Local designer in the spotlight as Chicago celebrates annual fashion week

FOX 32 NEWS - Chicago is celebrating its annual fashion week and a local designer with an unusual handbag line is in the spotlight. She changed careers in mid-life and now people all over the world are sporting her bags.

It’s a red carpet reception for Chicago fashion week. The designer in the spotlight is Chicago’s own Beth Swanson, and the launch of her new designs. FOX 32 caught up with her before her big night.

"Inside I'm dying, I'm freaking out,” Beth Swanson said.

And there's a reason she's freaking out. Beth’s handbags are becoming front and center, from New York to Paris fashion week. Her Phomaz handbags are getting noticed. They’re made with acoustic foam. Yes, the foam you find on the walls of recording studios.

At the age of 42, it was an unexpected move for the new designer who wanted to combine her love for two different mediums.

"I didn’t go to design school. I just like it and I'm wild about music too,” she said. “So working with that textile was a great way to merge the two together."

For Beth, a marketing specialist, it was the passing of both of her parents that made her decide she needed to make her mark in the world. Her first bag is called the Rad Tote and her latest is a purple shaped heart design.

Part of the proceeds will go to the American Cancer Society.

Beth Swanson’s one-of-a-kind designs can be found online and fill the pages of her Instagram.

For Beth, it's fashion with a purpose. Something she hopes will continue to bring her joy while helping others at the same time.

Beth’s Phomaz collaboration with the American Cancer Society will be launched next week. It’s part of the Power in Purple campaign for the organization.

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