SAIC Celebrates 80 Years of Fashion Innovation at Its Annual Fashion Show on Friday, May 2

The School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC), one of the nation’s leading art and design schools, proudly announces Fashion 2014, the annual fashion show that celebrates an astounding 80 years of fashion innovation this year. The extraordinary runway show will be presented three times throughout the day on Friday, May 2, at Millennium Park’s Chase Promenade North. Fashion 2014 will culminate with THE WALK 2014—SAIC’s annual benefit gala supporting the production of student work and scholarships. To honor the anniversary, performance artist, fashion influencer, and SAIC educator Nick Cave will receive the Legend of Fashion Award. This year, SAIC also welcomes Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago Curator Naomi Beckwith as emcee.

“In eight decades, SAIC has developed an internationally renowned Fashion Design department that has produced visionary talent like Halston and Gary Graham and is now cultivating the next generation of great designers,” said SAIC President Walter E. Massey. “Our Fashion Design students receive an interdisciplinary education that challenges them to be both artistic and conceptual in their work and to imagine the future of the industry. The support provided by THE WALK and its audience ensures that all of our students will have the opportunity to succeed through continued access to SAIC’s distinguished faculty, special collections, and acclaimed resources.”

Previously, SAIC has recognized leaders in the fashion industry, including Anna Sui, Nicole Miller, Maria Pinto, Ikram and Josh Goldman, Cynthia Rowley and Bill Powers, and Kate and Laura Mulleavy of Rodarte. This year, SAIC honors Cave for his cutting-edge work combining performance, sound, color, and fashion. Cave’s excellence and expertise influences the SAIC community and energizes the fashion world at large. Dries van Noten, Thom Browne, Akris, Suno, and The Row have all cited Cave’s work as inspiring their collections. His work has also graced the pages of Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, Time, and the New York Times. In addition to being named the honoree, Cave will also debut a three-part performance at THE WALK 2014. Through movement, dress, ceremony, and sound, Cave's kaleidoscopic creations explore life's rights of passage.

“It is a privilege to bestow the Legend of Fashion Award on Nick Cave, who has been pioneering a new hybrid of art, dance, performance, and fashion, and most importantly, he is a magnificent mentor to our students,” said SAIC Professor Katrin Schnabl, Sage Chair in Fashion Design. “The passion and dedication Nick exemplifies through collaborative work is visionary, and we are excited to celebrate his accomplishments and acclaim at our 80th anniversary.”

Production Highlights

  • For the first time ever, the SAIC Fashion Design department will collaborate with the Department of Architecture, Interior Architecture, and Designed Objects to develop the look of the runway shows.
  • Approximately 250 student-designed looks showcasing a combination of painting, sculpture, performance, sound, body, installation, and technology will be presented.
  • Seniors in SAIC’s Fashion Design department will create complete collections of five garments, juniors will show three complete designs from their collections, and each sophomore will present one avant-garde look in muslin.
  • A presenting sponsor of THE WALK 2014, Swarovski, the leading designer of crystal fashion jewelry and accessories, will extend its partnership with SAIC for the fourth year. Five junior students from SAIC’s Fashion Design program, under the direction of professor and SAGE Chair in Fashion Design, Katrin Schnabl, will incorporate Swarovski’s signature jewelry and crystals in their garments for the runway show.

More than 50 models from Factor Runway will wear the students’ original garments as they walk down a custom-constructed, 72-foot ramp runway. The show is produced and directed by Conrad Hamather, SAIC’s Graduate Coordinator of its Master of Design in Fashion, Body and Garment, with talent direction by Annie Novotny, SAIC faculty member, alumna, and head designer of Frei Designs.

THE WALK 2014 is generously supported by returning presenting sponsors MacLean-Fogg Company and Swarovski and new presenting sponsor Bank of America. CS Magazine is the exclusive media sponsor. Additional support for THE WALK 2014 is provided by Ariel Investments, ULTA, Macy’s, Exelon, Mesirow Financial, and Goldman Sachs and new this year, McDonald’s, Blick Art Materials, and Grosvenor Capital Management.


THE WALK 2014, SAIC’s annual evening scholarship benefit, co-chaired by Margaret MacLean and Debbie Jagel and honoring acclaimed artist Nick Cave is held in conjunction with Fashion 2014.

  • The event begins with a 5:30 p.m. cocktail reception in the Millennium Park Chase Promenade North.
  • THE WALK starts at 6:30 p.m. and includes a special three-part act from Nick Cave, the runway show featuring SAIC student collections, presentations of the Legend of Fashion Award as well as significant student scholarships, awards, and coveted fashion industry internships.
  • Immediately following THE WALK 2014, guests will enjoy a strolling dinner at the rooftop terrace of Millennium Park’s Harris Theater.
  • Individual tickets for THE WALK 2014 are $500–$1,000. Tables are $5,000–$25,000.

Fashion 2014

Fashion 2014 will be presented three times on Friday, May 2.

  • 9:00 a.m. is a general admission dress rehearsal. Tickets are $40.
  • 12:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m. shows are general admission seating. Tickets are $75 and available on site or online.

For more information and to purchase tickets, please call 312.499.4190 or visit

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Renowned artist Nick Cave to receive SAIC’s Legend of Fashion Award at annual benefit, THE WALK, at Millennium Park

Press/Media contact

Bree Witt
P: 312.499.4211 (office)