Fashion Design: The School of the Art Institute of Chicago's Fashion 2019 Runway Show and Exhibition Considers the Potential for Transformation through Design

Chicago–Students from the Department of Fashion Design at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) will make a fresh, bold statement when their designs hit the runway at the School’s annual fashion show and exhibition on May 3. With this year’s theme of Alchemy 2.0 Transforming Dystopia, the looks featured in the show and exhibition consider the potential for transformation through the process of making and design, explore metallic hues and materials with conductive properties and invite the viewer to engage with these innovative designs.

“As we look toward the future of fashion, innovations in materials and technologies are offering students new perspectives and potential approaches to making garments and accessories,” said Katrin Schnabl, chair of SAIC’s Fashion Design department. “How does one go about making something precious within a dystopian context? It is a question that is very much present in the minds of young designers today, who are confronted by the enormous environmental, economic and social costs of an industry fueled by fast fashion.”

For more than 85 years, SAIC’s Fashion Design department has publicly showcased its students’ collections each spring. Evolving from concept to creation in just two semesters, more than 260 innovative looks pushing the traditional boundaries of style will be on display, created by more than 125 sophomores, juniors and seniors. SAIC’s Fashion Design program boasts distinguished alums, including Halston, Cynthia Rowley, Maria Pinto, Gary Graham and Creatures of the Wind.

SAIC’s fashion exhibition will take place at Venue Six10 in the Spertus Institute, 610 South Michigan Avenue. SAIC, a world-renowned college of art and design, will host a runway show for invited guests to see work from senior students in a professionally produced fashion event. For more information on the exhibition, visit

About SAIC’s Fashion Design Department

SAIC’s Fashion program provides a creative and intellectual context that closely examines and reimagines the nature and potential of fashion. Since 1934, SAIC has been educating new generations of fashion designers who have gone on to produce some of the most inspired and respected collections around the globe. Students set groundbreaking trends as they are encouraged to fiercely respond to international influences, discovering and exploring new concepts and materials. Uniquely situated within a vibrant contemporary school of art and design, SAIC’s Fashion Design department offers undergraduate, graduate and post-baccalaureate programs that build on the relationships between art and fashion that have been evolving over the past century to reach an unprecedented level of connection in contemporary practice today.

SAIC’s Fashion program is located in the historic Sullivan Center building. The 25,000-square-foot studio space includes the Fashion Resource Center, a hands-on collection of late-20th- and 21st-century designer garments and accessories representing extreme innovation, which enables SAIC students to explore the most progressive achievements in the world of dress and fashion.

About the School of the Art Institute of Chicago

For more than 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 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 alums and faculty such as Michelle Grabner, David Sedaris, Elizabeth Murray, Richard Hunt, Georgia O’Keeffe, Cynthia Rowley, Nick Cave, Jeff Koons and LeRoy Neiman.

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Bree Witt
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