I have an amazing network of people that follow me and my events. The Chicago fashion industry is so supportive and it is always great to see people out celebrating fashion! I also do a lot of promotional work through media such as my partner, Chicago Magazine. I am a big advocate of paying it back and attend many events through out the city to support others.
What do you think your role is in the fashion world overall?
I am known as the “man of style!” I have been a long time stylist and set designer for many Chicago designers building relationships to work up to what I am doing this season, which is actually producing the fashion shows. I have years of experience in the special events world, so taking all of that knowledge and applying it to fashion was a natural step. It’s awesome, it’s rewarding, and it’s what I want to be known for!
What inspires you to be so creative and the will to take risks?
As a business owner, I think taking risks comes with the territory. Without taking risks, you can not grow. I like the “shock factor” and response I get when I do big things! People remember that and want more!
What is you’re styling process like?
The biggest challenge of a stylist and working with so many people (from photographers, designers, models, and personal clients), is that you have to keep focused on what you client needs out of it and not necessarily your personal style. I love making people feel confident and look impeccable!
You and I both know Chicago is a mega-city for amazing talent here. And we both support it whole-heartedly. But, what do you see as deterrent to the fashion industry here?
First off, people expect everything for free. No more! We cannot grow as a fashion industry here in Chicago if we keep doing this. Secondly, people are afraid to step outside of the box. That’s what I am here to do!
Where is your favorite place to hold fashion events in the city?
I am in and out of so many venues in this city, but this season I am really into open raw spaces. I love giving people “mystery” behind where they are going. I love random warehouses in the middle of Fulton Market. Some of my spots booked for this season are: River East Art Center, Room 1520, and the Society Art Gallery. These spaces are clean, European style and open. I find the designers collections become more of the main focus in these types of spaces.
Give us some scoop on upcoming events that hasn’t been leaked yet. We want the inside scoop for Fashionista Chicago.
Ooooo, a little gossip! I love it! Well, lets just say, be on the look out for fashion shows in very avant-garde locations! Think yachts and even airports…can you say “runway ON the runway?
Favorite designers in Chicago?
To answer this question fairly, I will give you a hand full of great designer who have been big supporters of ME and what I do to give credit where credit is due! GOCA Designs, CLEONS Clothing, Borris Powell Designs, Horacio Nieto, and Elda De La Rosa.
What are you working on now? Contact info and link to a list of your events?
I have a full calendar of fashion shows booked for the Spring season that will take me into June. To kick the season off right though, why not throw a party for all of my closest fashion industry friends?! On March 21st, I will be hosting “Spring Fashion ENVY” at NV Penthouse where new partnerships between Benjamin Cottrell Designs and Chicago Magazine and UBER Car Services will be introduced along with co-producing partnerships with Ladies Night Chicago and Chicago Fashion Connect. This season I will also be starting a blog, “Behind the Scenes.” A camera crew will be with me all season, giving viewers an inside look into what it takes to produce a fashion show while capturing the drama behind it all! It’s an exciting time for me and my team (who consist of an assistant producer, 2 backstage managers, and stylists). Here we go….
Thanks Benji for a fun interview. See you soon!