Chicago Fashion Trip that Almost Wasn’t

By: Abby Shaffer Filed under: Fashion

October 3, 2017

The students in fashion programs Fashion Design (BS) and Fashion Marketing & Management (BS) had a wild ride to Chicago. Despite a broken down bus, jumping on a double decker tour bus and walking a half dozen blocks, the tours of stores, manufacturing plants, and showrooms were unmeasurable experiences for the students from The Art Institute of Indianapolis. “Our students are very visual,” said chaperone and Ai Indy instructor Jo Dean Tipton. “It is important for them to see the process from the beginning to end—the fabric stores to the manufacturing facilities to the wholesale showrooms and then into retail stores.”

Students started at Chicago’s Merchandise Mart. They met with Shilan Fine who owns Shilan Accessories, LTD and Margot Nussbaum of Margot Nussbaum and Associates clothing lines. Both explained how they work with designers to display their creations and how those creations are bought by retailers to sell in their stores. Also, how they work with catalogs like Sundance and home shopping networks. 


Margot Nussbaum & Associates Showroom New Fabrics Store

Students at the Margot Nussbaum and Associates showroom (left) and Fishman's Fabrics (right), both in Chicago.

From there the students headed to Fishman’s and New Rainbow Fabrics. The selections outweigh anything available in Indianapolis. Many students came away with swatches and remnant bags of material for future projects. The Fashion Design students nearing the end of their program were excited to find possibilities for their final collection they are required to design and produce.

Final stops were two retailers—Urban Outfitters and John Fluevog, an artistic shoe line. These store employees explained the layout of the store, displays, groupings and determining what will sell in what part of the country. Fluevog was a treat for both Tipton and the other chaperone, Ai Indy Instructor Lisa Brazus, who just happened to both own a pair of Fluevogs.

Fluevog showroom

Ai Indy Students at Fluevog

The students also had some free time to check out places on their own. Some found a manufacturing facility. Others visited an industrial sewing machine store. “I hope this was an eye opening trip for our students as to the possible internships or jobs out there and the resources for designing,” says Tipton. As for the rough start to the trip Tipton says, “I love when you move forward and find a solution. Happens in the fashion industry all the time. We are constantly solving problems.”

Abby Shaffer is a freelancer in media and public relations with a BA in Communications from DePauw University.

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By: Abby Shaffer Filed under: Fashion

October 3, 2017