• Interview with Chicago fashion designer Bryan K Osburn

    Prospective and retrospective is where you can find Chicago designer, Bryan K Osburn. His is a rich career which spans decades and continents. His gowns have been worn by titans of music including Natalie Cole, Phyliss Hyman, Patti Labelle, Diana Ross and Kathleen Battle.

    We sat down with Bryan to learn a bit about this amazing man and his process.

    Q: What were the first steps you took in the world of fashion?

    BKO: My first steps I took in the world of fashion was learning about fabrics and basic sewing that my mom taught me.

    Q: Where did you receive your training?

    BKO: I received my training from three places, deign school in Chicago (Ray Vogue College) now called The Illinois Institute of Art. The Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City and actually working in the industry.

    Q: Did you begin as an apprentice or intern in another fashion house or did you just start out on your own?

    BKO: I started as a intern for bridal designer Vera Wang right out of design college, and later I was an assistant to various bridal designers on 7th avenue.

    Q: Can you tell us a bit about your current project/s? What is the mood of your latest collection?

    BKO: My recent project was my anniversary show, celebrating my 30 wonderful years in the industry making custom evening, prom and bridal gowns. I presented a collection that I called the NOIR Collection that featured a 30 piece collection of black dresses from past and present collections.

    Q: Where do you find inspiration — for this current collection as well as past collections?

    BKO: My inspiration for past and present collections comes from all sorts of places and sources: new and old movies, fabrics, music, paintings, architecture, my friends and my family.

    Q: What drives you to work, and to continue making collections each season? Where does the desire to design come from?

    BKO: My desire to keep designing and work to produce future collections simply comes from the love I have for fashion and the industry, it's truly my first love, it's in my DNA.

    Q: What in your personal life or in your history most influences/energizes your views on fashion?

    BKO: What influences me in my personal life and or my history … my parents, esp. my mother was one of my very first inspirations along with various aunts that were always soo put together!

    Q: Why do you design in Chicago?

    BKO: I design in Chicago because its my hometown! I moved away, and was out of Chicago, working for 22 years — I lived in New York City, Provence France and Charlotte North Carolina in that time. I am glad to be back home.

    Q:What would you like to see happen in the Chicago area to help the fashion industry to grow?

    BKO: What I’d love to see happen in Chicago to help the industry here: I wish our local media and talk shows like Windy City Live and other Chicago morning talk shows would introduce a local Chicago designer each month by featuring the designer on air with a fashion show!!

    Q: Any advice for the student to design?

    BKO: My advice to student designers...Stay focused, don't ever give up, stay open to learn new things and learn the craft and learn from our history of designers.