Fashion Focus Chicago. Gen Art’s 7th Annual Fresh Faces In Fashion Introduces Nine Designers.

October 21, 2009 • Fashion Shows


Saturday, October 24th, at Millennium Park, Chase Promenade North at 201 East Randolph Street. Accessory designer reception: 7:00 p.m. Runway presentation: 8 p.m. After party at Enclave (213 West Institute Place) 9 p.m. – 11 p.m.
Gen Art is hosting its 7th Annual Fresh Faces in Fashion Show as the grand finale event for Chicago’s Fashion Focus this Saturday Evening. Always an entertaining event with a party-like atmosphere Fresh Faces is known for launching the careers of some of today’s hottest designers like Zac Posen and Rebecca Taylor.

This year Gen Art will present nine designers to watch at its annual Fresh Faces in Fashion runway show. Womenswear Designers: C/FAN, Imaginary People, Kristen Hassan, JLee Silver, Red Doll by Tatyana; Menswear Designer: Dorsia; Accessory Designers: Emma Carroll, Fab Studio, Kling Handbags

I had the opportunity to chat with Gen Art's Chicago Director Lauren Hurley and to get excited about the upcoming show. 

LH: I am thrilled about the slate we have this year because I am personally excited about the designers. They are all very distinctive. The audience will be seeing very different looks from each of the designers.

SCS: What the criteria is for choosing the designers?

LH: The designers must be emerging talent from 2-7 years old. They should have some experience in selling and be in at least one boutique. This way they are accessible and the audience can purchase their designs. And they must present looks and samples that are up to our production quality and taste. We receive nominations from boutique owners, industry experts and alumni designers.

SCS: Why should we fashionista's become members of Gen Art? 

LH: You will have access to emerging talent and support them directly. Most of the designers could not afford to do a runway show like his without Gen Art's Support. It's tax deductible and also supports film, music and visual arts. It is also great for networking and socializing.

I know first hand that that is so true – Gen Art's events are always fun! Come out to the Fresh Faces Show (and party) this Saturday. Second City Style Readers can get 25% off while tickets are still available! To receive the discount, you just enter the code: freshfaces25 when ordering tickets (either on-line or via phone). Tickets to Fresh Faces 2009 are $110 for seated tickets and $75 for standing tickets; Gen Art members receive complimentary tickets and special discounts. Tickets can be purchased at
– Carol Calacci

Meet 3 Fresh Faces Designers – New to Second City Style

Christina_Fan_Designer Christina Fan – C/FAN

SCS: What inspired this collection?
CF: Spring 2010 is inspired mainly by the many different women I see daily in Wicker Park, the neighborhood I live and work in. I really wanted each of these individuals, whether she is a new mother, corporate executive, artist, or all of the above, to be able to relate to my collection. So, I set out to create a versatile line that still embodies my personal aesthetic. I love the ease and fit of a man’s T-shirt on a woman’s body and C/FAN Spring 2010 represents these elements in luscious yet durable silks. The collection is named Park Wicker as a form of homage to my neighborhood and the people that live here.

SCS: What made you want to be a designer?

CF: I’ve always been a fashion junkie and started by designing pieces for myself that I thought were wardrobe necessities.  Design was mainly a hobby but after receiving positive feedback, I figured I’d give it a go!

SCS:  Who is your favorite artist, and have they inspired your designs?
CF: This is a tough question; I think I have too many favorites! I’ve absolutely adored the British cellist, Jacqueline du Pré, since I was young.  While I cannot say that she directly influenced my designs, I’ve always admired her confidence, strength, and bold personality. Jacqueline du Pré seemed to possess a certain quality, even after her passing that seduced both men and women. While this seduction was not necessarily sexual in manner, it definitely commanded awe.  I would like to think that the woman who wears a C/FAN piece also shares some of these characteristics.

SCS:  Why Chicago?
I’ve lived in and around Chicago for most of my life and think it’s a magical place.  It’s amazing to see how much the city has progressed.  As a new designer, I’m really impressed by the resources the city has to offer me.  I also think that it is really special and an honor to be able to share in Chicago’s growth in fashion


Imaginary_People_Designers Telo Dunne and Olivia Shanks – Imaginary People

SCS: What inspired this collection?
OS: Our collection for Spring was inspired by not only the clothes that we wanted for ourselves, but for all of our close girlfriends.  So many times when you're out kickin with your girls the conversation turns to clothes, how we love them, what clothes are best to travel with, what clothes make women feel sexy, how the fabrics feel on, what we dislike in certain garments and how we would change them.  Those conversations and the women in our lives became the inspiration for this collection.  In addition they literally inspire, push & motivate us to make Imaginary People a success.

SCS: What made you want to be a designer?

OS: We were always into fashion & style so as broke college students we began making clothes for ourselves (We met our sophomore year of college, both at the age of 18).  Olivia was a Philosophy major at Northwestern and Telo a Psychology major at Loyola.  In 1999 we both graduated and pursued other opportunities surrounding music, art & fashion but the idea of having our own clothing line never ceased.  Finally, a couple years ago we decided it was now or never

SCS:  Who is your favorite artist, and have they inspired your designs? OS: Neither of us have a die hard favorite artist but there are several we respect and are most definitely inspired by their work and careers. 

SCS:  Why Chicago?
OS: Why not?  We've both been living here for almost 20 years.  We love this city. . . Chicago is the shit.  We really get tired of people making the assumption that in order to be something in this industry you have to start in New York or LA.  Of course we foresee ourselves growing to have business all over the country as well as internationally, but to us, there's no reason we can't start here.


Tatyana_Merenyuk_Designer Tatyana Merenyuk – Red Doll by Tatyana

SCS: What inspired this collection?
TM: The collection was inspired by many things… Particularly by my boyfriends paintings…very colorful and bold. I was also inspired by origami and experimentation with certain fabrics.

SCS: What made you want to be a designer?
TM: I wanted to be a designer once I learned how to sew and all the different, beautiful fabrics that are out there…That certainly inspired me to become a designer. Just seeing my garments grew and my skill. Having the models where the garment and see it come to life is the most inspirational, and defiantly keeps on pushing me every design I sew and the creations just come, there allot so many ideas, and I love that.

SCS:  Who is your favorite artist, and have they inspired your designs?
TM: I love so many! There are so many talented people. I love not only designers but also paintings…to name a few Quang Hong, a painter and my boyfriend who really inspires me. I love all the household names too, Karl Lagerfeld, Christian Lacroix, John Galliano, just to name a few…but there are so many… and so many things that inspire me: music, film, different cities, countries, my culture…

SCS:  Why Chicago?
TM: Honestly life just brought me here by chance, and I fell in love with this city… It's Fantastic and has heart and opportunity! I fell in love with Ukrainian Village and that's that.


Photos: Courtesy of the designers 

– Nina Krek

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One Response to Fashion Focus Chicago. Gen Art’s 7th Annual Fresh Faces In Fashion Introduces Nine Designers.

  1. Lizzy says:

    I find these dresses very beautiful too, also very sliming and elegant. Really beautiful.

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