GUILT-FREE FASH­ION

STYLISH, SOCIALLYRESPONSIBLE FASH­ION IS ALL THE RAGE IN CHICAGO THANKS TO THESE FOR­WARD­THINK­ING AND FAB­U­LOUS LO­CAL WOMEN.

Michigan Avenue - - CONTENTS - BY LAU­REN EP­STEIN

Stylish, so­cially-re­spon­si­ble fash­ion is all the rage in Chicago thanks to these for­ward-think­ing and fab­u­lous lo­cal women.

The fash­ion in­dus­try has been un­der scru­tiny for years, as con­sumers have ques­tioned the eth­i­cal­ity of ma­te­ri­als and man­u­fac­tur­ing pro­cesses. But now, thanks to big names like Stella Mccart­ney, sus­tain­able style is no longer syn­ony­mous with ill-fit­ting pieces in gra­nolabeige and moss-green.

The move­ment is gain­ing mo­men­tum right here in Chicago, spear­headed by four lo­cal women who are chang­ing the busi­ness—one eth­i­cal en­sem­ble at a time.

It was a chance en­counter that pushed de­signer Liz Wil­liams into the out­er­wear busi­ness. Her line, Coat Check Chicago (Cin­na­mon Bou­tique, 2104 W. Roscoe St., 773-281-2466; coatcheck chicago.com), was in­spired by a coat at­ten­dant who ad­mired Wil­liams’s hand­made, self­de­signed win­ter coat. “[We] em­brace a slow-fash­ion ap­proach,” Wil­liams ex­plains, “[fo­cus­ing] on longevity and good de­sign to ad­dress en­vi­ron­men­tal im­pact.” That is, her Chicago-crafted pieces are made to last—un­like the dis­pos­able fast-fash­ion finds

“WE EM­BRACE A SLOW-FASH­ION AP­PROACH, FO­CUS­ING ON LONGEVITY AND DE­SIGN TO AD­DRESS EN­VI­RON­MEN­TAL IM­PACT.” —LIZ WIL­LIAMS

that take up wardrobe (and land­fill) spa­ces across the coun­try.

In­deed, 85 per­cent of un­wanted cloth­ing ends up in land­fills. “The fash­ion in­dus­try is the sec­ond most­pol­lut­ing in­dus­try in the world— sec­ond only to pe­tro­leum,” notes Candice Ste­wart Col­li­son, who’s aim­ing to change that trend with Mod + Ethico (27 N. Mor­gan St.; modan­de­thico.com), her Ful­ton Mar­ket bou­tique, which boasts a mod­ern, ur­ban aes­thetic and a de­cid­edly sus­tain­able phi­los­o­phy. “We source Amer­i­can-made, hand­made, and small-batch man­u­fac­tur­ing,” Col­li­son ex­plains, “[plus] fair trade, char­i­ta­ble brands, and eco-friendly ma­te­ri­als.” Equally frus­trated with the fast-fash­ion move­ment, de­signer Jamie Hayes founded Pro­duc­tion Mode (3013 W. Ar­mitage Ave.; pro­duc­tion­mode chicago.com) af­ter work­ing in the field of im­mi­gra­tion and la­bor rights and vol­un­teer­ing as a cam­paign leader for Chicago Fair Trade. “In all this work, I missed the artistry of fash­ion—the col­ors, tex­tures, and cuts as they re­late to the body,” she says. “Pro­duc­tion Mode brings to­gether the artis­tic, de­sign, and ac­tivist el­e­ments of my ca­reer.” Think high-con­trast pieces (“I like to play with op­po­sites, with ten­sions,” Hayes says) made in small batches us­ing lo­cal re­sources and veg­etable­tanned leather—tak­ing the high road with­out sac­ri­fic­ing high style.

Sararose Krenger of Sararose on Oak (67 E. Oak St., 773-6543421; sararoseonoak.com) had the same stylish goal when she started her brand, Stix and Roses, in 2010. Now sold at Sararose on Oak, an ex­pan­sion of her first stu­dio space, the line uses only eco-friendly re­sources like bam­boo, Ten­cel, or­ganic cot­ton, and up­cy­cled ma­te­ri­als to cre­ate beau­ti­ful, body-flat­ter­ing cloth­ing. Krenger’s phi­los­o­phy? “We don’t ever want to set­tle. We want the best for you, your body, your home, the en­vi­ron­ment, and our fel­low ci­ti­zens of planet Earth—and we want to look great while we’re at it.”

Luxe lin­gerie: Chicago-made silk beach pa­ja­mas ($695) from De­part­ment of Cu­riosi­ties, a new brand of nightwear by Pro­duc­tion Mode de­signer Jamie Hayes. POWER PLAY­ERS

West Loop cloth­ing and life­style store Mod + Ethico cu­rates mod­ern pieces—like ac­ces­sories from Mod­ern Vice and The San Remo (ƢƧƬƞƬ ƛƞƥƨư)—made us­ing so­cially re­spon­si­ble, sus­tain­able prac­tices.

ƟƫƨƦ ƥƞɵƭ: The So­phie ($88), a Ten­cel top by Stix and Roses avail­able at Sararose on Oak; Coat Check Chicago’s lo­cally made Clas­sic Trench #006 for Spring/sum­mer 2017 ($450).

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