CHICAGO, May 6, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- Hundreds of fashionistas, art lovers, and community members gathered around a frenetic runway at Venue Six10 at the Spertus Institute to witness art and fashion on display, through the lens of Chicago's emerging designers. Students from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago's (SAIC) fashion design program showcased collections inspired by intimate personal experience and social issues.
"Eight hundred miles from the ready-to-wear capital of New York City, Chicago offers the freedom to explore fashion without limits," said Anke Loh, Sage Foundation Chair of SAIC's Fashion Design department. "That freedom was made especially evident in this year's show in the range of issues represented by student designs, from stories of immigration and displacement to gender roles, identity, and equality."
The avant-garde garments ranged from gravity-defying and rebellious to angular and whimsical. A crowd favorite included senior Oscar Chen, whose work sought to challenge society's gender expectations.
"Inspiration for this collection came from the playful gayness of performance artist Leigh Bowery and Robert Mapplethorpe's concept of undressing, aiming for a fun, sensual collection that challenges hetero-normative dress codes," said Chen in a statement about his work.
Just prior to the runway show, Nick Cave, SAIC's Stephanie and Bill Sick Professor of Fashion, Body and Garment, awarded Master of Design graduate student Nick Mahshie, who is over 21, the RumChata Foundation $20,000 fellowship to support continuing fashion design work beyond graduate studies at SAIC.
Alumni of the SAIC fashion design program include Cynthia Rowley, Halston, Gary Graham, and Maria Pinto among others. Pinto, who attended the show, will receive an honorary doctorate at SAIC's commencement later this month.
About the School of the Art Institute of Chicago
For 150 years, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) has been a leader in educating the world's most influential artists, designers and scholars. Located in downtown Chicago with a fine arts graduate program consistently ranking among the top three graduate fine arts programs in the nation by U.S. News and World Report, SAIC provides an interdisciplinary approach to art and design as well as world-class resources, including the Art Institute of Chicago museum, on-campus galleries and state-of-the-art facilities. SAIC's undergraduate, graduate and post-baccalaureate students have the freedom to take risks and create the bold ideas that transform Chicago and the world—as seen through notable alumni and faculty such as Michelle Grabner, David Sedaris, Elizabeth Murray, Richard Hunt, Georgia O'Keeffe, Cynthia Rowley, Nick Cave, and LeRoy Neiman. For more information, please visit saic.edu.
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SOURCE School of the Art Institute of Chicago