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This Just In: Chicago Has Stores

By Margaret Lyons in Miscellaneous on Jun 22, 2004 5:57PM

Today's New York Times has a piece on Chicago's "emerging fashion scene," interviewing boutique owners and fashionistas about the trends and the "self-doubt that has plagued Chicagoans for generations." Aw, thanks.

Never mind the city's rich cultural climate that has spawned David Mamet, pop sensations like the Smashing Pumpkins and Liz Phair, and high-profile fashion designers like Cynthia Rowley, a local girl who moved to Manhattan and made good. The feeling persists that Chicago has a way to go before it overcomes its image as a fashion backwater, its citizenry swaddled in ugly track suits and lumpy Fair Isle sweaters.

Oh, Liz Phair. Chicago's favorite daughter. Hurray.

According to the article, the number of boutiques has approximately tripled in the last six years, and indie designers get more exposure and rack space in Chicago than they would other places. The Times posits that that's because 1) people here are "hungry" for fashion and 2) Chicago retail space is about 100 times cheaper than SoHo retail space. "So many people outside Chicago still think we're all eating deep-dish pizza and wearing sweat pants," says Lance Lawson, owner of Jake in Southport. For whatever it's worth, Chicagoist is totally eating deep-dish pizza and chilling in sweat pants.

In any case, as the fashion leader for middle America, we should all do our respective bests to dress pretty beause that's the mark of civilization: expensive clothes with zippers all over them. Oh, we kid, we kid, emerging fashion scenes are v. v. hot right now.