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The elite year-long residency for new designers, sponsored by the City of Chicago's Fashion Initiative and Macy's have chosen the newest crop of talent for the 2012 term. Each year The Chicago Fashion Incubator in an eleventh floor hideaway at Macy’s on State Street, chooses six emerging Chicago-based designers and hands them work space, mentoring and industry resources to launch their collections.
Sarah Church’s fashion career began in Ohio in 1999, when her custom garments were featured in boutiques that catered to many subcultures. In 2000, Church moved to Chicago to attend the Illinois Institute of Art Chicago where she received her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Fashion Design. In 2009, she designed custom tour outfits for bands such as Janus and Heart Set Self Destruct, while creating a women’s collection on the side. Sarah started www.churchxoxo.com in 2011, which features several different collections, including her custom designs and ready-to-wear as well as vintage pieces.
Brooke Conrady moved from Kansas to Chicago to get her degree in Fashion Design from The Illinois Institute of Art – Chicago. Upon graduation, she worked with a local clothing designer for several years and decided it was time to branch off and create her own line, blank nation, a contemporary women's ready-to-wear clothing line. Conrady’s pieces are easy to wear, knit dresses that work for various body types. Her main focus is utilizing fashion and creativity to give back to the communities who are supporting her business. She chooses a new charity each month and donates a percentage of sales to help those in need.
Britney Devaris studied fashion design and merchandising at Dominican University. Her ready-to-wear collection is innovative, trendy and eye-catching due to her manipulation of fabrics which allows her to be very technical on the inside but still very functional on the outside.
A graduate of The School of the Art Institute of Chicago’s Fashion Design Program, Frank has always had a flair for the dramatic. Her work is constantly changing, along with her inspiration, but always contains an aesthetic of detailed juxtaposition. From silk and leather, to lace and chains, Rachel Frank’s evening avant-garde apparel is not for the meek, but is intended for the bold, dramatic woman.
Originally from Poland, Grzesik came to the United States to pursue her carrier in fashion, and graduated from Harper College with a degree in Fashion Design in 2011. To expand her knowledge and experience, she interned with the clothing production company, Hanna Enterprises, for 6 months and was the design assistant for Crystal Simms of Crystal B. Designs, a 2011 CFI Designer-in-Residence. Grzesik established K.A.G. as a ready-to-wear fashion forward brand that is influenced by various colors, textures and shapes found in art and architecture.
LaTonya Williams attended Tennessee State University and earned a degree in mathematics and worked for over a decade in the IT field. In 2007, Williams moved to Chicago and enrolled in the fashion program at the International Academy of Design Technology. In 2010, she was the second runner-up in Kenmore's So You Wanna Be A Designer reality show. Williams’ latest venture is a women's clothing line of white blouses known as Elizabeth Smith fashions.
· Chicago Fashion Incubator [Official Site]