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Fashion & Style
April 2014

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Chicago Fashion Designers - Chicago Fashion Incubator at Macy's on State St.

Meet the Designers: CFI's 2013 Designers in Residence
Chicago Fashion Incubator at Macy's on State Street


In March of 2013, six Chicago designers were chosen for the fifth year of The Chicago Fashion Incubator (CFI) at Macy's on State Street.

The designers will be given the opportunity to learn from industry experts as well as mentors from Macy's & the broader fashion community.

Scroll down below to learn more about the six current Designers in Residence (DIR) working at Macy's on State Street.


Pictured above: Design by Agnes Hamerlik

About the Chicago Fashion Incubator

Macy's on State Street and the city of Chicago have been promoting Chicago's burgeoning fashion industry since 2005, when they presented the first Fashion Focus Chicago event that highlighted both aspiring and established designers. The Incubator soon evolved from this event. Being a national department store operating on local level, Macy's has the resources to share equipment and experts with Chicago designers.

Designers from the program are enjoying great success through their experience at the CFI, including partnerships with Toyota - Japan, showing their collections on the runway as part of Fashion Focus, and gaining a clear vision of what they want to be as designers.

"The success of the designers has been a testament to the structure of the program," said Ralph Hughes, Vice President of Corporate Communications of Macy's. "When given the curriculum and opportunities, young designers are put in a position to thrive at a crucial stage in their careers."

Agnes Hamerlik

Agnes Hamerlik is an artist and fashion designer currently living in Chicago. She graduated cum laude from Columbia College in Spring 2012 earning a Bachelors of Fine Arts degree in fashion design.

Hamerlik has a fine art, surreal and avant-garde style to her work. She has a couture approach to garments based on quality of the product, fine fabrication, craftsmanship, innovative construction and limited edition pieces focusing on luxury eveningwear and high end contemporary women's wear.

View more of Agnes Hamerlik's designs online.


Pictured above: Design by Agnes Hamerlik

Lagi Nadeau

Lagilelei Nadeau was born in Ann Arbor, Michigan. She graduated from the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) in New York and Michigan State University for fashion design. While attending FIT, she interned with Nicole Romano, later working as an assistant fashion designer at Tahari and then Ammara.

In 2010, she launched the Lagi Nadeau jewelry collection which has been featured in Marie Claire, Vogue Knitting, Sugarlaws; and has accessorized fashion collections such as Kay Unger and Phoebe Couture. The Lagi Nadeau label will expand into an inaugural womenswear line with the launch of her Spring 2013 collection which blends high-end sophistication with a dash of edge.

View more of Lagi Nadeau's designs online.


Pictured right: Design by Lagi Nadeau

Katelyn Pankoke

Katelyn Pankoke moved to Chicago after receiving her Bachelor's degree from Florida State University in Apparel Design and Technology. She launched her bridal line, Elaya Vaughn Bridal in November of 2011. Pankoke then went on to become a contestant on the current season of Project Runway (Season 11).

Pankoke's passion for bridal stems from a love of all things glamorous. She describes her design aesthetic as artful femininity. A dream element of whimsy is apparent in her designs, from lighter than air tiers of silk organza to crystal encrusted bodices.

View more of Katelyn Pankoke's designs online.


Pictured above: Design by Katelyn Pankoke

Takako Yamanaka

Takako Yamanaka was born and raised in a family of artists; educated in Japan and the United States. Yamanaka studied fashion design in Tokyo and later in New York. She worked for a variety of garment and accessories companies, including making costumes for dance companies and artists.

Being exposed to both the Eastern simplicity with Western sensitivity, Yamanaka draws inspirations from both cultures reflected in her avant guard style. Having a great respect for craftsmanship of design has always been an integral part of her life and work.

Yamanaka does not have a website at this time.


Pictured above: Design by Takako Yamanaka

Olivia Hwang

Olivia Hwang's interest in bridal design started when she was a child looking at fine lace and delicate lingerie wear at her father's lingerie shop in Seoul, Korea. Hwang studied fashion design and construction and graduated with honors from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She worked as a bridal gown designer in New York and New Jersey, but has returned to Chicago to start her own bridal line.

She describes the collection as timeless couture gowns that combine tradition with current fashions utilizing silks, French lace, and embroidery of the highest quality. Hwang's collection is conservative and classic yet, unique in that customers have flexibility in the styling of their own bridal looks to reveal and enhance beauty and personality.


Pictured above: Design by Olivia Hwang

Shelby Steiner

Shelby Steiner draws inspiration from all things in life with the intent to bring awareness and better humanity. Whether the inspiration is derived from a controversial subject matter or simply something beautiful that people need to pay more attention to, she aims to bring awareness through fashion.

Steiner's vision for transforming the traditional role of a designer, by combining activism for change, is seen each season through authentic print designs and signature styling that includes heavy layering and mixed media.

View more of Shelby Steiner's designs online.


Pictured right: Design by Shelby Steiner

March 2012

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