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Fashion, Runway Shows

28 March 2013 / By Gabriel Charles Tyler

Designs Inspired by the Threads of Time: CFF presents Future of Fashion Chicago


Chicago Fashion Foundation’s (CFF) hosted its 6th annual scholarship benefit at the Hard Rock Hotel on March 21. The annual event, which serves as a celebration of the local, emerging fashion community, focused this year’s theme around the “Threads of Time.” It was the first time in six years that the show sold out.

Fifteen student designer finalists representing local fashion colleges competed for scholarship prizes. Following the theme of this year’s show, the emerging designers were instructed to choose a time period as their inspiration. The judges were some of the best in Chicago’s fashion scene, including handbag designer and Project Accessory contestant, Diego Rocha, and Macy’s VP of Media Relations, Andrea Schwartz.

Before the student contestants got their chance to have their designs rip the runway, viewers got the chance to see the 2013 capsule collection from Elena Bobysheva, the designer who took home the $5,000 grand prize in last year’s competition with her Ukrainian Village inspired look.

CFF Elena A. Bobysheva 521373_442724329142267_1315551961_n

Bobysheva stuck to what she knew best for her collection, using black as her base, and blending in printed lace and classic silhouettes. You can’t deny the adorability of her designs. It was interesting to see her growth from student designer to emerging designer. In fact, helping students merge the gap is what the CFF competition is all about.

While many of the student designs were great, two of the looks really stood out, and should have been in the running for first place. Dominican University’s Erin VonKannon created a dramatic wire cage dress that was very avant garde. While I loved the idea behind VonKannon’s design, it was Harper College’s Myra Chung that really stole the show for me. Chung, who came in 3rd place, got “Gone with the Wind” fabulous with her piece influenced by the 1860’s. The white cocktail dress, with intricate ruffles and beading, really looked like a piece Natalie Portman would have worn in Black Swan. The construction of the dress and the elaborate details coupled with the styling (it was worn as a tunic with cigarette pants)  completelly won me over.

CFF CFF Myra Chung

While I was rooting for Chung, it was the “celebration of life” piece by Harper College’s Agnes Hamerlik that snagged the highly coveted grand prize, the $5000 scholarship check named in honor of patron Doris Scott Behr. The design wasn’t commercial, but it struck a cord with the judges as well as the audience because it told a story:  the celebration of life and its complexity, from beginning to end. The cut-out hand stitching on the sleeves and the hand-cut, yarn heart really captured my attention. I see a future in fashion costumes for Hamerlik.

Photo Credit: Gabriel Charles Tyler

Photo Credit: Gabriel Charles Tyler

Scholarship competitions like “Future of Chicago Fashion” are very necessary. Each year, the student designers bring their passion and stories to life in the form of their designs. It is always interesting to see what they create during the early phases, not tainted by the pressures of generating capital. I can’t wait to see what’s in store for the next go ’round.

Which piece was your favorite?

Photos credited to David Stephens Photography, unless otherwise noted.

Events, Fashion, Fashion Events

19 March 2013 / By Nikia Jefferson

Scholarships and Friendly Competition: CFF presents Future of Chicago Fashion


CFF Invite

Who doesn’t love witnessing a friendly competition among design students?

Student designers always show the most innovative looks on the runway. And with a $5,000 scholarship up for grabs, you can expect every student will undoubtedly bring their A-game. That’s exactly why the Chicago fashion industry looks forward to the Chicago Fashion Foundation’s student design competition every year. It’s also one of the few times you get to directly support the next generation of local fashion designers.

This year, contestants hail from IADT, Columbia College, Harper College, College of Dupage and Dominican University. And the roster of judges will include industry heavy hitters like hand bag designer and Project Accessory contestant, Diego Rocha, and Macy’s VP of Media Relations, Andrea Schwartz.

To get your hands on those tickets, click here.  Remember, this event will not only serve up the best in emerging fashion, but it will also help to support the dreams of some outstanding students. Are you in?

Events, Fashion Events

13 March 2012 / By Gabriel Charles Tyler

Street Style: Chicago Fashion through Chicago Communities

Last week, ten emerging fashion designers showcased their talent during the Chicago Fashion Foundation’s 5th annual Future of Chicago fashion show event at the Chicago Cultural Center. This year’s theme, “Street Style: Chicago Fashion through Chicago Communities,” challenged the fashion students to create looks inspired by Chicago.

One of the night’s highlights was the host Corri McFadden, founder of eDrop-Off and star of Vh1’s new reality show “House of Consignment.” I was also pleased to see Chicago’s luminary fashionistas, including Chicago Tribune social columnist Candace Jordan, former Project Runway contestant Peach Carr, and Akira owner Erikka Wang, judging the show.

This year’s design student contestants were the School of the Art Institute students Kara Fenoglietto, Elaine Hoang, Tosha Sherman, Michelle Castellano, Kendel Kennedy and Crystale Crubaugh; Illinois Institute of Art students Elizabeth Leukuma, Raven Norman and Stacie Randall, as well as Elena Bobysheva of Columbia College.

While I was excited about seeing the pieces the young designers created, I was really captivated by the beautiful design of the venue. The Chicago Cultural Center never disappoints! Given the event’s theme, I believe it was quite fitting to have the showcase at a location where the city’s cultures converge.
The participating fashion design students created innovative pieces that brought street wear to the runway. I was amazed at the maturity in terms of overall look and construction that some of the designers displayed. The students presented looks representative of the signature street style of local Chicago neighborhoods such as Rogers Park, Chinatown, Andersonville and Ukrainian Village.

Congratulations to Columbia College student Elena Bobysheva for winning the 1st place $5,000 prize for her winning look inspired by Ukrainian Village (pictured above). Everything about Bobysheva’s design was right! From the midnight black deep v-neck blouse to the cobalt blue thigh-high split, the entire looked worked and illustrated the cultural vibe of Ukrainian Village. I loved it!

So, what do you think? Would you wear the winning look?

*photo credit – Chicago Fashion Foundation

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