018_195732

Saturday and Sunday are more low-key, but the week is definitely not over yet! StyleChicago.com had their annual FashionChicago Designer Shopping event in the tent, and Northern Grade also hosted their shopping event in another tent on the other side of the park. I enjoyed checking out both events, and got a head start on my Christmas shopping. At Northern Grade, I got to visit a few friends (Glass House Shirt Makers and Stock Manufacturing), and learn about some new companies. We also ended up purchasing a great wool jacket for my husband from Tradition Creek, where I also picked up a pair of deerskin mittens for myself for future snowmobiling trips this year.

IMG_20141018_162049551_HDR

Recap: Fashion Focus Chicago & Fashion Town Hall

This recap is a few weeks behind, but I wanted to share my experience at Fashion Focus Chicago 2014. The week started on October 14th with the Fashion Town Hall kick off event at the Chitownhallphotocago Cultural Center. The program, headed by Mayor’s Fashion Council director, Tonya Gross, featured speakers from the various fashion organizations, including AIBI and Fashion Group International, the Macy’s Fashion Incubator program, and all of the local colleges with fashion design programs.

One of the interesting organizations I learned about was HIVE Chicago, which networks high school students with local designers and companies for internship and learning opportunities. I also found out that the SAIC’s fashion resource center is open to the public, I will definitely need to make time to check that collection out!

 

IMG_20141011_102344

The presentation highlighted some great companies and designers here in Chicago, including Shernett Swaby, Lagi Nadaeu, Oxford Clothing and Optimo Hats.

swaby  laginadaeu   oxford optimo

Nena Ivon gave the keynote address, and was very interesting to listen to. She’s a current instructor at Columbia College, and has an extensive background in fashion from working as a the marketing director for Saks Fifth Avenue. She gave advice to designers about promoting themselves, and the importance of wearing your own products (or bringing a model with you to events if you design for another market):

“I’ve one of one, I’ve never been one of many.”

“Who knows you better and your product better than you do?”

She also pointed to some figures that show that the Midwest will become the hub for the country by 2025 (let’s see!)

Following the program, emcee Ryan M. Beshel led a panel discussion with some industry figures including Nena Ivon, Maria Anderson (of Agency Galatea), Diana Michelle and Jivesh Toor from J. Toor (honored in September by FGI as Rising Stars in Menswear), Lagi Nadeau (honored by FGI as Rising Star in Women’s Apparel), and Jonathon Smith of StyleChicago.com.

fashiontownhallpanel

Some take-ways from the discussion (paraphrased):

Ryan M. Beshel: Take your blinders off and look outside of the city, and country for inspiration.

Jonathon Smith: Figure out the business side of fashion before doing runway shows. Take advantage of mentorship expereiences.

Nena Ivon: Listen to honest feedback, it’s not personal. 

Diana Michelle: Know yourself and how to communicate and define your personal brand. Also, maintain relationships and figure out who do you want to do business with.

And some exciting news, the Chicago Fashion Resources listings are back!

resources

Made in America – Gaining Popularity

I have always thought that having clothing and other products made in America was an important issue. We as a country have long been outsourcing jobs and importing goods, and apparel and sewn products make up a huge amount of those imported goods. A recent poll by Adweek Media/Harris Poll showed that 61% of Americans are more likely to purchase a product if it is “Made in America.” Only 3% would be less likely to purchase.

The study goes on to show slight differences in results between different areas of the country. Midwesterners are most likely to purchase American-made products, with 67% of respondents agreeing with that statement. Though other areas of the country had slightly lower results, all had 57% or more who agreed. Surveyed by age, older consumers, those over age 55, are most likely to purchase products made in the USA. 75% of those in that age group agreed. Younger Americans, those 18-34, were only 44% more likely to purchase products made in the USA, though 52% said they were neither more or less influenced to purchase by country of origin.

The full article can be found here at MarketingCharts.com.

Regardless of your personal patriotism, I think it’s important to support the American worker. Products made here are basically guaranteed to not be made using child-labor, substandard or unsafe working conditions, and to pay their employees a fair wage. You can’t regulate a factory overseas as easily or effectively.