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Chicago officials work to train and maintain design professionals

on Monday,May 10,2010 00:05

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Although Los Angeles and New York City are said to be the country's fashion capitals, Chicago is emerging as a center of education for budding designers, the New York Times reports.

The city is affordable and accessible, and is home to the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, a top design school. As a result, an increasing number of prospective designers are choosing to perfect their craft here.

However, many graduates of design school are fleeing the city after they finish school, which has city officials working to encourage these professionals to stick around.

Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley recently announced the launch of the Fashion Initiative, which is intended to showcase the estimated 400 design professionals who are working in or around the city. The initiative includes a Fashion Incubator program, which provides economic, marketing and merchandising training to six hometown designers each year, according to city officials.

Through these efforts, Chicago hopes to breed its own set of hometown designers and a distinct fashion scene.

"We don't want to be like New York, and we don't want to have a New York-style fashion week," Melissa Gamble, director of fashion arts events for the city's Department of Cultural Affairs, told the news source.

"We want to raise the visibility of the talent that's here," she added.

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