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111 north state street 11th floor, chicago il 60602

Contact: Lauren D. Rapisand, 312.781.4689




New staff members and designers join the expanded 2-year program in 2014 CHICAGO (June 2, 2014) – The Chicago Fashion Incubator at Macy’s on State Street (CFI), previously a yearlong residency on the business of fashion, will now be a two-year program, increasing the level of exposure to business professionals and industry knowledge for the designers enrolled. Four of the current designers will stay on for a second year and CFI is proud to announce that 2 new designers pursuing their careers in apparel design will join the program. With the new two-year program, the CFI is happy to announce Trideep Das as Business Director handling the mentoring and educational components of the program including workshops and classes ranging from business planning and management to brand strategy, sales and marketing for business success. Trideep comes to the CFI with 25 years of industry experience. He is the Managing Director of Jollybrowne Brand Design, a branding and marketing firm with a concentration on consumer brands in the fashion industry; as well as appointed co-chairperson for the Mayor’s Fashion Council in Chicago. Previously Trideep managed international marketing for Chicago-based Hartmarx Corporation where he helped launch new businesses in Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Middle East. The CFI also welcomes Andrea Reynders as Fashion Director handling the artistic side of the program as well as providing mentoring and workshops focusing on preparing patterns for production and color and proportion theory. Andrea comes to the CFI as Director of Studio Alabaster Blue LLC, a fashion design and consulting group for new and existing fashion academic programming for undergraduate and graduate level students. Andrea brings a wealth of experience from her previous roles as a fashion/garment designer with a focus in coats and men’s shirts as well as Professor Emerita and former Sage Endowed Chair in Fashion Design at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. “In 2008, when then-Mayor Daley announced that Chicago needed a program to help grow emerging fashion designers, the Chicago Fashion Incubator at Macy’s on State Street was developed as a year-long residency,” stated Andrea Schwartz, Co-Chairperson of the Mayor’s Fashion Council and founding board member of the CFI. “After 6 years, the board determined that we can do even more for Chicago’s fashion designers and the best way to do that is to extend the program providing two years of guidance and resources. Bringing in Trideep Das and Andrea Reynders with their knowledge and experience will help us reach our goals.”

!The 2013 designers continuing in the CFI program include Agnes Hamerlik, Olivia Hwang, Lagi Nadeau and Shelby Steiner. The CFI is excited to welcome two new Designers-In-Residence, Alyssa Kahle and Grace Lee-Lim. Brief descriptions of these talented designers are listed below.

CFI has been the launch pad for some of Chicago’s most recognizable names in fashion like Christina Fan, Miriam Cecilia Carlson, Christina Monley and Ashley Zygmunt. CFI would like to congratulate the two designers leaving the program after the 2013 year, Katelyn Pankoke ( and Takako Yamanaka. The CFI will continue to provide them and all former Designers in Residence with opportunities to

help grow their fashion design careers. 
 -more(2014 CFI Announcement Release, page 2 cont’d) 2014 Designers-in-Residence: Agnes Hamerlik – Second year DIR Agnes Hamerlik is an artist and fashion designer currently living in Chicago. Hamerlik graduated cum laude from Columbia College in Spring 2012 earning a Bachelor’s of Fine Arts degree in fashion design. She has a fine art, surreal and avant-garde style to her work. Hamerlik has a couture approach to garments based on quality of the product, fine fabrication, craftsmanship, innovative construction and limited edition pieces focusing on luxury eveningwear and high end contemporary women’s wear.

!Olivia Hwang – Second year DIR

Olivia Hwang’s interest in bridal design started when she was a child looking at fine lace and delicate lingerie wear at her father’s lingerie shop in Seoul, Korea. Hwang studied fashion design and construction and graduated with honors from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She worked as a bridal gown designer in New York and New Jersey, but has returned to Chicago to start her own bridal line. She describes the collection as timeless couture gowns that combine tradition with current fashions utilizing silks, French lace, and embroidery of the highest quality. Hwang’s collection is conservative and classic yet, unique in that customers have flexibility in the styling of their own bridal looks to reveal and enhance beauty and personality. Hwang does not have a website at this time.

!Alyssa Kahle – First year DIR

Alyssa Kahle, Owner and Creative Director of Chicago’s bridal line Alyssa Kristin, attended the University of Wisconsin – Madison; originally intending to study Textile and Apparel design, but her need for quantitative challenges won and she traded in fabric for financial statements. Alyssa started her career in public accounting until she decided to make her own wedding dress. Creating her dress rekindled a passion for design she had trying to ignore during her time in the corporate world. From this reignited passion, the Alyssa Kristin bridal line was formed. Alyssa Kristin’s inaugural collection effortlessly balances timeless elegance with Hollywood glamour. Alyssa’s design philosophy is to enable women to embrace their femininity through refreshingly chic yet understated gowns. Alyssa Kristin designs for brides who epitomize style and grace and have a confident sense of self.

!Grace Lee-Lim – First year DIR

Owner and designer of the eponymous bridal line, Lee-Lim, creates classic silhouettes with unique and intricate details that give her designs an air of whimsy. She received a BFA in Fashion Design from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, where she won several accolades for her work, most notably the Sage Foundation Scholarship. As she gained experience in the many different facets of the fashion industry in NYC, she discovered that her design sensibility was primarily geared towards bridal design.

!Lagi Nadeau – Second year DIR

Lagilelei Nadeau was born in Ann Arbor, Michigan. She graduated from the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) in New York and Michigan State University for fashion design. While attending FIT, she interned with Nicole Romano, later working as an assistant fashion designer at Tahari and then Ammara. In 2010, she launched the Lagi Nadeau jewelry collection which has been featured in Marie Claire, Vogue Knitting, Sugarlaws; and has accessorized fashion collections such as Kay Unger and Phoebe Couture. The Lagi Nadeau label will expand into an inaugural womenswear line with the launch of her Spring 2013 collection which blends high-end sophistication with a dash of edge. Shelby Steiner – Second year DIR Shelby Steiner draws inspiration from all things in life with the intent to bring awareness and better humanity. Steiner’s vision for transforming the traditional role of a designer, by combining activism for change, is seen each season through authentic print designs and signature styling that includes heavy layering and mixed media. Whether the inspiration is derived from a controversial subject matter or simply something beautiful that people need to pay more attention to, she aims to bring awareness through fashion. -more-

!About the Chicago Fashion Incubator at Macy’s on State Street

The Chicago Fashion Incubator (CFI) provides six emerging Chicago-based designers with the resources including work space and mentoring needed to launch their careers in fashion. The Designers in Residence (DIR) are required to complete a core curriculum of business and creative workshops and seminars conducted at Macy’s on State Street. For more information on the CFI, visit



2014 Chicago Fashion Incubator Press Release  
2014 Chicago Fashion Incubator Press Release