Earlier this month, the Chicago Fashion Foundation held their 8th Annual Design Competition and Showcase at the beautiful Chicago Cultural Center. This year, the event was billed as ‘A City Within A City’, where looks focused on a contemporary adaptation of a piece inspired by the historic Merchandise Mart in River North. Fox 32 News Chicago Reporter Tisha Lewis served as emcee for the show.
The competition showcase this year featured not only emerging student designers, but also alumni and established Chicago fashion designers. Those emerging designers were 14 students enrolled in fashion-related studies at Chicago-area universities who debuted their looks on the runway to vie for academic scholarships.
First place winner, Stephany Munoz, was awarded a $5,000 scholarship and the title of “Future of Chicago Fashion 2015 Winner.” Hannah Linder was awarded $1,000 as runner up, and Myra Chung was awarded $500 as the third place winner. The judging panel included a mix of fashion industry professionals including: Diala Joseph (Fashion Blogger), Rachelle McCray (Host, CelebTV), Frances Renk (Entrepreneur/Philanthropist), Diego Rocha (Handbag Designer), Andrea Schwartz (VP, Media Relations for Macy’s North Central Region), and Souk Supantavong (Stylist & Lifestyle Blogger).
Fashion design students aren’t the only ones able to compete. For the second year in a row, the competition also included the opportunity to receive scholarships for fashion industry business students. Students had to submit a business proposal detailing a new product or plan in the fashion industry. Concepts could vary from a retail store concept to a marketing promotion or even a store layout. Tessa Bullen was announced the winner that evening and she received a $1,500 scholarship presented by Pilar Saiki, fashion stylist and faculty in the Fashion Department at Harper College.
Last year’s winner, Alexander Knox, made an appearance and also showcased several of his design pieces on the runway. Knox has found extended fame in the fashion world as a Season 13 contestant on popular reality competition show, Project Runway. Additionally, established Chicago designers — Gidi, Gabrielle Zwick, Daniel George, Mark Rosco Design — collections hit the runway.
Over the past seven years, the Chicago Fashion Foundation has awarded $47,000 to Chicago-area fashion design students to help them further their education and pursue a career in the fashion industry. To learn more about the foundation visit www.chicagofashionfoundation.org.