By Jasmine Cen
The Art of Fashion 2015 highlighted Chicago’s fashion week with local designers, slick looks and a push for neighborhood boutiques.
StyleChicago.com organized the runway show to present work created by 11 Chicago-based designers included Borris Powell, Shernett Swaby, La Nisay, J.Toor, Alyce Paris and others.
“I want to see what they can offer. You know, what younger stylist and fashion designer are bringing to Chicago,” said Ausrine Kerr, an artist from Evanston who was at the show.
J.Toor, a local men’s suit brand, won audience popularity with a suave mix of British heritage-inspired looks and city style. When J.Toor’s logo lightened up on the screen, the audience welcomed the models with louder cheers and applause.
“You know, it is one thing to go from concept to design, and to style it. But when you actually see it on the runway and in front of the crowd, there is nothing like it,” said Diana McCarthy after the show. McCarthy is one of the three designers from J. Toor.
Ricorso’s theme for the runway show was “be timeless.” He featured everyday outfits for women. One collection emphasized floral prints while another glamorized subdued colors. Alyce Paris showed a collection of mermaid evening gowns.
The runway show fashions came up for sale on Oct. 10. This year’s attendance outperformed last year, with 15,000 people visiting those two events, according to Johnathan Smith, the founder and CEO of StyleChicago.com.
“I think the designers were better this year. I think the weather was better. It probably didn’t hurt that the Chicago Marathon was in town. It exposed our designers to a whole new group of people,” said Smith.
The runway show was just a part of the Fashion Focus CHIcago premier events hosted by Chicago’s Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) between Oct. 4 and 13.
This is the 10th anniversary of Chicago’s fashion week. With the city’s initiative, the DCASE put more effort to amplify the local brands and designers in this year’s events.
“As a part of the festival, we are inviting those who are visiting Chicago, as well as Chicagoans, to go out to the neighborhoods and see boutiques in Wicker Park and Bucktown, Bronzeville, Lincoln Park, River North,” said Tonya Gross, program director of fashion and culinary at DCASE, “Extending that invitation out to the neighborhoods where great designers happen as well.”
For the first time, the fashion focus week brought in the Council of Fashion Designs of America (CFDA) for an exclusive event. The council includes Michael Kors, Vera Wang and the other pioneers in the fashion industry.
This exclusive event provides local designers with opportunities to present look books to the council. Selected designers will be able to bring their brands to the other major fashion events in the future.
“Are we encouraging people to come to Chicago to shopping? Absolutely. So this is where the city come into assist so that we can help to spotlight the designers that are showcasing in Millennium Park,” said Gross.