THE WALK, LAUNCH and Fashion Columbia: Chicago’s Finest Fashion Schools Host Senior Fashion Showcases
By Kate Jacobsen
One of the best parts of living in the third largest city in the U.S. is the vast amount of fine arts colleges. What comes along with all of those schools are the end-of-the-year senior fashion shows. For a fashionista, it can’t get much better than that.
My first stop was on Thursday, April 19th at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago’s (SAIC) annual fashion show entitled THE WALK 2012. This was a show that I had always heard so much about, yet never had the opportunity to actually attend until now. As a first-time attendee, I wasn’t sure what to expect but had heard three stereotypes:
1. The show is super long
2. The designs are incredibly artistic and mind-blowing at the same time
3. The most stylish people in Chicago come together for Chicago’s biggest night in fashion
After attending, I can safely say that I was not disappointed and that all three proved to be true.
Number 1: The show was long for a few different reasons. For one, the sophomore and junior design majors were given the opportunity to showcase their work; sophomores were allowed one look each while juniors were allowed three. The seniors closed out the show with five-look collections.
Number 2: Reference the photos included in this post. Self-explanatory.
Number 3: To ensure that I was going to fit in with Chicago’s finest in fashion, I did some serious shopping damage. Money well spent.
SAIC truly deserves the recognition it gets for its prestigious program, which was built through years of pushing the envelope in fashion with forward-thinking and a strong focus on incorporating true art into the design element. For the 2012 show, I was the most impressed by the talent and advanced skills of the sophomores and juniors. It was also refreshing to see so many students dabbling in menswear as well as taking it to the next level.
After the runway show, the successes of SAIC alumni and Class of 2012 stand-outs were celebrated with a scholarship and internship awards ceremony. The 2012 SAIC Legend of Fashion Award was presented by SAIC President Dr. Walter E. Massey to fashion designer Cynthia Rowley and her artist husband, Bill Powers. Celebrity fashion host, Mickey Boardman of Paper Magazine, closed out the show and sent the stylish crowd on their way to the after-party held on the rooftop terrace of Harris Theater. All in all, it was truly an inspiring evening filled with fashion and was spent with some of my favorite industry friends, new and old.
The next show came a couple of weeks later when my alma mater, Columbia College Chicago put on it’s fourth LAUNCH on Friday, May 4th as part of Manifest, Columbia College’s Annual Urban Arts Festival. As one of the producers of the show last spring, I welcomed the opportunity to go to the show as a supporter and attendee. I was not only there to cheer on some of my dearest college buds but also some of my Agency Galatea models who walked the runway (yes, my day job is at a modeling agency).
It was a proud moment for me to watch the culmination of four years of my friends’ hard work go down the runway in this show. I was there when many tears were shed, heard the woes of having to spend thousands of dollars, and witnessed endless hours of slaving away.
With their open-to-the-public senior showcase out of the way, the best-of-the-best of Columbia College (15 to be exact) were hand-selected by a jury to have their collections featured in the resurrected Fashion Columbia on Friday, June 8th at Columbia’s Media Production Center. With a two-year hiatus, this annual spring fundraising event is being brought back in full force by Chicago fashion icon, Nena Ivon. Ivon previously held the position as the Director of Fashion, Special Events and Publicity for 50 years at Saks Fifth Avenue.
Chair for the event is CEO of Johnson Publishing Company, Desiree Rogers, which is only fitting as net proceeds will benefit the newly established Eunice W. Johnson scholarship in Fashion Studies. Jewelry Designer Lana Bramlette will receive the Alumni Achievement Award in Fashion Design for her highly successful line Lana Jewelry. The host committee is made up of the following tastemakers and influencers:
- Trish Rooney Alden
- Madeleine Moore Burrell
- Gwendolyn L. Butler
- Bonita Chapman
- Nora Daley
- Janice Barnes Davis
- Susan Downing
- Elissa Hamid Efroymson
- Rich Gamble
- Ikram Goldman
- Mary Lou Haddad
- Mellody Hobson
- Susie Kiphart
- Julie Latsko
- Sylvia Neil
- Diane Primo
- MK Pritzker
- Shawnelle Ritchie
- Smita N. Shah
- Lynn Turner
- Allison Grant Williams
With a roster of Chicago’s finest heading up the host committee, the evening is bound to be a huge success and a step in the right direction for the budding Fashion Studies department at Columbia College Chicago.
Show your digital love to these schools by following them on Twitter and Facebook: @ArtInstituteChi, @CCCFashion, School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) The Walk and CCC Fashion Studies Department.