The New Fashion Capital of the Midwest: A Look at Chicago Fashion Week
A month after models strutted the runway at New York Fashion Week, Chicago hosted its own collection of runway shows hosted by FashionBar, a fashion consulting firm that provides a platform for local designers and brands, national and global.
According to FashionBar, Chicago Fashion Week’s mission is to “transform Chicago into the fashion capital of the Midwest by advancing emerging and established talent.”
From October 10 to 17, the creators unveiled a total of 27 collections across nine shows focused on different identities and styles, including the Bridal Show, Next Gen Show, Eco-Friendly & Sustainable Show, Trans Media Show, Ready-2- Wear Show, Swimwear Show, Urban & Streetwear Show, Modest Show and Evening Wear Show.
Chicago Fashion Week is a biannual event for designers from all walks of life to showcase their collections to a wider audience and celebrate the city’s unique flavor.
“Chicago is trying to establish itself as a fashion destination,” said Kevin Ross, partner of Chicago Fashion Week.
Compared to Los Angeles or New York, Chicago may not be a city of fashion. Los Angeles is known for its plethora of modeling agencies and New York for its iconic fashion brands. Nestled between the two fashion capitals of the United States, Chicago is breaking out and forging its own identity within the fashion world. Chicago Fashion Week is an opportunity for the city to reflect on its uniqueness and showcase diverse talent, said Tony Long, CEO of FashionBar.
“Diversity, inclusion, culture – that’s what makes Chicago great,” Long said.
Long took these values and put them at the heart of the Chicago Fashion Week shows, centering each show around an identity or style, rather than a specific designer or collection.
At the Modest Show, designers showcased their collections with hijabs, burkas and other traditional Muslim clothing. At the Trans Media Show, transgender and gender non-conforming models took center stage. At the Ready-2-Wear show, the designers presented collections inspired by modern tastes.
The overall theme for Chicago Fashion Week was “Health is Wealth,” with an emphasis on wellness and personal care. In addition to the catwalks, FashionBar featured “The Marketplace”, a group of 15 vendors selling clothing, accessories and wellness products.
“Wellness is the foundation of everything you do for a living,” Long said.
Chicago Fashion Week powered by FashionBar will be back this spring, to prove Chicago’s potential as yet another fashion capital filled with new designers, collections and styles.