Now that the 7th annual Chicago Fashion Focus has come to an end, this is the perfect time to reflect on the city’s initiative to cultivate local talent. Having just seen a parade of various trades, be it designers, producers, stylists, models, photographers and more, it’s comforting to know that the city is trying to help these emerging artists find a voice. Chicago definitely has been and still is a launching pad for many careers.
The locally based high fashion, boutique, modeling agency Factor Women is no stranger to developing talent and launching them into the world of high fashion. As a matter of fact, the Spring Summer 2012 show season was dominated by some of Factor’s Chicago models.
-Katrina Hoernig, 19 year old, Whom you may have seen this week at the Millennium Park Tent, has just returned from fashion week, where she was featured by Marc Jacobs, Jeremy Scott, Charlotte Ronson and many more.
-Brittany Burke, 16 years old, spent several weeks traveling from New York to Paris and Milan. She was booked for one of the most coveted shows of the season –a Calvin Klein exclusive. She also walked in shows such as Rochas, Ungaro, Cacharel to name a few. She is back in the Midwest now, finishing high school.
-Ava Smith, the 22 year old Chicago native ended up booking shows such as DKNY, Helmut Lang, Mugler and many more. She was also featured in a show by the uber talented Chicago grown and New York based, design duo, Creatures of the Wind, as was the aforementioned Katrina.
-Maria Bradley, who is 17 years old, started her first show season with a bang, booked by her stellar agent straight from Chicago. She opened the much talked about Alexander Wang show. Ashley Brokaw proclaimed Maria one of top three new comers on Style.com. Maria was then also featured in Proenza Schouler, Tommy Hilfiger, an exclusive show for Versace and their other line Versus, as well as an exclusive show for Balenciaga in Paris. New York Magazine then featured Maria, three times, including an exclusive interview, as did WWD, Models.com and countless fashion blogs.
It’s exciting to know that all of these talented individuals started here in Chicago and that every year, there will be many more successes like these. As a matter of fact, many new models debuted this year in Factor’s exclusive shows during Chicago Fashion Focus, as well as many other emerging talents.
- Kasia Koniar, Guest Blogger
Tags: Alexander Wang, Ava Smith, Balenciaga, Brittany Burke, Cacharel, Calvin Klein, Charlotte Ronson, chicago, chicago fashion focus, Chicago Modeling Agency, Chicago Models, Creatures of the Wind, DKNY, Factor, Factor Women, Helmut Lang, Jeremy Scott, Kasia Koniar, Katrina Hoernig, Marc Jacobs, Maria Bradley, Models.com, Mugler, New York Magazine, Proenza Schouler, Rochas, Style.com, tommy hilfiger, Ungaro, Versave, WWD
I got to talk “fashion” w/ mayor daley at a press conference & fashion show (that’s me in front! pic found on bizbash) hosted by the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs at Macy’s to unveil Fashion Focus 2009- our “fashion week” 10/22-10/25- showcasing some of chicago’s top designers, featuring runway shows in Millennium Park, shopping events, student designer events, and industry seminars. Daley said “Fashion Focus Chicago has established itself as a wonderful way to support the city’s fashion community, highlight the talented artists who live and work here and draw people to the neighborhood shops that sell fashions by local designers.”
I thought it was also cool to hear from tommy hilfiger who was in the house talking about the Chicago Fashion Incubator, a program started by the city & Macy’s to help local designers launch their careers and make it big! Tommy, now the new mentor of the program, told all, “I am honored to be involved in this project and look forward to sharing my experience in the fashion industry with these designers.”
If like me & can’t wait to support our local chicago designers (and want to look really smart!), stop by the “Chicago Sidewalk Sale” taking place today & tomorrow (21st & 22nd) on Daley Plaza featuring over 30 Chicago-based designers & retailers, w/ noon fashion shows on both days, where you can meet some of the most amazing local designers & retailers around! Chicago boasts more than 400 designers and 375 independent fashion boutiques- this number will grow if we all support them 1st before choosing randoms out of habit. For more information, visit www.chicagofashionresource.com