FashioNEXT: Chic Chicago Design-Inspired Fashion Competition


The Chicago History Museum's FashioNext is a design competition featuring established Chicago designers. Each are creating a couture garment inspired by one of five selected pieces from the exhibition, Chic Chicago: Couture Treasures from the Chicago History Museum. The five designers have submitted their design sketches and fabric swatches that will be used to create their original piece. The winning garment will become part of the Museum's permanent costume collection, one of the premier costume collections in the world, and will be placed on display in Chic Chicago for the remainder of the exhibition run.

The designers and design teams participating in this competition include Jermikko Shoshanna, Lauren Lein, Melissa Serpico Kamhout, Paul Sisti, and Price Walton. "Each design sketch is a reflection of the artist's distinctive style, but with a twist based on the five inspirational pieces from our collection," said Timothy Long, exhibition curator. "From the sketches and the exquisite fabrics chosen, this competition of accomplished designers, is not to be missed."


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Each phase of this design competition will be showcased within the exhibition and on the Museum's website and blog over the next few months. The competition began with five designers and will be narrowed down to three as of today, February 5. The winner will be announced during the FashioNext finale event on April 17, 2009.


The Museum has partnered with Brentano Fabrics, a Chicago-based textile company that manufactures fabrics according to their philosophy of beauty + performance. Their design team pushes the boundaries of patterns, materials, weaves, and color while maintaining usability. Additionally, they produce a range of eco-fabrics under their Brentano Green label. Brentano is the exclusive fabric provider for this design competition.

Follow the Competition

Brianne Peck, FashioNext competition coordinator, will provide updates via the new Chicago History Museum blog as each milestone in the competition is reached.



The competition will be judged by Timothy Long, costume curator; Andrea Kalish Reynders, professor and Sage Studios chair, Department of Fashion Design at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago; Dr. Valerie Steele, director and chief curator at the Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology; Iris Wang, vice president, Design and Marketing of Brentano Fabrics; Gaynor Strachan-Chun, senior vice president of Marketing at Ovation TV; and Noren Ungaretti, president of the costume council of the Chicago Historical Society.

For more information on the designers and to view their design concepts, visit the online gallery at


1. The Commes De Garcon Convertible dress/gown, 1992 is the inspiration for Melissa Serpico's design. We are rooting for Melissa who is one of our Second City Store designers!

2. Lauren Lein (left) and Price Walton (right) were inspired by the Charles Frederick Worth evening gown, 1883 (center).

3. Jermikko Shoshanna (left) and Paul Sisti (right) were inspired by the Charles James "butterfly" ball gown, 1954 (center).

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