Fashion Focus Chicago 2009 Schedule

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Here’s the complete schedule for this week’s Fashion Focus Chicago, in unedited form from the city:


Fashion Focus Chicago, a celebration of Chicago’s thriving fashion industry, returns for a fifth year in 2009. Running from Thursday, October 22 through Sunday, October 25 Fashion Focus Chicago showcases some of the city’s top designers, and features runway shows in Millennium Park and at various locations around the city as well as shopping events, and industry seminars.

For the first time this year, Fashion Focus has partnered with some of downtown Chicago’s most chic hotels to offer special shopping packages and exclusive Fashion Focus amenities. Guests will have the opportunity to enjoy a personalized experience at one of these world-class hotels while immersing themselves in Chicago’s hip fashion scene.

For more information, including making reservations for Fashion Focus 2009 events or booking hotel accommodations, please Read the rest of this entry »

The New Look

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Every year, dozens and dozens of designers show at Fashion Focus Chicago, many for the first time. Here are a few, beyond Maria Pinto of course, who seemed especially buzzworthy this year.

Shorty Clothing
Shorty bookended the week, opening with GenArt’s Fresh Faces in Fashion and closing out by winning Macy’s Distinction in Design competition.

5p1t’s on a roll of its own, starting with recognition by Fashion Group International as a Chicago Rising Star, followed by an appearance in the venerable “Chicago is Red Hot” show and capped by an appearance at Fashion Focus in Macy’s Designers of Chicago show.

Abigail Glaum-Lathbury
Glaum-Lathbury was one of the few designers repeating an appearance from last year (when she was a GenArt Fresh Face), with her show as part of the Allure of Couture evening.

Agga B
Agga B was one of four local designers sponsored by Toyota to develop work inspired by its i-REAL concept; she also showed as one of the inaugural designers in the Chicago Fashion Incubator project housed at Macy’s.

Anna Fong
Another Toyota i-REAL designer, Fong showed during the Macy’s Designers of Chicago show; she’s been picked up to be sold at Macy’s this fall.
—Brian Hieggelke

Designer Spotlight: Abigail Glaum-Lathbury

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Line: Abigail Glaum-Lathbury

Background: Glaum-Lathbury, a Philadelphia native, studied design at the School of the Art Institute. After several stints working for other designers, she started her own eponymous line because “it became clear that it could be a reality.” She made a splash on the design scene with a showing in the Gen Art Fresh Faces runway show at Fashion Focus 2007.

The pieces: Structured, architectural clothing crafted from rich fabrics. With a focus on neutral colors, her collections are simple, expertly tailored, and combine clean lines with movement.

Designer inspirations: French designer Madeleine Vionnet. “She changed my way of thinking about patterns. She taught me that there aren’t really rules.”

Chicago inspirations: “The space. I have space to think.”

On being a designer in Chicago: “Everybody is very human here. It’s not about being a rock star, being cool. Everything superficial is beside the point. It’s just about working.”

What to look for: Glaum-Lathbury turns to a variety of things in the world for her collection inspiration—and once you know what to look for, you can easily spy it in her work. Look for a Fall ’08 collection inspired by the neurological system, and a Spring ’09 collection inspired by chickens.

Where to find Abigail Glaum-Lathbury: At Bucktown boutique p.45. View her work on her Web site,


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1643 N. Damen, (773)862-4523, [ratings]
Goods: Clothing and accessories for women. Designers: Clothing by Jeffrey Monteiro, Inhabit, Humanoid, 3.1 Phillip Lim, MiH Jeans, VPL, Abigail Glaum-Lathbury; jewelry by Toki Collection. Owners: Original owners Tricia Tunstall and Jessica Darrow opened p.45 in 1997; the shop was one of the first boutiques on Damen Avenue. When Jessica left to pursue a life in nonprofit endeavors, Judy Yin Keller became Tricia’s junior partner. Vibe: Exposed brick walls, recycled rubber floors and steel table frames set a tranquil stage. The sales staff is personable, polite and never overbearing. Price Range: Moderate. The Look: Effortless and eye-catching at the same time. A woman who knows her personal style. The pieces at p.45 feature impeccable craftsmanship, brilliant fits and fit the wearer to a tee. Shopper’s Perks: Onsite events range from book readings to roundtable discussions to trunk shows.



New Kids on the Fashion Block

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As Fashion Focus Chicago kicks off this month, there’s no better place to check out the brand spankin’ new designer talent than at the Gen Art Fresh Faces in Fashion show. The young designer showcase (in its fifth year in Chicago, sixteenth in New York) has garnered a reputation as the place to view up-and-coming talent, and has helped designers like Zac Posen, Rebecca Taylor, Michelle Tan and Orlando Espinoza to the next level. According to Gen Art Chicago director Amanda Nosal, fashion designers are definitely in need of extra support.
“One of the main things for designers is to show their collections during fashion week. Doing that in New York costs $50,000 and up, but it’s the only way to get collections in front of everyone all at once,” she says. The Gen Art solution? Sponsorship. Each sponsor’s logo graces the stage behind one of the collections, allowing them to showcase ten young designers, many of whom would have remained undiscovered without the helpful boost.
To create the show Nosal spends the year scouring the scene for buzz-worthy designers. A few months before the final selection she contacts in-the-know shops like Jake and Hejfina to see what new local lines they’re excited about. With many of this year’s designers on only their second or third collections, the pool of talent will undoubtedly be fashionably cutting-edge. “I think this year we’re showing designers that I haven’t heard a lot of talk about [outside the fashion industry],” Nosal says. “They’re really new and really fresh, which is exciting” Included on the list are womenswear designers Abigail Glaum-Lathbury and Moire Conroy, menswear line Wrath Arcane and accessories collections by Winifred Grace and Kinsley Handbags.
While the short-term goals of the show focus on exposing our local talent to the fashion world, their long-term ambitions involve turning Chicago into the next great designer haven.
“Chicago has great designers, but not a ton to pick from. I hope as the show and Fashion Focus grow that more designers are encouraged to stay and create their business here,” Nosal says. “That’s what the goal is.” (Molly Each)

The Gen Art Fresh Faces in Fashion show takes place October 9 at 7:30pm at Millennium Park. For ticket information check out or