Sunday, September 29, 2013

Fashion Focus Chicago 2013

Chicago Fashion Facts:

  • Home to more than 400 local designers living and working in Chicago.
  • Home to more than 300 independent boutiques working around the clock to bring the best in eclectic fashion to our style-conscious and diverse community.
  • Home to some of the top accredited fashion colleges in the country.
So, yeah, Chicago needs to have its own Fashion Week!

In its ninth year, the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs & Special Events (DCASE), along with the assistance of the Mayor’s Fashion Council, presents Fashion Focus Chicago 2013, a week-long celebration of Chicago‘s thriving fashion industry. 

From October 15th through October 20th, the city's fashion initiative promotes the independent fashion boutiques and designers in Chicago. Fashion Focus Chicago is a great opportunity for local designers to display their work for large audiences around the city, as well as allows tourists and locals to be exposed to the fashion diversity of the Chicago scene.   Designers, industry professionals, consumers, and artists come together to support emerging and established designers and small local businesses, purchase new trends, learn about the industry, and enjoy Fashion Focus Chicago events throughout the city.

Fashion Focus Chicago will produce a series of runway shows in Millennium Park showcasing the latest looks of emerging and established designers and will produce other premiere events like Industry Day and shopping events (listed below).  Many boutiques and organizations will also be hosting shopping events, trunk shows and industry events around the city.

As a lover of all things Chicago-made, it will be exciting to see runway-level designs from emerging Chicago designers. Well-respected and designers known locally and internationally will also get their time in the spotlight.

[Schedule subject to change]


Inspiration: Designer and Muse
6:00 pm, Location to be determined
Maison De LaCour Fashion Presentation
12 noon, Free Admission
Millennium Park Chase Promenade North
Fashion Focus: Taking it to the Streets
7:30 pm, Free Runway Show
Millennium Park Chase Promenade North
Fashion Focus: Urban Shapeshifters
7:30pm, Free Runway Show
Millennium Park Chase Promenade North
The Art of Fashion Runway Show
6:00 pm VIP Reception / 7:30 pm Runway Show
Millennium Park Chase Promenade North
Northern Grade
10:00 am - 6:00 pm, Free Admission
Millennium Park Chase Promenade South
10:00 am - 6:00 pm, Free Admission
Millennium Park Chase Promenade North
CLICK HERE for more information about these Fashion Focus events. 


Fashion Focus Chicago 2013 supports the local fashion community with industry events including a full day of free education seminars hosted by the Mayor’s Fashion Council and featuring local fashion organizations.  Topics range from intellectual property to sourcing and internationally to mastering social media.  CLICK HERE for more information on Industry Day seminars.


invites you to an exclusive

Tuesday, October 15th - 5:30 pm - 9:30 pm
1754 W. Division, Chicago
(312) 912-9676

Be the first to shop the hottest designer labels for fall
and enjoy 25% off all merchandise.
One Night Only
Fashion presentation at 7 pm
Style consultations by resident stylist Thomas Vaughan
Award winning cocktails by mixologist Misael
"The Missile" and Tiger premium lager beer
Light bites by Paladar Cuban Restaurant
Acupuncture by Dr. Amy Cortis
Gift bags for our guests!
10% of all sales will go to benefit One Hope United
Le Thrift Consignment Boutique runway [Fashion Fest 2013]

Brands we carry: Alice + Olivia, Burberry, Diane von Furstenberg, Prada, Moschino, Max Mara, Gucci, Anthropologie, Roberto Cavalli, St. John, Chanel, Escada, Marc Jacobs, Tods, Bottega Venetta, Akris, Catherine Maladrino, Armani, Theory and so much more.

