Providing six emerging chicago-based designers in residence with the resources, business acumen, and mentoring to launch their careers in fashion.




Our Team





Amber joined the Chicago Fashion Incubator in 2019. She oversees all things related to the administrative needs and facilities management for the CFI space and the designers it serves. Her expertise in project management and logistics brings a new level of organization and efficiency to the CFI. Amber is passionate about building community, and assists CFI's Director of Programming and Mentorship, and its Board of Directors, with public events, fundraising and networking opportunities. Her own artistic endeavors include fine art photography and graphic design.


Anna is a CFI alum and experienced fashion design who joined the CFI as Director of Programming and Mentorship in 2018. She is responsible for managing all programming for CFI's designers during their two-year residences and is also working to launch CFI's new public programming initiative, which will produce public events to help educate and encourage fashion design talent and fashion entrepreneurship in Chicago. Anna served as a Design Mentor with CFI prior to accepting her current position, and is thrilled to expand her leadership role within the organization.





our board

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Andrea Schwartz

Vice President, Media Relations, Macy’s

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Megan Bueschel

Senior Marketing Communications Executive


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Liz Kores

Principal, Liz Kores Public Relations



Partner, Steptoe & Johnson LLP



The Chicago Fashion Incubator (CFI) is a product of
Mayor Richard M. Daley's Fashion Initiative...

In 2005, then-Mayor Daley recognized the wide reach of Chicago's fashion industry.  Realizing the significant impact fashion has on the local economy, he envisioned fashion as a driver for job creation, cultural growth, trade development, and tourism.  Building on Chicago's long manufacturing heritage (two of the country's most prominent menswear brands started in the City, and still make their garments here) and the City’s internationally acclaimed design schools, the idea was to have a place that used the resources and opportunities available in Chicago to help aspiring local fashion designers build sustainable businesses that can compete in the global fashion industry.  
In 2008, the Chicago Fashion Incubator was born.

The 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 space, donated generously by Macy’s, was initially built out in 2007 and recently renovated by Beeler Construction to create the Richard H. Driehaus Entrepreneurial Center (DEC). CFI is comprised of a manufacturing workroom equipped with massive cutting tables, sewing machines, and pressing stations where designers produce their sample collections.

Each designer shares a private office equipped with state-of-art Mac computers + printers.

A multi-media room serves as a showroom for buyer presentations and a conference room for CFI seminars, guest speakers and one-on-one mentoring.


Richard H. Driehaus Entrepreneurial Center (DEC)

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The Driehaus Entrepreneurial Center (The DEC) is a resource center that provides Chicago-based apparel and accessories designers with educational tools, research assets, and programming to help further their fashion business growth and development.   This sleek, modern space is accessible to the CFI’s current Designers in Residence, as well as to CFI alumni, providing them with essential tools to aid them in their development as both creative artists and successful business owners. Additionally, The DEC plans to support an internship program in partnership with leading fashion schools in Chicago and also to host professional business and merchandising seminars and workshops for emerging fashion entrepreneurs, in addition to other public programming. The DEC was made possible by a grant from the Driehaus Design Initiative, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization established to promote and encourage design education and foster public appreciation for all aspects of fashion, design, and history.

“We are tremendously grateful for the generous partnership of the Driehaus Design Initiative in bringing the vision of this resource center, lovingly nicknamed ‘The DEC,’ to life,” said Andrea Schwartz, CFI Board President. “The DEC will not only provide important tools to help CFI designers, it will also help us reach beyond these walls and carry on our mission of keeping fashion talent in Chicago. Today, design talent can choose to live anywhere, and we want to make it easy for them to choose Chicago.” - Andrea Schwartz, Board President




Dear Friends,

Welcome to the Chicago Fashion Incubator at Macy’s on State Street (also known as “CFI”). Since inception in 2008, the CFI has proudly supported more than 50 designers-in-residence and hundreds more fashion designers working in Chicago’s creative and business communities.

Without you, we would be unable to fulfill our mission of developing creative entrepreneurs into leaders building successful and innovative fashion design businesses. Your generosity allows the CFI to provide mentors, design and business-related tools including work space to six designers-in-residence as well as programming for the broader fashion design communities in the Chicago area.

Your involvement is critical to the future of the CFI and its ability to provide training to, not only our designers-in-residence, but the broader fashion design and creative communities that support fashion design. This support allows the CFI to partner with fashion industry professionals and business leaders as well as provide facilities and equipment for designers to advance their craft and prepare to be our next creative business leaders of tomorrow.

Whether you are an individual or an institutional sponsor, your donation is valued and important to the sustainability of the CFI and the Chicagoland fashion design community. We look forward to partnering with you as we continue to develop the next generation of innovative entrepreneurs.

Thank you,

Andrea Schwartz
Board President, Chicago Fashion Incubator


Financial information has been temporarily taken offline and available upon request.

partners and sponsorS

Chicago Fashion Incubator’s work is made possible by the generous support of foundations, corporations, and
individuals who are committed to fostering local talent and strengthening Chicago's fashion industry.