Introduction to the Chicago Fashion Incubator: Guest

Tucked away on the 11th floor of Macy’s on State Street, alongside the offices of buyers, planners, merchants, and various other executives, is a space that is shaping the careers of some of the most important young fashion designers in Chicago.

The Chicago Fashion Incubator at Macy’s on State Street is a space full of cutting tables, sewing machines, dress forms and racks of clothes that often reminds visitors of Project Runway. The space may be reminiscent of the popular television show, but without the competition, the designers are able to launch their brands in an atmosphere that encourages, mentors, and promotes their new careers.

CFI builds links between the fashion, arts, education, and business communities ensuring sustained business development and growth in each sector for years to come. CFI makes a noticeable and lasting economic impact on Chicago by helping fashion entrepreneurs build viable, sustainable, and profitable businesses.

A non-profit organization born from Mayor Richard M. Daley's Fashion Initiative, CFI is the only centralized resource providing residency, equipment, workshops, networking, mentoring, and promotional opportunities for fashion entrepreneurs looking to begin their businesses in Chicago. A pioneer in the growing pool of Fashion Incubators, CFI first opened its doors in 2008 for a group of six Designers in Residence (DIR). Each March six new designers begin their residency. In 2010, CFI expanded its resources creating the Associate Designer Program for a group of additional designers who can use the space by appointment and come for quarterly workshops. As CFI continues to grow, its resources continue to spread throughout the community and beyond. Check back each month as CFI insiders share their tips and expertise on Inc. Well.

Click through the image gallery to learn a bit more about CFI.

Curious to see the Chicago Fashion Incubator in person? Visit us at our annual open house on July 28 from 12 p.m. – 2 p.m. RSVP at

Lara Miller
Hand-loomed and sewn in Chicago, fashion designer, Lara Miller’s work is strongly influenced by the city’s architectural and cultural landscape.  Aside from her fashion-design business, Lara serves as the Executive Director of the Chicago Fashion Incubator (CFI) at Macy’s on State Street.

Kiran Advani
Kiran Advani handles programming related to the City of Chicago’s Fashion Initiative, started by Mayor Richard M. Daley in 2006, which partners with the industry on resources and high-profile events for local designers and independent boutiques to gain visibility, learn about the business of fashion, and elevate the industry.

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