Chicago designer Elise Bergman always dreamed of showing her collection at New York Fashion Week, but it's safe to say she never thought it was in the cards for 2012.
But Bergman will be in the spotlight Thursday night at New York's Lincoln Center as a featured designer at the Diet Pepsi Style Studio Runway Show.
Bergman is one of four designers from across the country chosen to participate in the show, which includes mentorship from style expert Simon Doonan and a presentation on a Jonathan Adler-designed runway.
The 27-year-old designer started sewing at the ripe young age of 6 and sold jewelry out of her backpack in middle school and necklaces on the beach before unveiling her first collection in 2006.
"It's a huge privilege and honor to be able to show in this context," Bergman said. "It's a great showcase. Showing at Chicago Fashion Focus a couple of years ago was a big deal for me, but this is totally on another level."
Bergman has been busily preparing three looks over the past month -- a piece showcasing safari/animal prints, avant garde work wear and a metallic look inspired by the Pepsi can.
She left for New York on Tuesday, and in the rush of preparation, hasn't even had much of a chance to think about what this will mean for her career in the long run.
Bergman shares space at a Bucktown store called Roslyn and her pieces are available in select boutiques around the country and Anthropologie, but the NYFW exposure could take it to another level.
"The marketing is one component of it and getting my stuff sold, is another step. That's my responsibility to use this platform to get it to another customer base," Bergman says.
"I also want to bring more attention to the Chicago fashion scene itself. I'm kind of going as a representive and I hope it brings something positive to our entire fashion community."