Benjamin Cottrell Designs styles the fashion industry in Chicago

Since making the step of becoming full time fashion show producer, Benjamin Cottrell has been having hard time finding time for a day off and his calendar has been filling up months in advance.

The secret behind such high demand is not because he is good at what he does, which he is. And is not because he can produce successful fashion events, which he does. Benjamin Cottrell is highly sought after because of his unique approach.

The timber loft in South Loop is both elegant and inviting and by the time I arrived the sushi was set on the coffee table beneath two crystal chandeliers. Benjamin hands me a glass of white wine and sits down on the other side of the couch with a glass of red and a notepad. “We should go over the details,” he says.

This was one of our informal business meetings to finalize the next Fashion Industry Mixer. Benjamin had officially came on board as the co-producer of the recurring fashion networking event in early 2012. Working with CFC he had produced three Fashion Industry Mixers since, which was only one of countless projects that Benjamin has been managing that Spring season.

Benjamin is an established interior designer, having transformed residential as well as commercial spaces. His own South Loop loft has been featured in design magazines, with the most recent a page spread in the CS Interiors. In addition, Benjamin has extensive experience with special events planning. “Fashion just fits so naturally with what I’ve done in the past that it seemed like a logical next step.”

With expertise in interior design and events management, transitioning to fashion for Benjamin was easy. Making connections with fashion designers, models and makeup artists, he established “Benjamin Cottrell Designs” as the go to company for fashion show and events production. Within a year, Benjamin had secured an extensive client list of established and emerging designers.

To name just few events from the Spring season, Benjamin produced Borris Powell’s “Without a Shadow of Doubt” fashion show at the River East Art Center. Red Pump Project’s “Rock the RED” fashion show and fundraiser at the Society Art Gallery. GOCA’s “Elegance of Maturity” fashion show at the Room 1520. One Hope United fundraiser and fashion show at the Mercedes-Benz Dealership.

So what is the secret to such a high demand? Benjamin Cottrell is not just another fashion show producer on the block, he’s… “I’m a life-stylist,” as Benjamin describes himself. “I design and style everything, creating a full circle fashionable lifestyle experience for my clients.”

Benjamin’s approach to fashion show production is to first choose a venue. Knowing the space that is available, helps him put all the other details together to effectively tell his client’s story. Benjamin has working relationships with makeup artists, hairstylists and models; and if needed, can bring on photographers and videographers.

There doesn’t seem to be a concept that Benjamin can’t bring to life. Time travel? Not a problem. Four eras, the 20s, 60s, 80s and a futuristic flare, has been experienced by the guests of one of the events. A party with the kings and queens from the 19th century? Also not a problem. Have a more extravagant taste? How about a Ferrari at the fashion show? Also done.

The Fall fashion season for Benjamin Cottrell kicks off in late August. We can’t wait to see what he will bring on next.

Media crew:
Video Reporter – Raven
Event Video – Garrick Peterson

Extending thank you to Audra Elizabeth for the custom made hat and necklace that was worn in the video. “Everyday is a performance, dress for the one you want.” Audra Elizabeth is here for all your millinery needs.

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