Chicago isn’t exactly famed for a “fashion-forward” aesthetic—although, we’re really benefiting from the return of the “joutfit” (jean outfit). However, despite Chicago’s enduring city-bumpkin reputation, there are a few Chicagoans who’ve asserted themselves in fashion’s global dialogue. Among them are Shane Gabier and Chris Peters. Gabier and Peters are the two designers behind the relatively new brand, Creatures of the Wind.

Over the past seven months, Creatures of the Wind has had a meteoric rise in the fashion world. The label really took off after Gabier, a professor at the School of the Art Institute, and Peters, an SAIC graduate, received the 2011 runners-up prize for the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund last November. The award allotted them a $100,000 cushion for their growing business.