Tuesday, October 15
5 pm - 9 pm
1754 W. Division Street, Chicago
Fall Fashion, Beauty Tips & Teasers
25% off any purchase Gift Bags for Guests
10% of all sales will go to benefit ONE HOPE UNITED
Complimentary Cocktails
Featuring Misael “The Missile”
Chicago’s most original bartender

Tiger Beer & Mini Bites too!
PALADAR Cuban Restaurant Rum Bar
Salon services by M.GO FASHION SALON
Complimentary Mini Mani's 5 pm - 7 pm (first come, first serve)
$15 BGEL manicures   $25 BGEL pedicures
$20 Moroccanoil Blowouts
 Acupunture by Dr. Amy Cortis
Chair Massage Therapist David Mora
M.GO Fashion Co Trendy Fashion
Le Thrift Consignment Boutique
Leen Abozahab Chapeaux Couture
Verneccia Lashay Fashion House
Marisol Giraud 
An official event of Fashion Focus Chicago
Hosted by Michelle Gomez, Melissa Gomez, Natalie Martinez & Jaslene Gonzalez

Parliament Chicago
324 West Chicago Avenue, Chicago, IL

Saturday, October 19
6:30PM - 10PM
[ Parliament After Party till 3am ]

Formal attire and mask requested

Proceeds to A Safe Haven

For more information and how to buy tickets click on the image above!

CLICK HERE for a list of more city-wide events happening during Fashion Focus Chicago.  

Celebrate Fashion Focus Chicago with us! 
See how we do it.

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Friday, September 20, 2013

Renegade Craft Fair | Chicago Summer 2013: Top 10 Stand-Out Jewelry Designers

On the real, I have scored some of my favorite and most unique jewelry pieces at festivals. A lot of jewelry designers don’t have a brick-and-mortar store and festivals are a major opportunity for these artists to showcase their designs to the public. Lucky for me, Chicago hosts amazing festivals and although the main attraction may be live music, DJ’s or food, I secretly go on “booth reconnaissance missions" for cool jewelry pieces.

Eclectic artisans from around the country exhibited their DIY goods at the Summer Renegade Craft Fair in Chicago on September 7th & 8thThis marquee festival, held in Wicker Park, was the Renegade's 11th year in Chicago.

All of my senses were captivated by the booths-upon-booths of fashion and jewelry, housewares, furniture, bath and body products, screen-printed art, paper goods…the list goes on. I was overwhelmed by designers’ contemporary designs, sustainable materials, and focus on the environment and community.

Picture credit:

Always on the lookout for new designers (at least new to me), I was excited to visit every single booth and “discover” emerging talents.   For this blog post, I narrowed my focus to jewelry designers that appeal to my own personal taste in jewelry: vintage design, pieces using unique techniques or the mix of natural and industrial materials.  With that said, I now present to you...

My Top 10 Stand-Out Jewelry Designers*

Therese Kuempel is a metalsmith and sculptor based in Chicago. She is also a student attending the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She works primarily in metal, hand fabricating one-of-a-kind jewelry. I love the mix of industrial metal and organic stones.

Sarah Safavi is a designer creating out of Sugarhouse in Salt Lake City. Each piece is crafted by hand mostly with limited vintage, repurposed and unusual materials. I have a soft spot for her handmade pieces with simplistic designs and inspiration from nature.

MuKee and its shop owner, Derek Keenan, are out of Denver, Colorado. The cool thing about MuKee’s jewelry and accessories is that they are handmade from reclaimed skateboards. Major points for the pieces with Chicago-centric designs (of course)!

COATT is a family-run design studio made up of COAgans and ScharlaTTS established in November 2010. Their line of jewelry centers around their morse-coded necklaces. Using gold dots and dashes on silk cord, their jewelry spells out words, names, and phrases in Morse Code such as Love, Sister and Hope. The delicate necklaces come in different length options and can be wrapped around your wrist to wear as a bracelet. Pieces can also be made to order with your monogram or name. What a unique concept!

Sandra Fettingis was born and raised in Chicago.  She currently lives and works in Denver, Colorado.  She is a designer of sculptures, murals and jewelry.  Her jewelry pieces are geometrically shaped in neutral shades and strong pops of color.  I especially like her transparent pieces which can accentuate any outfit without overpowering it.

Limbo Jewelry Design is the husband and wife team: Edson Enriquez (Designer/Creative Director) and Anne Rutt-Enriquez (sales, operations) out of Austin, Texas. The beauty of his jewelry aesthetic is in the clean lines of the basic and organic shapes.

