Photo by Antone of antonephotography.com
Designer: Agga Raya
Background: Agga Raya never even considered going to school for fashion; she was born into it, with her parents working as designers and manufacturers in Poland. At age 16, she created her first fashion show and, now, ten years later, she’s running her own line, the AGGA B. Collection.
Design Aesthetic: Modern, elegant and sophisticated, with a definite European flavor. “It’s directed to a woman who pays attention to fashion and beauty,” says Raya.
Designer Inspirations: Old-school classics like Valentino and Armani because of their silhouettes, tailoring and attention to detail.
Chicago Inspirations: The Chicago Fashion Incubator at Macy’s on State. Last year, Raya was selected as one of the Designers in Residence, something she says has been a tremendous help. Read the rest of this entry »
Every year, dozens and dozens of designers show at Fashion Focus Chicago, many for the first time. Here are a few, beyond Maria Pinto of course, who seemed especially buzzworthy this year.
Shorty bookended the week, opening with GenArt’s Fresh Faces in Fashion and closing out by winning Macy’s Distinction in Design competition.
5p1t’s on a roll of its own, starting with recognition by Fashion Group International as a Chicago Rising Star, followed by an appearance in the venerable “Chicago is Red Hot” show and capped by an appearance at Fashion Focus in Macy’s Designers of Chicago show.
Glaum-Lathbury was one of the few designers repeating an appearance from last year (when she was a GenArt Fresh Face), with her show as part of the Allure of Couture evening.
Agga B was one of four local designers sponsored by Toyota to develop work inspired by its i-REAL concept; she also showed as one of the inaugural designers in the Chicago Fashion Incubator project housed at Macy’s.
Another Toyota i-REAL designer, Fong showed during the Macy’s Designers of Chicago show; she’s been picked up to be sold at Macy’s this fall.
World Fashion Chicago, an event designed to showcase the city’s Sister Cities program (October 2), oozed with admirable ambition. Chicago has twenty-seven official “sister cities,” including the style meccas of Paris and Milan, so why not have a show that conveys the global nature of fashion, and Chicago’s place within?
Unfortunately, the project was far too overwhelming to properly execute. Some cities were represented by Chicago designers who created looks drawing inspiration from a particular city, sometimes subtly, sometimes like costumes for a B movie. On the other hand, some Chicago designers simply represented their ethnic backgrounds by showing from their general collections. Six designers actually brought their designs from their far-flung cities, ranging from Amman, Jordan to Casablanca, Morocco. And in a few cases, models wore clothes from international designers who needed little exposure, like Escada and Dolce & Gabbana. Needless to say, the range and styles were literally all over the map.
The resulting show was a cacophonous hoot of excess without cohesion. Several cities, inexplicably, were even represented by multiple designers. Add to that the “commercial” presentation of looks designed by talented Chicago comers Agga B, Melissa Serpico, Evil Kitty and Anna Fong for Toyota’s “space-age” I-Real project, and you had a show that would defy anyone trying to actually take anything actionable (i.e., to buy the clothes or learn more about a designer) away from the runway. And we didn’t even mention that “Project Runway” contestant Steven Rosengard showed up to represent Hamburg, Germany. Eventually, we put our pens away and just enjoyed the show. (Brian Hieggelke)