Chicago Fashion Incubator CFI

The Chicago Fashion Incubator (CFI) is a product of Mayor Richard M. Daley’s Fashion Initiative. In 2005, Mayor Daley recognized the broad scope of Chicago’s fashion industry. He realized the huge impact fashion has on the local, national, and international economies. He saw opportunities for local job retention and creation, for cultural growth, trade development, tourism, and for business expansion via fashion. Despite Chicago’s manufacturing sector, graduates from Chicago’s internationally acclaimed design schools were leaving to begin their careers in other regions. The designers that remained felt a disconnect in the community paired with a need for business resources and opportunities. Thus the Chicago Fashion Incubator was born. CFI creates innovative solutions to bridge the gap between education and entrepreneurship.

Each year, CFI provides six emerging Chicago-based designers with resources and workshops to launch their careers. The Designers in Residence (DIR) are provided office space, including computers and software; a sample production room; as well as a showroom. The designers also have the opportunity to showcase their lines at local events and fashion shows. DIR complete a curriculum of workshops conducted at the Incubator for the duration of a one year period starting in March. Faculty from each of the local fashion design and merchandising programs contribute to the Curriculum Advisory Board. Alongside industry leaders, these academic advisers help to establish the series of workshops that are the foundation of the CFI program. Taught by influential leaders within the fashion and business community, the curriculum provides CFI constituents with the tools needed to create profitable businesses that will grow in Chicago.



State Street

Chicago, IL US