Dear Students, Faculty, and Friends of the Fashion Department,


Welcome to the Fashion 2021 virtual festival celebrating the achievements of all our students and classes in the fashion department!


It has been an extraordinary academic year; one, which we will share with you the way we shared much this past year: virtually. May 14, 2021, marks the launch of a new department website which gives each student their own showcase. On this day we also premiere a suite of fashion films created by the graduating senior class of 2021. We are delighted to toast the awardees, and celebrate all our students, for their amazing pursuits through creativity, innovation, and resilience.


In the summer of 2020 we were three months into the uncertainty of the pandemic, facing a staggering and undiscriminating loss of life and no clear roadmap through it. The pause put on full view the entrenched disparities in our society that disadvantages our fellow citizens because of their color, gender, or origin. How did we get to this place? What could be a different experience of ourselves in the world? The disruption to the old normal is unparalleled. Yet paired with an innate desire for rebalancing, it presents a tremendous creative opportunity to clarify one’s pursuit. As much of the world closed down, it opened up in different and unexpected ways: from our homes we were able to have class and studio visits with virtual visiting artists, we connected globally. And this shift to flexible teaching also allowed us to keep connected with students through our classes, who could not physically return to Chicago!


These experiences and stories are shared on the new website that our faculty member and colleague extraordinaire Michelle Kim has developed and implemented. Please visit, browse, and see the remarkable diversity of expression, and work, as we navigate new approaches into the future. You’ll find bold explorations bursting of creative agency across the courses and pathways the department offers. A special highlight each year is the work of our accomplished senior fashion design class, guided by Abigail Glaum-Lathbury and Rey Pador. They have made this moment theirs. With remarkable bounce they created the worlds they want to see through their fabulous collections. And as one door closes, another opens —they decided to produce fashion films to take their fashion stories out into the world. These series of fashion films will premiere here tonight.


The year has upended our routines, interactions, and how we do things, including teaching and learning. I want to salute my cherished colleagues: fellow faculty and staff, not only for the skills they bring into their teaching, and also for their commitment to their students and adaptability to reinvent how they teach. Thank you to the Gene Siskel Film Center virtual team, the Exhibitions and Exhibition Studies team, the web development team, SAIC’s CRIT, IRFM, and media centers, the FVNMA department, our colleagues at OA, and especially Bob Faust for this ingenious publication design. And I want to express my most heartfelt thank you for our Fashion Council, and Heiji Choy Black, its chair, for their unwavering dedication in support of the Fashion Design department and its students through this uncharted territory.


Katrin Schnabl

Sage Foundation Chair