Last Friday the city announced that local designer Lara Miller has been chosen as the new executive director of Macy's Chicago Fashion Incubator program. Miller, who replaces interim executive director and Macy's buyer Kimberly Prodan, has already put in time on the Mayor's Fashion Council and now will give the six designers in residence at the incubator the benefit of her experience on the grueling task that is launching and running a clothing line.
Miller is one of the city's biggest success stories--she officially started her own line in 2005, and it's now sold in stores all over the country as well as in the UK, Japan, and Australia. Crain's Chicago Business named her one of their 40 overachievers under 40 for 2008. She had some interesting things to say about Chicago fashion when I interviewed her for an Eight Forty-Eight story last fall (her comments start at about 5:18), including this surprising take on our taste in clothes, which didn't make it into the piece:
I’ve actually found that customers in Chicago are more receptive to my fashion-forward pieces than anywhere else in the U.S., which is really interesting. You know, you think my stores in New York are selling my most avant-garde pieces. I actually had to kind of tone down the collection a little bit more and make it more sellable for some of my stores in New York and to get into some stores on the west coast. And it’s really the customers in Chicago who are saying, "Hey, remember that one-shoulder turtleneck shrug thing you did? Can you bring that back?"