Macy's designers in residence - Chicago Fashion Incubator

Designers from the programs inaugural year are enjoying great success through their experience at the CFI including partnerships with Toyota - Japan, showing their collections on the runway as part of Fashion Focus Chicago 2008, and gaining a clear vision of what they want to be as designers.

"The first class of designers in residence at the Chicago Fashion Incubator made significant strides in developing their talent and sharpening their business and marketing skills," says Mayor Richard M. Daley. "By partnering with a major retailer like Macy's, were providing local designers with the foundation and knowledge they need to thrive in the fashion industry."

The success of the inaugural designers has been a testament to the structure of the program, adds Ralph Hughes, Vice President of Corporate Communications of Macy's. "When given the curriculum and opportunities, young designers are put in a position to thrive at a crucial stage in their careers," Hughes says

2009 Designers in Residence

Cynthia Ryba
Cynthia Ryba, who began sewing and creating clothes at the age of 16, offers a unique alternative to everyday dressing. With great attention to detail, Ryba's expertise lies with using conventional materials in an unconventional way. Molding and shaping fabric in an organic fashion, her silhouettes are fluid and imaginative transcending the fleeting, temporal trends of the day.

Past professional experience includes work as an International Accessories Buyer for the major retailer Claire's Accessories (Japan based stores), an internship with Cynthia Rowley and work as a freelance milliner for musician Lenny Kravitz. In addition, she is a Fashion Group International award winner as well as a Richard Driehaus Annual Fashion Show participant and winner.

Ryba is a graduate of the International Academy of Design and Technology in Chicago where she earned a degree in Fashion Design. She is currently working on a line of day to evening professional womens wear dresses – available in stores in the spring of 2010.

Jess Audey
Jess Audey began her sewing career in Cleveland, OH at the age of fourteen and spent most of high school sewing her own skirts and prom dresses. After moving to Chicago in 2001, Audey began to design and sell her own dresses to those interested in her luring style. Heavily influenced by her experience with tactile upholstery fabrics and custom orders, Audey strives to combine the perfect fabric and design for each of her garments.

Past professional experience includes work in the creative department at Chicago's custom handbag company, 1154 Lill Studio.

Audey studied fashion design at Columbia College Chicago. Focusing on fit and timeless silhouettes, she launched AUDEY, her own design studio that is committed to the classic tradition of cocktail dresses with an innovative touch.

Ashley Zygmunt
Ashley Zygmunt, a Chicago native, began pursuing her interest in fashion at the School of the Art Institute Chicago, through the early college program and continuing at Purdue University in the Apparel Design and Technology program. In spring of 2007, she became the first student in the program to study abroad in Hong Kong at Hong Kong Polytechnic University. Past professional experience includes design and production internships with Zac Posen, and Peter Som where she worked through two Mercedes Benz Fashion weeks. In addition, Zygmunt has freelanced for Li and Fung USA, in the Oxford collections division of the company, where she assisted with Norma Kamali for Wal-Mart, Just My Size, a plus sized label, and White Stag Fast Fashion, a high style mass marketed label. Ashley graduated in May 2008 and is eager to elevate the fashion industry in her favorite city, Chicago. You can view her Zamrie line at

Catherine Furio
A Chicago native, Catherine Furio had a passion for creating and designing at a young age. Growing up, Furio spent Saturday's working in her father's menswear store where she was surrounded by fabrics, patterns and garments. Her enjoyment working in retail and her interest in the visual arts drew her to pursue fashion as a career. Furio received her bachelor's degree in apparel design from the Rhode Island School of Design in May 2008 and moved back to Chicago to pursue her career in fashion design. Her line can be found at

Alonzo Jackson
Alonzo Jackson or "Zoe", a Chicago south side native, is a fashion forward thinker with knowledge of high-end brands both classic and contemporary. His understanding of the ever-changing trends in retail, manufacturing, colors and textiles, gives his design work ammunition. His apparent love for fashion and detail lead him to explore his talent for fashion design and wardrobe styling, and transfer his own unique style into the brand.

Jackson established Fashion Geek Clothing nearly 5 years and has been working hard ever since to push his brand. Fashion Geek clothing is best recognized by the Duck Mascot and has been worn by award winning music stars such as Kanye West, Lupe Fiasco, Jermaine Dupree, Jagged Edge, and most recently in the XXL magazine on Young Jeezy. In addition, Fashion Geek Clothing has been featured in publications including Complex Magazine, Antenna, and New City. In 2008 Jackson was accepted into the SLATE show at the International Magic Fashion Tradeshow in Las Vegas where he exhibited Fashion Geek Clothing's 2008 Fall/Winter Collection for worldwide buyers.

Everything Jackson has learned about fashion design, production and manufacturing has been from pure fascination with the process. Jackson admires such designers as Ralph Lauren, Tommy Hilfiger, Louis Vuitton and Gucci.

Nora Del Busto
Nora Del Busto, a Michigan native with a passion for architecture, loves to design structured garments with precise detail and manipulating plain fabrics into extraordinary one-of-a-kind pieces

Del Busto initially worked as a lawyer after receiving her Bachelor of Arts from the University of Michigan and her Juris Doctor degree from Loyola University Chicago School of Law. After working as an attorney for a few years, Del Busto decided she wanted to spend less time in the courtroom and more time exploring her creative side.

Del Busto recently graduated from the International Academy of Design and Technology and is currently working at Cintas as an apparel design assistant. When not working on a project she can be found taking a break on the lakefront running path training for the next marathon. Find her clothes at

Inaugural Designers in Residence (Outgoing Class)

Glenn Mallory - 6ACE by Glenn Mallory features classically designed garments emphasizing detail, created with leather and other finer quality natural-fiber fabrics. For information, visit

Kate Coxworth's line "Kate Boggiano" is founded on the principles of high quality and great fitting clothes that are manufactured in the USA For more information, visit

Agga Raya's AGGA B. offers clean classic silhouettes with a distinct element of art. For information visit

Lidia Wachowska's line Evil Kitty is based on a character called Evil Kitty. Some of the items are reminiscent of this mischievous character, while others are more sophisticated. For more information, visit

Yana German's YANA Collection is elegant, feminine and classic with a modern flair yet a progressive edge. For information, visit

Kristin Rosynek Hassan. Her organiK Revolution offers organic basics with a twist. organiK Revolution clothing is eco-conscious, multi-occasion appropriate, yet still allows you stand out from the crowd. For more information, visit

About the Chicago Fashion Incubator

The Chicago Fashion Incubator (CFI) at Macy's on State Street provides six (6) emerging Chicago-based designers with the resources, including workspace, curriculum and mentoring, to launch their careers in fashion. The Designers in Residence (DIR) are provided office space, including computers and software; a workshop room with sample production space and a resource section; as well as a showroom. DIR are required to complete a core curriculum of workshops and seminars conducted at the Incubator location at Macys on State Street for the duration of a one-year period starting in March 2009. CFI is part of the Mayor's Fashion Initiative, which supports and promotes fashion designers living and working in Chicago through events, seminars, and city programs.

For more information on Chicago's fashion industry, please visit

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