There's a good article in Crain's Chicago Business this week about the state of the Chicago fashion scene five years after the launch of the Fashion Advisory Council. The verdict? We're not much closer to being a "global fashion capital" than we were back in 2006.
This is the kind of stuff the city's fashion insiders whisper to each other on a regular basis, but hardly anyone wants to come out and say. Blame it on civic pride and reluctance to harsh on a well-intentioned effort.
The problem, it seems, is one of both image and infrastructure. But do we really need to try to compete with Paris and Milan? The most significant fashion authority in Chicago, Ikram Goldman, doesn't think so. She's quoted as saying, "I don't know if there's room for (another) Paris or New York. Look at the Japanese, the Belgians—they all have to go to Paris."
Shane Gabier and Christopher Peters of Creatures of the Wind (who are also mentioned in the Crain's article) have the right approach. They neither fly the Chicago flag or try to hide it.
That's not to say the city should throw in the towel. But it might be time to reevaluate.