THE WALK Welcomes 500, Helps Raise Over $500k for Student Work and Scholarships

Cutting-edge fashion filled Millennium Park’s Chase Promenade on Friday, May 3 as the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) hosted Fashion 2013, its 79th annual fashion show, and THE WALK 2013 benefit gala. Over 250 garments made by 94 SAIC sophomores, juniors and seniors impressed guests four times throughout the day before Kate and Laura Mulleavy of Rodarte received the Legend of Fashion Award and long-time friend of SAIC Melissa Sage Fadim was honored with the Heart of Fashion Award. Co-chaired by SAIC Fashion Committee members Stephanie Sick and Roopa Weber, the gala welcomed 500 guests and, together with ticket proceeds from the daytime presentations of the show, grossed more than $500,000 to support the production of student work and scholarships.

The festivities for Fashion 2013 began at 9:00 a.m. with a sold-out dress rehearsal where 37 sophomores, 35 juniors, and 22 seniors unveiled their detailed garments, showcased by more than 50 models from Factor Runway. Each sophomore presented one avant-garde cotton look. The junior class followed with each student presenting a three-look collection. Highlights included collections by Blair Disbrow, Jordan Kiehle, and Crystle Crubaugh, whose designs were embellished with Presenting Sponsor Swarovski’s jewelry and crystals. The senior class closed the show with a complete collection of five looks presented by each student. A total of 1,900 guests attended the three daytime productions.

At 5:30 pm the Chase Promenade tent transformed into an elegant cocktail reception hosting its own fashion show of guests in extraordinary attire. Co-Chairs Stephanie Sick and Roopa Weber—who wore a dress made for her by SAIC alumnus Michael Walls (Sage Foundation Scholarship, BFA 2012)—welcomed the crowd, as light hors d’oeuvres and champagne were served. Photographers captured red carpet snapshots of the evening’s esteemed attendees, including the Artistic Director of Nina Ricci, Peter Copping; as well as clothier Ikram Goldman; Tony award-winning costume designer William Ivey Long; SAIC faculty member Shane Gabier and alumnus Chris Peters of Creatures of the Wind; designer and SAIC alumna Maria Pinto; David DeJesus of the Chicago Cubs with his wife, Kim; and Todd Ricketts, Director of Chicago Baseball Holding LLC, with his wife, Sylvie.

At 6:30 p.m. 500 eager guests made their way to the Runway where ELLE Fashion News Director Anne Slowey introduced the day’s final presentation of the runway show. Following the show, SAIC President Walter Massey presented honored guests Kate and Laura Mulleavy of Rodarte with the Legend of Fashion Award for their outstanding contributions to the fashion industry. SAIC Chancellor Emeritus Tony Jones then took the stage to introduce the new Heart of Fashion Award and pay tribute to Melissa Sage Fadim, benefactor of the Sage Foundation Scholarship and SAIC’s Sage Studios for Fashion Design, for her 25-year commitment to SAIC’s Fashion department.

Immediately following the awards ceremony guests walked to the rooftop terrace of Millennium Park’s Harris Theater where they were greeted by the sounds of DJ Michiel Helbig and elegant décor by Frost. Guests were treated to an eclectic variety of fashion-inspired foods set up throughout the Harris tent, such as Sweet Pea Ravioli “Purses,” “Clothespin” Tacos and Wraps, and Designer Desserts that paid homage to name brands in the fashion industry. Blue Plate, Hennessy, and Terlato Wines were among the in-kind sponsors of the event.

THE WALK was generously supported by Presenting Sponsors Swarovski and the MacLean-Fogg Company. Additional support was provided by: Haute-Couture Sponsors Ariel Investments, Maybelline New York, Sage Foundation, Bill and Stephanie Sick, and ULTA Beauty; Avant-Garde Sponsors Driehaus Design Initiative, Exelon, Goldman Sachs, and the Richard and Ellen Sandor Family Foundation; Prêt-à-Porter Sponsors Denise B. Gardner, Macy’s, Bisi Williams and Bruce Mau, Mesirow Financial, and the Neisser Family Fund; and additional in-kind sponsors.

The fashion excitement continued in SAIC’s first-ever Pop-Up Shop, Su_7—named for the Sullivan Center’s seventh floor where Fashion Design students create their stunning designs—in Block Thirty Seven (108 North State Street). The store, which was open May 10–19, gave shoppers the opportunity to browse, buy, and commission work by the next generation of fashion innovators from SAIC. Students completing the Master of Design in Fashion, Body and Garment program present work in SAIC’s graduate design thesis exhibition, SET OFF, June 9–July 5 at the Sullivan Galleries (33 South State Street, Tuesday–Saturday, 11:00 a.m.–6:00 p.m.).

The School of the Art Institute of Chicago’s Fashion program provides a creative and intellectual context in which the nature and potential of fashion is closely examined and reimagined. Uniquely situated within a vibrant contemporary school of art and design, SAIC’s Fashion department offers undergraduate, graduate, and post-baccalaureate fashion programs that build on the connections and relationships between art and fashion that have been evolving in the past century and that reach an unprecedented level in contemporary practices today.

SAIC’s Fashion program is housed within the Sage Studios for Fashion Design located in the historic Carson Pirie Scott building. The 25,000-square-foot studio space includes the Fashion Resource Center—celebrating its 25th anniversary this year—a hands-on collection of late-20th- and 21st-century designer garments and accessories representing extreme innovation, which allows SAIC students the opportunity to explore the most progressive achievements in the world of dress and fashion.

The success of SAIC’s Fashion Design program and SAIC's interdisciplinary approach to education is reflected in a list of alumni that includes such notable designers as Halston, Cynthia Rowley, Lawrence Steele, J. Morgan Puett, Eunwha Kim, Maria Pinto, Gary Graham, and Matthew Ames. SAIC graduates hold senior design positions in firms as varied as Yeohlee, Jones New York, Levis, Nike, Charles Chang Lima, and Tommy Hilfiger, and design for Anna Sui, Calvin Klein, Tiffani Kim, Betsey Johnson, Triple5Soul, and Moschino. Upon graduating, many have chosen to intern for international houses such as Viktor & Rolf, Alexander McQueen, Wendy & Jim, Castelbajac, Zac Posen, Threeasfour and William Ivey Long or to launch their own fashion lines. For more information, please visit

A leader in educating artists, designers, and scholars since 1866, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) offers nationally accredited undergraduate and graduate degrees and post-baccalaureate programs to more than 3,200 students from around the globe. SAIC also provides adults, high school students, and children with the opportunity to flourish in a variety of courses, workshops, certificate programs, and camps through its Continuing Studies program. Located in the heart of Chicago, SAIC has an educational philosophy built upon an interdisciplinary approach to art and design, giving students unparalleled opportunities to develop their creative and critical abilities, while working with renowned faculty who include many of the leading practitioners in their fields. SAIC's resources include the Art Institute of Chicago and its new Modern Wing; numerous special collections and programming venues provide students with exceptional exhibitions, screenings, lectures, and performances. For more information, please visit

Image Credit: Stephanie Sick, Laura Mulleavy, Roopa Weber, and Kate Mulleavy. Sick and Weber were co-chairs of THE WALK 2013. Kate and Laura Mulleavy received the SAIC Legend of Fashion Award at the event. Photo by Sara Condo

Download Release (printer-friendly version): THE WALK 2013 press release.

Co-chaired by Stephanie Sick and Roopa Weber, the glamorous evening honored Kate and Laura Mulleavy of Rodarte and Chicagoan Melissa Sage Fadim.

Press/Media contact

Bree Witt
P: 312.499.4211 (office)