The 2018 – 2020 Designer in Residence Application is Now Open!
CHICAGO, September 12, 2017 -- The Chicago Fashion Incubator is seeking qualified applicants for its 2018-2020 Designer in Residence Program. This is a highly competitive two-year program that provides apparel designers the opportunity to grow their fashion business through design, branding, and business mentorship. This residency session will run from March 1, 2018 to February 21, 2020 and provides designers with direct access to mentors, a sample room with industrial sewing equipment, and office and meeting space.
TYPICAL APPLICANTS ARE
· Start-up fashion entrepreneurs
· Mid-career fashion designers interested in developing new apparel categories
· Established fashion businesses exploring new business channels
DESIGNERS IN RESIDENCE PROGRAM INCLUDES
· the use of a design and production studio, meeting spaces
· office space with Apple computer, Microsoft Office Suite, scanner/printer, and dedicated phone line
· access to CFI’s Richard H. Driehaus Entrepreneurial Center with industry resource materials, publications, meeting space, hardware, and software
· 1/1 meetings with Design, Marketing, Branding and Business Development Mentors
· 1/1 and group training and mentorship
· press and promotional opportunities
· field trips
· group selling events
· two model fittings per season (Fall/Winter, Spring/Summer)
· discounted rates for skilled sample hand and pattern makers
The 2018-2020 fee for the Designer in Residence program is $400/ month.
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 $100.00 application fee, and meet all of the following criteria:
· be 21 years of age or older by the application deadline date
· established a main residence in the Greater Chicago area before March 1, 2018
· 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 but not required
Applicants with work experience in highly entrepreneurial, customer order fulfillment, and/or service-focused industries are also strongly preferred.
APPLICANTS 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 (you can be incorporated in another US city or state but you MUST have a license to do business in the City of Chicago)
· a current employee of the Macy's on State Street store
· currently employed full-time in a position that requires you to work Monday through Friday, 9am - 5pm
The Chicago Fashion Incubator is unable to sponsor a visa to participate in the Designer in Residence program.
1. Fill out all applicable questions in this electronic application and submit by the deadline
2. Schedule and attend one of the free information sessions prior to the November 17 application deadline (listed below.) SIGN UP FOR AN INFORMATION SESSION to learn more about the DIR Program. You will be asked to enter the date of your Information Session in the Application.
3. Complete an interview with a Chicago Fashion Incubator representative
4. Submit any requested supplemental materials
5. Receive an invite to interview for the Designer in Residence program with the Selection Committee
6. Submit the $100 application fee
7. Present your application and apparel samples + portfolio to the Selection Committee
September 13, 12:01am CT -- Application Opens
October 3, 5:30-6:30pm -- Information Session
October 5, 12:00-1:00pm -- Information Session
October 17, 5:30-6:30pm -- Information Session
October 19, 12:00-1:00pm -- Information Session
November 2, 12:00-1:00pm -- Information Session
November 14, 5:30-6:30pm -- Information Session
November 16, 12:00-1:00pm -- Information Session
November 17, 11:45pm CT -- Application Closes
November 27 - December 16 -- Applicant interviews with CFI team
December 18 - 21 -- Invitations sent to Applicants to present to the Chicago Fashion Incubator Selection Committee in January 2018
December 22 - January 1 -- Chicago Fashion Incubator offices closed
January 5 (2018) - $100 Application fee is due
January 12-13* -- Applicants Present Sample/Portfolio Presentation to the Selection Committee
*to be confirmed
SIGN UP FOR AN INFORMATION SESSION. You will be asked to enter the date of your Information Session in the Application.
The Chicago Fashion Incubator assembles a Selection Committee comprised of its Board of Directors, staff, former Designers in Residence (DIR,) and industry professionals to review applications and select the DIR. Applicants are evaluated on the following:
· demonstrates a commitment to practice
· 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 business within the first 12 months of the DIR program
· 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 team
· fiscal responsibility with an ability to manage every aspect of operating a business
*Previous Designers in Residence were prepared for a minimum budget of $5000 per collection, per season
The DIR application is open September 13, 2017 and closes November 17, 2017, 11:45pm CT.
Attending an information is required of the DIR Program Application this year. SIGN UP FOR AN INFORMATION SESSION. You will be asked to enter the date of your Information Session in the Application.
Are you ready to apply? https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/2018DIRApplication
Questions? Email us: firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you for your interest in the Designer in Residence Program!
ABOUT THE CHICAGO FASHION INCUBATOR
The Chicago Fashion Incubator is an established 501(c)3 formed to support the business of fashion in Chicago through a two-year Designer in Residence (DIR) program as well as free and low-cost public workshops and networking events. 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.