FashioNext Chicago History Museum’s Teen Design Competition

“To an artist, especially teenage artists, identity is everything. Who you are, how you act, what you dress like . . . It all plays a part in determining your place in the world.”

Team Busted SeamsChicago High School for the Arts

Ten teams of aspiring designers from across the Chicago area challenged themselves and each other to create a garment inspired by Chicago Styled: Fashioning The Magnificent Mile®. With the help of a mentor from the fashion community, each team works together over the course of three months using materials, tools and dress forms provided by the Museum, along with embellishments provided by Azeeza US and Winzeler Gear. On Thursday, April 30, their final looks will be showcased at the FashioNext Finale — an evening celebrating Chicago fashion and culminating with an award ceremony recognizing the designers and winning looks.

Participating schools

Chicago High School for the Arts

Maine South High School

Niles North High School

Whitney M. Young Magnet High School

Young Women's Leadership Charter School

Meet the Teams Meet the Mentors

FashioNext Winners

Now on display until August 16, 2015

The FashioNext exhibition in the second-floor Mazza Foundation Gallery features the story of all the teams who participated in the 2015 FashioNext teen design competition.
The three winning looks by these teams are on display:
Judges’ Choice Award

Careful Chaos, Niles North High School
Costume Council Award

Studio 109, Whitney M. Young Magnet High School
People’s Choice Award

Maine Chic, Maine South High School

Connect with FashioNext!

Follow FashioNext and tag photos of your Chicago style using #FashioNext #ChicagoStyled @ChicagoMuseum.


Meet the Teams

The Museum selected five local high schools to participate in this year’s installment of FashioNext. Led by a coordinating teacher, each school formed up to three teams, with every team responsible for creating a single garment.

Chicago High School for the Arts

Coordinator: April Dauscha

Team Dames

The Dames are four phenomenal female seniors at the Chicago High School for the Arts. They have joined forces to design a traditional wearable sculpture emphasizing the female figure using contemporary techniques. The group combines their majors — mixed media and graphic design — and applies the fundamental techniques of sewing construction and fashion theory concepts acquired from their wearable sculpture class.

Team Entropy

Team Entropy is three seniors at the Chicago High School for the Arts, all mixed-media majors with different elective art classes. Two team members recently collaborated in a “draping challenge” in their wearable sculpture class, experimenting with different draping techniques and aesthetics. Now they are collaborating with another student, who has years of experience working with jewelry, to create a unique garment for FashioNext. For this competition, they will use the skills they have learned in their wearable sculpture class in order to make a work that will transcend the boundaries of fashion.

Team Equinox

Equinox is four seniors from the Chicago High School for the Arts who are currently taking a wearable sculpture class. Each student brings a different skill set to the table, including painting, graphic design, photography and mixed media. Their FashioNext creation will be an amalgamation of their unique crafts and conceptual ideas. They all come from different parts of the city, representing different cultures and backgrounds working in perfect harmony.

Maine South High School

Coordinator: Stephanie Inserra

Team Again7t the Grain

Again7t the Grain is a group of seven seniors from Maine South High School. All team members are extremely passionate about fashion and have been taking fashion classes all four years of high school. The quote “In order to be irreplaceable, one must always be different” by Coco Chanel is a huge inspiration for the team. They want to display their individual personalities in this competition but also their collaborative ideas. Again7t the Grain are wicked excited to take on this new challenge in their lives and hope that FashioNext will inspire them in the future.

Team Maine Chic

Maine Chic is a group of girls aged 15 to 17 who met in their fashion class at Maine South High School. For the past two years, the students have grown to love fashion and the mechanics behind it. FashioNext will allow them to be creative and work together as a team. Most of team members are in the fashion club at Maine South—a charity club where they make blankets, totes, and clothing for people in need. Fashion and helping others have become one, and the team has grown not only as designers but also as people. They live in a town where there are all types of people wearing all types of different styles, and fashion has allowed them to be different and find their own sense of style.

Niles North High School

Coordinator: Julie Lear

Team Careful Chaos

Team Careful Chaos is from Niles North High School in Skokie, Illinois. Almost everyone on the team is enrolled in fashion workshop, a class where students construct garments to participate in their annual D219 fashion show. Each team member lives for fashion, whether designing, visual merchandising, or picking out what to wear in the morning. Niles North fashion students cannot live without Starbucks, competitions, and, of course, sewing. They have taken part in many competitions and shows, including the local Trashy Fashion Show, where they rejuvenated recycled materials to make something new. They also host a fashion club, where students who are not enrolled in the class participate in an activity to make or design accessories. Their course allows them to freely embrace their style and who they are.

