Saturday, October 22, 2016

Opportunities, updates and events at the Chicago Fashion Incubator

Message from the Chicago Fashion Incubator:


Please Join Us in Welcoming Our New Executive Director, Tonya Gross!

Tonya Gross joins the CFI after the City of Chicago's fashion initiative, Fashion Focus Chicago, and her role as Fashion Director with the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, were de-funded. Tonya brings deep experience in public programming, community engagement, small business development, and program and project management to the CFI. Tonya is the Creative Director of tonya gross millinery and Chicago Creative Consultants, LLC.

Tonya will be hosting a new salon series, D2D (designer-to-designer,) as a forum to connect designers to share best practices and build solutions that make an impact to the Chicago fashion industry beginning in 2017. Stay tuned! Want to connect/reconnect with Tonya? Email:


The 2017-2019 Designer In Residence Program Application Is Now Open!

Current DIR (left to right): Shruti Kirti, Anna Brown, Gabrielle Zwick, Conner Writt, Liz Bahl and Masha Titievsky

The Chicago Fashion Incubator Designer in Residence (DIR) is a two-year design and business development program for up to six apparel and (soft) accessories designers. The DIR are provided a creative professional environment to foster and grow their businesses. By offering low-cost design studio space, business mentoring, educational seminars, and networking opportunities, the CFI's DIR program provides a way for designers to work with business and design mentors to assess needs; develop design and business skills, resources and networks to become an integral part of the Chicago fashion community; and develop latitudes to reach global markets. The next cycle begins March 1, 2017 through February 28, 2019.

Applicants seeking consideration for entry to the DIR program at the Chicago Fashion Incubator must submit a FULLY COMPLETED application and pay a non-refundable $100.00 application fee, and meet all of the following criteria:
- be 21 years of age or older by the application deadline date
- design apparel and/or (soft) accessories for women and/or men
- established a main residence in the Greater Chicago area before March 1, 2017
- hold a City of Chicago business license or an application in process
- able to commit to the CFI DIR program including a minimum of 30 hours in the studio Monday - Friday during regular business hours
- attend scheduled 1/1 mentor sessions, seminars, and CFI media events, info sessions, and programs
- hold a Bachelor's degree in a fashion or fashion-related field is strongly preferred

The application is open until Sunday, December 4, 2016, 4:59pm CT. Selected designers to be announced the 3rd week of January 2017.

RSVP to attend one of the DIR application information sessions in November and apply at our website!


Upcoming Public Programs

Global fashion brands are developing a "see now, buy now" program, moving away from two season collections. This means the cycle of production (and marketing plan) is adapted for a more rapid production of apparel and accessories to make product immediately available online and in stores. Jane Hamill of Fashion Brain Academy will show you 3 alternative ways to run your fashion business in this business climate. Immediately following this program, join the Life Creative team for a tour of this incredible new shared maker and meeting space created by Event Creative and Venue One! November 4, 8:30-10am. $35 fee includes handouts and a light breakfast.

RSVP for 3 Alternative Ways to Run Your Fashion Business for the "See Now, Buy Now" Consumer


2017 DCASE Individual Artists Program (IAP)
Grants Information Session for Fashion Applicants

The Chicago Fashion Incubator is hosting a free Applicant Assistance workshop for the 2017 DCASE Individual Artists Program (IAP.) Join the CFI and DCASE and learn the grants process and how to prepare an application and address specific questions and topics related to funding a fashion-specific project or professional development Wednesday, November 16, 6-8pm at Life Creative. This is a FREE program. You must attend an Applicant Assistance Session as part of the grants application process.

Workshops will review updates to grant guidelines and eligibility requirements, review criteria and provide guidance to help applicants prepare the strongest, most competitive applications. Following the presentation, there will be time for applicants to speak with DCASE staff and ask questions.
IAP guidelines will be available at on November 1, 2016. The IAP Application period opens on December 1, 2016, and the Deadline for applications is January 13, 2017. Absolutely no extensions will be granted.

Life Creative, a new creative maker space, is located at 1655 West Walnut Street at Paulina, a 1/2 block from the Ashland/Lake stop on both the Green and Pink trains, the #9 Ashland bus, and is ADA accessible.

RSVP for this Applicant Information Session (or another session)

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