CHICAGO (WLS) -- Fashion design students showed off their creations on the catwalk in Chicago, and they competed for a chance to launch their careers.
The 16th annual Driehaus Awards for Fashion Excellence Gala's runway event was held in the South Loop and featured 25 students from Columbia College, the School of the Art Institute, the Illinois Institute of Art and Dominican University.
"It's very hard to get an opportunity to show your skill sets or talents or abilities when you're still in college," said Richard Driehaus, of the Driehaus Awards for Fashion Excellence. "All the money that's raised here all goes to the students and to their schools."
The students spent a semester with every facet of the ensembles, from sketches to sewing to fitting the models.
"The Driehaus Foundation actually supports students financially which is important," said design student Xavier McMillan. "Coming out of school to actually be able to support yourself financially it's a good opportunity."
The fashion statements were boundless - sporty, elegant, wearable art.
"My collection is entitled 'The Ragged Fantasy,'" said student Gabrielle Faloon. "Each ensemble, each garment encompasses a skirt and corset, it represents the strength of how a woman holds herself in society.
The judges include a costume pro, a designer, and an executive at a retail operation. They were looking for designs that had commercial appeal.
The top prize went to Anna Loosli, a junior at the School of the Art Institute. The Poland native received $7,500 and a display at Neiman Marcus.
"I'm so excited, this is amazing, the best show, I want to stay in Chicago, Chicago is No. 1," Loosli said.
Fashion show features Chicago design students