CHICAGO -- As part of a continuing effort to nurture young, up-and-coming design talent, the Chicago Apparel Center is giving prominence to a group of three local African-American designers.
The designers, who are sponsored by Tanqueray gin, will share exhibition space at the summer women's and children's market, Jan. 14-18, and will be featured in a special segment in the market's designer fashion show being held Jan. 15.
"It's important to the industry that we give a helping hand and visibility to young companies," said Dorothy Fuller, apparel center director.
Collectively called the Tanqueray Chicago Style Fashion Showcase, the trio consists of hip-hop designers Wilson Harris 3rd and Craig Rex Perry, and Sandy Neal, who specializes in avant-garde metallic eveningwear.
"They're special, unique and fresh," Fuller said, noting their fashions should appeal to a wide audience.
Each of the selected designers is a protege of a more established local black designer. The mentors were chosen by Tanqueray because they represent "Chicago style," said a Tanqueray spokesman, and they, in turn, selected the young designers.
Barbara Bates is the mentor for Neal, Sterling Capricio for Harris and Bruce Gage for Perry.
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“Azzedine has been one of the biggest influences in my life. He has always been such a strong, loving, fatherly figure to me. I call him Papa. His designs are indescribably unique, they are pieces of art. He knew how to make the female form look its loveliest. I have so many memories of him; my favorite might be during my first show with him in Paris. He liked me and he wanted to help me get more work. He called all his friends at Kenzo and Comme des Garcons, and asked them to book me. They said, ‘But she can’t walk!’ And he said, ‘but she has such a great ass!' His friendship and support has been the great privilege of my career. I can't imagine life without him. Repose en paix mon Papa.” - @stephanieseymour tells @wwd. #wwdfashion (📷: @steveeichner) #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa, flanked by two of his closest friends, models Stephanie Seymour and Naomi Campbell.
He designed Seymour’s dress for her 1995 wedding to Peter Brant, and treated Campbell (who famously called him Papa), like a daughter. For more on the legendary designer, tap the link in bio. #wwdfashion #alaia #azzedinealaia