Chicago Fashion Incubator

The Chicago Fashion Incubator was created in 2008.


The Chicago Fashion Incubator at Macy’s on State Street was created in 2008. It is a product of Mayor Richard M. Daley’s Fashion Initiative and it creates innovative solutions to bridge the gap between education and entrepreneurship.


Realizing the significant impact fashion has on the local economy, the founder believed fashion to be the driver for job creation, cultural growth, trade development, and tourism. Building on Chicago’s long manufacturing legacy (two of the country’s most famous 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 striving local fashion designers grow sustainable businesses that can compete in the global fashion industry.


“Its mission is to make a 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 has supported over 45 designers in residence and hundreds of fashion designers working in Chicago’s creative and business communities. The CFI space has: manufacturing workroom equipped with massive cutting tables, sewing machines,  pressing stations where designers produce their sample collections, office spaces, shared conference space for presentations.

The Driehaus Entrepreneurial Center (“The DEC”) is a resource center within the CFI space that gives designers educational tools, research assets, and programming to help further their fashion business growth and development.

2019 designers in residence

“In the 10 years since CFI was founded, this is the most diverse class we’ve had – diversity of race, religion, country of origin as well as of design background and business expertise. This diversity will truly help to enrich the experience for all of the designers as they are able to learn, grow and collaborate, unified by their shared passion for the art and business of fashion,” said Andrea Schwartz, CFI Board President. “CFI’s past designers have been successful in building their careers, and we expect the same from this talented class.”

1. Barbara Keisman of Feel Good Fashions

2. Kpoene’ Kofi-Nicklin of Mignonette

3. Goli Parvinian of Goli June

4. Rakan Shams Aldeen of RAKAN

5. Cara Farella

6. Adilah Muhammad of ADILAH M