Whitney M. Young Magnet High School

Coordinator: Felicia Swope-Clotworthy

Team Stitch Perfect

Stitch Perfect is a group of four senior girls from Whitney M. Young Magnet High School who understand the significance of fashion. With their unique and diverse sense of style, they have one common thread — their passion for designing and creating innovative garments. The students’ interests include designing classic shapes and using neutral tones; combining elements that would not otherwise be put together; the glamorous use of beads, glitter, and embellishments; and breaking the cycle of shunning plus-sized people from being part of the bold world of fashion.

Team Studio 109

Studio 109 is a team of five young designers who attend Whitney M. Young Magnet High School, ranging from grades 8 to 11. Their love of fashion inspires them to follow their dreams. Two of the students are returning contestants of FashioNext. The students are studying fashion design and construction, and enjoy sewing wearable pieces that incorporate aspects of their other interests. Some of the students hope to study fashion abroad in college. Many of the team members enjoy sewing in addition to drawing, painting, reading, and listening to music.

Young Women's Leadership Charter School

Coordinator: Rani Person

Team Leather Nite Stars

Leather Nite Stars is a team of young women ranging from grades 8 through 11 at Young Women’s Leadership Charter School. Their team name is a reflection of the fabrics they are using as well as their collective personalities. Their combined styles create a unique and modern flair. They are a group of fashionable and talented young women who believe in quality fashion and beautiful selections in clothing, and are coming together to make a stylish garment that anyone would like, buy and wear. The group has dynamic personalities and great teamwork skills, and wants their design to really stand out and catch the viewer’s eye.

Team Imported

Imported is a group of unique African American young women who attend Young Women’s Leadership Charter School. They chose the name “Imported” because it means “to bring goods.” They believe that fashion is more than one’s choice of clothing. Fashion is the way we talk, think, walk, and live. Since high fashion is usually something different and unique, Imported wanted to give their fashion a vibrant meaning and make it something new for consumers’ eyes. The team believes fashion is an art form that is expressed through a combination of hairstyle, clothing, shoes, and accessories. Imported hopes to change the view of high fashion and show people that fashion is more than options. Fashion is what you put into it and pull out of it.


Meet the Mentors

Each FashioNext team is paired with a local fashion industry professional, who serves as a mentor throughout the competition. Mentors provide ongoing feedback and guidance, and conduct at least one site visit to view the works in progress and participate in an interview about his or her career.

Hallie Borden
Owner, Milk Handmade

In the spring of 2012, Hallie Borden left her job in corporate marketing to open Milk Handmade, a women’s clothing boutique in the Andersonville neighborhood of Chicago. Stocked with handmade clothing and accessories from local and independent designers, Milk proves that quality materials and artisan craftsmanship don’t have to come with a high-end designer price tag. Hallie is passionate about ethical production and eco-friendly materials. Each product is made with care by an individual person, not a factory assembly line. Most pieces are made by the designer herself, and others are made with help from local seamstresses. Milk Handmade was rewarded soon after its opening with Time Out Chicago‘s Best New Boutique award. More recently, Milk won Block 37’s Search for the Next Great Pop-Up, allowing Hallie to set up a second boutique in the Loop for two months over the 2014 holiday season. Milk has also been recognized in the community as the recipient of the first Eco-Andersonville Sustainable Business Certification.

Lisa Hall
Former Fashion Model and Instructor
Lisa Hall

Lisa Hall has over 20 years of modeling experience. She lived and worked in Europe for 22 years and is a graduate of Cleo Johnson and John Robert Powers modeling schools, and is a former Ebony fashion model. Lisa signed with three of Chicago’s major fashion agencies (Elite, David & Lee, and Susanne Johnson) and now Ford Models agency. While experiencing success in Chicago, Lisa’s dreams led her to Europe, where she worked with Givenchy, Louis Feraud, and many other designers. After her return from Europe, she pursued and received her undergraduate degree in fashion from International Academy of Design and Technology in Chicago. Lisa has been volunteering for Fashion Focus and now volunteers for Chicago History Museum and By the Hand Club for kids.

