Chicago Looks: American Geisha

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Fashion instructor Kylee Alexander was working backstage at the Pedersen-McCormick Boys & Girls Club of Chicago, where her eight-to-fourteen-year-old students were about to model the garments they designed and constructed themselves.

What was it like to help all these girls create their own garments?
A ten-year-old has no need for the rules of fashion. They believe in impossible designs, which made it really exciting to help them create original garments. It was their thrill of making something funky and painstaking that reminded me why I fell in love with fashion.

How did you get involved with fashion yourself? 
I went to the School of the Art Institute of Chicago for creative writing, but the fashion program is so conceptual and experimental that I couldn’t reject the opportunity to make things that didn’t have to be functional or approachable. It led me to define my own sense of fashion. Read the rest of this entry »

Chicago Looks: Proud Artist

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Elijah Boyd was hanging out in Logan Square.

How did you develop such great style?
From living in Chicago! Growing up and seeing different cultures throughout the city definitely changed my perspectives and influences of how I dress today. My style is also derived from a competitive nature. Growing up with a twin brother, we stayed in competition with each other, which inevitably stimulated our great fashion sense.

 What makes you want to look your best every day?
When I look great, I feel great. So when I’m going out it’s not a question of whether I want to look nice or not, it’s kinda mandatory. Read the rest of this entry »

Chicago Looks: Functional and Different

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Journalist Jessica Hopper was hanging out at this year’s Lollapalooza in Grant Park.

What do you think of the style you’ve been seeing at Lollapalooza? 
My friend and I were discussing that if you took all the jorts [jean shorts] at Lolla and stacked them flat, how tall would it be? How about jorts with the butts still in them, would it be as tall as Willis tower? I think so. Lolla style: functional and identical.
Could you tell me a bit about your jumpsuit?
Thrifted it this spring on a half-price day at Value Village. It was probably a dollar? Read the rest of this entry »

Chicago Looks: Lolla Rocks Fashion

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This is my first year at Lollapalooza, and boy am I impressed. I’ve never seen so many people partying at the same time so peacefully. In the style department I wasn’t disappointed either. Since most of its attendees are young, their sartorial choices reflect their desire to both belong and stand out. Lots and lots of flower crowns (see related post), denim shorts and boho tops, but somehow everyone adds their own flair to the mix. I also had a kick watching the budding fashionistas at Kidzapalooza and stars such as the Icona Pop girls, Ioanna Gika from IO echo and the Wild Belle duo showing their awesome style along with an approachable attitude—which of course makes them look even better. So yeah, Lolla totally rocked! Check out a bit of what I saw in the shots below.

—Text and photos by Isa Giallorenzo

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Chicago Looks: If you’re going to Lollapalooza…

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… be sure to wear some flowers on your head!

Flower crowns were so prevalent this year that Grant Park was in a state of sudden bloom.


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Chicago Looks: Cooling White

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Web artist Molly Soda ( was hanging out by the poster area during the Pitchfork Festival at Union Park.
What band or musician inspires your look the most? Has anyone playing at Pitchfork this year influenced your style?
Strawberry Switchblade, Nina Hagen… M.I.A. for sure. But most of the people who influence my style are not musicians. Usually friends do, cool girls I see pictures of on the Internet, people I see out while walking around…
Who did you come see play this year? Anyone whose style is worth mentioning?
Blood Orange, Solange… M.I.A., her and her backup dancers were on point. Read the rest of this entry »

Chicago Looks: Smart Pants

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Colleen Clarke was dining with her friends in Logan Square.

Has anyone strongly influenced your style? 
My mom! Her style is consistently classic and cool…I’ve been raiding her jewelry box and accessories for years—great vintage finds! Alexa Chung, Lou Doillon, Kate Moss and Clemence Poesy are a few of my style influences.
Where do you go for fashion inspiration? Any favorite magazines or sites?
Garance Dore and Refinery29 are fashion blogs that I can’t miss. I’m currently reading “Grace” by Grace Coddington and find myself inspired by the Swinging Sixties London Carnaby St. scene. Magazines like Kinfolk, W and, of course, Vogue. Read the rest of this entry »

Chicago Looks: Style Impressions

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Chicago Fashion Incubator design director Andrea Reynders and blogger Alex Maier ( were attending the preview of the Impressionism, Fashion & Modernity exhibit at The Art Institute.

What’s your favorite piece in your outfit? Why?
Andrea: With what I am wearing this day, the favorite piece is my brooch—a handmade one designed and made by Gillion Carrara, who encrusted my children’s teeth in African wood, snakeskin and bone.
Alex: My shoes. They are Alden tassel loafers. They will last long enough for me to hand them down to my son. That is, if I get married. If not, I will gladly wear them my whole life. Read the rest of this entry »

Chicago Looks: Early and Vibrant

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Ebony Leaks and Marcus Banks were shot after Allen Stone’s show downtown on a weekday at around 9am.

How long did it take you to get dressed this morning?

Marcus: It took me literally ten minutes to get dressed this morning. It’s easy for me to pick out garments because I just look through my closet and choose the garment that speaks the most in energy, youthfulness, structure or sophistication for that day.
Ebony: I actually woke up late and didn’t have anything in mind of what I was going to put on. I have a large treasure chest of clothes so I literally just grabbed something then looked in the mirror and agreed that it would work for the day. It was just a little under twenty minutes!
What look were you going for?
Marcus: The look is actually designed by me and my design partner Marcel Coleman. Our design name is called KAR-IK-TER and our brand represents energy, youthfulness, structure and sophistication. The design was based off the Soweto culture in SouthWest Africa. Life there is filled with color, texture, and pattern. We see the fashion as something innovative and they see their fashion as a way of life; a way of expressing themselves as individuals in a ghetto. Read the rest of this entry »

Chicago Looks: Show Off Them Stems

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IMG_0122 Noelle Smythe was hanging out in Wicker Park.

Can you tell me a bit about your hair?
My hair. Honestly it does this on its own. Right now, to prevent it from getting any bigger, I use this argan oil stuff that prevents it from frizz. But I use something different every time I run out of product, so it’s hard to keep track.

What are you looking forward to wearing this summer?
I’m looking forward to showing off the legs. Joining roller derby means show off them stems, girl! But then cover the bottom half up with an old pair of Doc Martens. Read the rest of this entry »