Chicago Fashion Incubator
Designer In Residence Application
About The Chicago Fashion Incubator
The Chicago Fashion Incubator at Macy's on State Street (CFI) is a recognized 501(c)3 not-for-profit established in August 2008. Its mission is to make meaningful economic impact in Chicago by giving fashion designers technical product development and business tools and training to create innovative products and launch globally competitive businesses based in Chicago.
The CFI is located in a 2,200 square foot space in the pedway across of the historic Macy's on State Street lower level. The space, donated generously by Macy’s, was built out in 2018 and includes the Richard H. Driehaus Entrepreneurial Center. The CFI is comprised of a manufacturing workroom equipped with professional cutting tables, industrial sewing machines, and pressing stations where designers produce their sample collections. Each designer shares a private office equipped with Apple’s i-Mac computers and HP printers. A multi use conference room serves as a showroom for buyer presentations, a photo shoot, a client fitting, or a place to hang out in and find inspiration about fashion’s next big idea.
The CFI has been a launch pad for some of Chicago's most recognizable names in fashion including: Christina Fan, Stephanie Kuhr, Taneasha Prunty, Olivia Hwang, Eric Kipp, Lagi Nadeau, Shelby Steiner, Agnes Hamerlik, Anna Hovet, Alyssa Kahle, Grace Lee-Lim, Shruti Kirti, and Kahindo Mateene and Katelyn Pankoke, both featured on Project Runway.
About the Designer in Residence Program
The Chicago Fashion Incubator Designer in Residence is a two-year program. The next cycle begins March 1, 2019 and ends February 28, 2020.
The selected Designers in Residence (DIR) are provided a creative professional environment to foster and grow their businesses. By offering low-cost design studio space, business mentoring, educational seminars, and networking opportunities, the CFI's DIR program provides a way for designers to work with mentors to assess needs and develop skills and networks, and become an integral part of the Chicago fashion community as well as develop the latitude to reach global markets.
The Designers in Residence Program includes:
the use of a design and production studio, shared office and meeting spaces within the Chicago Fashion Incubator at Macy's on State Street
the use of an i-Mac computer with Microsoft Office Suite and a scanner/printer.
access to the Richard H. Driehaus Entrepreneurial Center at the CFI with industry resource materials, publications (WWD, W, Vogue, Fast Company, etc) and software (Adobe Creative Cloud)
weekly 1/1 meetings with the Design Director, bi-weekly team meetings hosted by the Executive Director, and bi-weekly meetings with Marketing, Branding and Business Development Mentors
1/1 and group training and mentorship through seminars lead by subject matter experts and industry leaders
press and promotional opportunities to generate publicity for your brand
field trips to retailers, manufacturers, and production specialists
subsidized industry-related trips to NYC
two model fittings per season (FW, SS)
discounted rates for skilled sample hand and pattern makers
The 2019-2020 monthly fee to participate in the DIR program is set at $400/month due on the 1st day of each month. Monthly rate is subject to change with 90 days' notice.
Applicants seeking consideration for entry to the DIR program at the Chicago Fashion Incubator must submit a FULLY COMPLETED application along with supporting materials as detailed in this online survey, pay a non-refundable $75. application fee, and meet all of the following criteria:
be 21 years of age or older by the application deadline date
has established a main residence in the Greater Chicago area before March 1, 2019
hold a City of Chicago business license or an application in process
able to commit to the CFI DIR program including a minimum of 30 hours in the studio during Monday - Friday business hours
attend scheduled 1/1 mentor sessions, seminars, and CFI media events, info sessions, and programs
hold a Bachelor's degree in a fashion or fashion-related field is strongly preferred
Individuals are ineligible if:
enrolled in an academic institution as either a full- or part-time student
primary product is not apparel or accessories. We are not accepting designers whose primary product is jewelry or shoes at this time.
your business is established outside of the City of Chicago and/or you do not have a license to do business in the City of Chicago by the application deadline date
a current employee of the Macy's on State Street store
currently employed full-time in a position that requires you to work Monday - Friday, 9am - 5pm
The Chicago Fashion Incubator assembles a Selection Committee comprised of its Board of Directors and industry professionals to review applications and select the DIR. The criteria includes:
a depth of knowledge, clarity of vision and direction of products and collection, and strength of business concept
professional preparedness including the time and financial resources available to be committed to developing your collection and launching your business within the first 12 months of the DIR program
demonstrates the ability to fund product development, sample production, and business overhead, including the monthly fee
personal readiness to fully engage in a collaborative work and learning environment, requiring individual initiative and motivation
the ability to multi-task in a fast-paced program with strict deadlines
high level of emotional maturity to accept and utilize critical and constructive feedback
an interpersonal skill set that will allow for mutual respect and cooperation with cohorts, mentors, and CFI Executive team
fiscal responsibility with an ability to manage every aspect of operating a business
2019 - 2020 Application
Please note, this form DOES NOT auto save and cannot be returned to.
We recommend you pre-write longer answers in another text document and add them here when you're ready to complete the full application.
Next Steps + Important Dates
Thank you for your time and interest in the Designer in Residence Program with the Chicago Fashion Incubator at Macy's on State Street.
We will consider your application complete after you upload your portfolio with your latest collection, mood board and color story to email@example.com. If you are selected for a personal interview you will be asked to bring in a hard copy portfolio.
$75 APPLICATION FEE:
Make Check payable to Chicago Fashion Development NFP, sent to the Chicago Fashion Incubator, 111 N State Street, 11th Floor, Chicago, IL 60602 and received by the application deadline, December 4th
Please note the following important dates:
December 4 Application deadline.
Week of January 14, 2019 Interviews with the Selection Committee
Week of January 27, 2019 Offer letters to selected applicants
Mar 1, 2019 New DIR can schedule move-ins
Questions? Email us: firstname.lastname@example.org