Dieter Kirkwood
Clothing Designer

Dieter Kirkwood is a contemporary fashion designer who received his BFA in fashion design from Columbia College Chicago in 2004. His work concentrates on distilling design through line and proportion to its most pure form. After graduation, he founded the Dieter Kirkwood Collection, 2004–2006, which was chosen by Macy’s as part of the very first Chicago Fashion Focus and sold through their flagship State Street store. In 2005, he cofounded the luxury women’s wear label dIETERbENNET, which sold through many local and regional boutiques, as well as showing during New York Fashion Week. Dieter has been through every phase of a designer collection start-up. Currently he is exploring how people connect emotionally and visually to what they wear and how technology intersects with craft.

Kpoene’ Kofi-Nicklin
Creative Director, Mignonette Bridal

Kpoene’ Kofi-Bruce is a couturier living in Chicago. She earned a BA in creative writing and women’s studies from Middlebury College, with coursework completed at the University of East Anglia, and also studied costume for dance and theater. After graduation, she moved to Brooklyn and started Mignonette as a womenswear label while studying fashion business and couture at the Fashion Institute of Technology. In 2007, Kofi-Bruce moved to San Francisco to work as a corporate womenswear buyer, later becoming the lead buyer for the Museum of Craft and Folk Art and relaunching Mignonette as Mignonette Bridal. Known for designing vintage-inspired gowns with art nouveau details and rare laces, Mignonette Bridal was named as one of Chicago’s best independent stores by Daily Candy, Chicago magazine, Racked, and Refinery29, and has been featured in numerous wedding blogs and magazines. In 2014, Mignonette Bridal was chosen as a finalist in the Martha Stewart American Made competition.

Mel Muoio

Mel Muoio is recognized for her signature style by national and local media outlets, including The Steve Harvey ShowWWD, Elle, Marie Claire, WGN News, Fox News, Chicago Sun-Times, Modern Luxury, Refinery29, Glossed & Found, Racked, and many more. She uses her exceptional eye to create memorable editorial styling, propping, and visual elements for hospitality venues. Muoio has run the gamut of fashion experience with the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising, appointed fashion expert for national brand launch parties, featured in ad campaigns for her street style and has successfully built her own business with a can-do spirit and many years of hard work.

Andrea Reynders
Design Director, Chicago Fashion Incubator

Fashion designer Andrea Reynders has maintained a broad engagement with a range of fashion-related endeavors in her varied roles as an artist, educator, lecturer, curator, fashion consultant, stylist and production designer. Both a curator of and featured artist in exhibitions of fashion art, Andrea has also served as an adviser for a number of publications on fashion and as a visiting artist at multiple institutions. Professor emerita and former Sage Endowed Chair of Fashion Design at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Andrea developed and taught numerous courses in fashion design and construction, as well as interdisciplinary courses that crossed the boundaries of art and design. Through her administrative leadership while chairing the department for over 25 years, she was a visionary, directing the faculty and students toward growth and change in a department that now has national and international status. She is currently the design director for the Chicago Fashion Incubator.

Souk Supantavong
Stylist, Fashion Show Producer, and Blogger

Known for her eclectic style and ability to spot trends, Supantavong has always had an eye for pairing luxury brands and vintage items while making her clients look naturally chic on any budget. What sets her apart from other stylists is her knowledge of fit and design acquired while studing under well-known designers, including Jodi Arnold in New York City and Lara Miller in Chicago. Supantavong is a seasoned fashion show producer and stylist for both men and women. She has produced shows to benefit many domestic and international non-profit organizations. She has also served as lead stylist and fashion director for various headlining shows and continues to collaborate with local and national designers. Souk recently launched Savvy Souk, a lifestyle blog. Supantavong has a BA in communications from North Park University and a BFA in fashion design from The Illinois Institute of Art—Chicago. She currently resides in Chicago.

Tim Tierney
Founder, Stock Manufacturing Company

Tim Tierney began his career as an options trader at Chicago Mercantile Exchange. He left finance to pursue a more creative path: apparel. He took a crash course in sewing, worked with a pattern maker, helped open a retail location, managed the production of several men’s clothing lines, repped a textile mill, and started his own clothing line. Through these experiences, Tierney gained a holistic understanding of the apparel industry. He currently manages product design, development, sourcing, and production for Stock Mfg. Co.

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