FashioNext is an ongoing, groundbreaking fashion design competition.

This year FashioNext: The Charles James Project challenged top students from local fashion design schools (Columbia College Chicago, Illinois Institute of Art – Chicago, International Academy of Design & Technology – Chicago and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago) to create a garment inspired by the design, pattern work or construction details from a Charles James design selected from the Chicago History Museum's own costume collection. A finalist from each school appeared in Dress Code on Wednesday, October 19, 2011, where a winner was revealed.

The Perfect Dress

I was inspired by the intense engineering, refining and evolving of concepts, which was central to James's approach and at the heart of his genius. I wanted to experiment with traditionally stiff materials to get them to fall naturally, without interruptions. The name of my piece, Flower Petal, refers to the organic flow created by staying true to the simple yet elegant bodice of the dress and the off-center circles that wrap around the bodice and back skirt, while letting them take on a life of their own.

It's Official!

2011 FashioNext winner:
Cynthia J. Roman,
Columbia College Chicago

2011 FashioNext Winner Cynthia Roman

Cynthia Roman is no stranger to succeeding despite the odds. She has worked to put herself through college, having studied at Wright College and Triton College before transferring to Columbia College in Chicago's fashion program. She is a wife, mother of two and a star design student, and, now, winner of FashioNext 2011.

A Night to Remember

Here are a few highlights from this year's Dress Code event, filled with fun, fashion and excitement.
Thanks to everyone who took part!

Dress Code 2011: A Night to Remember

Winning design for the 2011 FashioNext competition with designer Cynthia J. Roman.

Dress Code 2011: A Night to Remember

Cynthia J. Roman and model walk the runway after winning the 2011 FashioNext competition, The Charles James Project.

Dress Code 2011: A Night to Remember

Excitement and congratulations as the winner is revealed.

Dress Code 2011: A Night to Remember

2011 FashioNext designers with final garments.