Edson states on his website, "I am trying to prove a point with my work. Things, shapes, and forms are beautiful already. We as designers do not need to add to them or drastically transform them. Our job is to simply enhance them and present them the right way."

I scored a sterling silver 3-circle necklace. It’s lightweight, simple and super cute.

Molly McGrath is professionally trained as an architect-turned-designer. After using a laser cutter to make architectural models, she recognized the machine’s unique potential to make jewelry and other designed objects like wall hangings and homewares.

Molly designs and produces all of the work at her studio in San Francisco, and is focused on ethical and sustainable material sourcing, conceptual integrity, accessible pricing. Her work is inspired by botanical and geometric forms, perspective, textiles and optical illusions. I was mesmerized by the layered details and clean cuts made in each piece.

Being a bass player, music lover and having an affinity for pieces with Chicago references, I was INSTANTLY drawn to plastique*.  Eye-catching, laser cut acrylic and enamel jewelry with a very modern and minimalistic feel, this line was started in 2009 by graphic designer, Jen Murse, who designs and creates all pieces in San Francisco, California.

plastique* is a collection that is inspired by Jen Murse’s true passions.   Her designs include retro music devices, world famous skylines, graphic design expressions and geometric shapes adding a whimsical touch to any outfit.

Near the top of my list is Dollybird Jewelry, a Chicago-based company owned and operated by designer Katie Johansson.  Dollybird pieces are pretty special. I discovered her art at a Chicago festival years ago. I purchased a beautiful white turquoise heart-shaped necklace. It was the first time I have seen white turquoise. I’ve been a fan of her unbelievable quality and design ever since.

At the top of my list is GlamRocks Jewelry by Chicago-based designer Kristen Molenhouse. Established in 2010, Kristen has taken her painting, interior design background, and metalsmithing skills to create beautiful, modern pieces with an edge.

Using hand selected gemstones, minerals, metals, and design textiles, her pieces were a beautiful mix of all things I LOVE:

A little bit nature.
A little bit rock and roll. 
Vintage and modern rolled up in one and dipped in gorgeous craftsmanship. 

I am officially obsessed.

And there you have it!  All of the designers' collections are available online. Visit them on the web and support some of the brightest makers in contemporary craft and design!

I had more than my fill of inspiration and excitement to last me a least until the Renegade Craft Fair comes back to Chicago on December 7th & 8th!   For a complete list of the 2013 Renegade Craft Fair Chicago Makers, CLICK HERE.

* Bio details and most pictures are from the designers’ respective websites
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Tuesday, September 3, 2013


Festivals are a cornerstone of Chicago summers marking the beginning and end of the season.  The 5th annual Chicago Fashion Fest 2013 did not disappoint in showcasing our city's talent in cuisine, music and, of course, fashion.

Division Street was lined with booths of eye candy from handmade jewelry to local and high-end designer pieces.  It was a great opportunity to see what's hot for fall and score some deals on summer looks.

Le Thrift Consignment Boutique Tent Bazaar
The highlight of the festival were the day and evening fashion shows.  Runway models were being serenaded by some of our best DJ's spinning live.  A few of the local boutiques and designers displaying trendy looks:
LEI by Leilani | Maash Boutique | store B vintage | Le Thrift Boutique | Sorelle Boutique
M. Go Fashion | TTK Collection | Elevenzees | Elda de la Rosa | Maria Hansen
Blair Chic Boutique | Avant Garde Marquin | Verneccia Vlashay | Pascal Salon 

Le Thrift models were arrayed in classy and fun looks that work from day into night, summer into fall.  Vintage and contemporary designers were featured including Vera Wang, Cynthia Rowley, Herve Leger, Burberry, Emilio Pucci, Christian Dior, Vivienne Tam, Roberto Cavalli, Marc Jacobs and Victor Costa.
The Fashion Fest is a great way for Chicago Fashionistas to slowly say goodbye to the last summer sunrays of 2013.  And one good thing about saying goodbye to summer in Chicago?  A new season for more fashion!
Visit Le Thrift or online at our eBay store for these and many, many more designer looks at great deals! 
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