Fashion Next Logo

FashioNEXT | Teen Design Competition


Processed with VSCOcam with g3 presetThis spring, teams of aspiring designers from across the Chicago area will challenge themselves and each other in this three-month design competition. Using materials, tools, dress forms, and embellishments provided by the Chicago History Museum, as well as the guidance of a mentor from the local fashion community, teens will set out to create a look inspired by Making Mainbocher: The First American Couturier.

The Challenge
Mainbocher’s career in fashion spanned both world wars and led to his design of women’s uniforms for the United States Navy. Inspired by his life’s work, teens will be asked to imagine a dystopian future, one where they as fashion designers, must contend with restrictions in fabric, rationed materials, and DIY embellishments. Couture, uniformity, and service to one’s country are all at the heart of this design challenge.

Meet the FashioNEXT Author


Laura Ruby, winner of the 2016 Michael L. Printz Award for Excellence in Young Adult Literature and National Book Award Finalist, will write a scenario that constructs the dystopian conditions the FashioNEXT teams will use as inspiration for their final designs. Ruby will use the history of the subjects explored in Making Mainbocher: The First American Couturier, as well as her own unique vision, to craft a wholly original world that the teens will immerse themselves in throughout the course of the program.

Laura Ruby writes fiction for kids, teens and adults, including the forthcoming middle-grade trilogy YORK and the YA novel Bone Gap, a finalist for the National Book Award and winner of the 2015 Printz Medal. She is on the faculty of Hamline University’s Masters in Writing for Children and Young Adults program.

Find Laura Ruby on




Applications for FashioNext will be accepted until November 1, 2016

Download Application

Watch last year’s designers and mentors share their FashioNEXT experiences.

FashioNEXT is Sponsored by