CHICAGO (WBBM) — Monday marks the start of a weeklong event, celebrating Chicago’s growing fashion industry.

WBBM Newsradio’s Regine Schlesinger reports that, just as Chicago is on the cutting edge for the arts, fine dining and architecture, it’s now becoming a first-class city for fashion.

On Monday, the city began celebrating the seventh annual “Fashion Focus,” a celebration of the city’s thriving fashion industry showcasing some of the city’s top designers.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Regine Schlesinger Reports

Chicago doesn’t quite rival Paris or New York but Kiran Advani, the fashion programming director for the Chicago Office of Tourism and Culture, said that, with 400 designers and 300 independent boutiques, the city’s influence in the fashion world is growing.

“We’re growing and we’re emerging and we have talent here that’s both really accessible in designs for the customer that’s based here in Chicago and then designers who are really artistically driven and are showing in Paris and New York and going to Milan,” Advani said. “You can live anywhere and create your garments and I think Chicago, with the four great fashion design schools we have here, has really become a hub of nurturing young talent,” she said.

Advani said First Lady Michelle Obama has also helped put Chicago on the map as a fashion center.

“She’s been a wonderful symbol of supporting independent designers,” Advani said.

Initiated by former Mayor Richard M. Daley, who wanted to showcase Chicago’s fashion talent, Fashion Focus is now in its seventh year.

Throughout the week, the city will host fashion shows at Millennium Park, along with other fashion shows, shopping events and industry seminars at local boutiques and studios. You can find a complete list of Fashion Focus events by clicking here.

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