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Chicago Style: More than Pizza

By Olivia Leigh in Miscellaneous on Jul 3, 2007 6:00PM

You know why we love Chicago? Sometimes it feels as though we are living in one of those undiscovered destinations where only locals know the amazing surprises that await. We’ve had friends come into town, fully believing that Chicago is a city where people spend the day chomping on pizza and beef and going to sports games (and requisite crappy sports bars) while wearing grubby clothes. However, after a visit to the parts of the city that we find most attractive, they discover the laid-back yet cosmopolitan nature of the city, full of gourmet food (even vegetarian fare!), some of the best music and cultural options in the country, and yes, even divine style spots.

While we might never be able to convince the country that Midwestern style is more than overalls and baseball hats, “In Land of Khakis, a New Focus on High Style,” a recent article published in the The New York Times, proves that Chicago is finally starting to be seen a style destination despite initial disbelief.

2007_07_habit.jpgIn a discussion about Fashion Focus, the city’s seminal event to raise our fashion profile, Lee Trimble, the fashion director for Gen Art, an organization with a long standing reputation of supporting independent fashion designers, including those in Chicago, said how the idea was originally met with resistance. “At first there was a sort of snicker,” Trimble told the Times. “It seemed an oxymoron for a city in the Midwest to have a fashion week. Not to sound snarky, but honestly, that was the feeling.”

But Mr. Trimble is now eating his words, as the city slowly but surely continues to gain success in the national fashion market, with Lincoln Park-based brand Eskell securing covers on fashion bibles like Women’s Wear Daily and golden boy Orlando Espinoza gracing the pages of Lucky.

Daley, who has been an ardent support of local fashion designers over the past few years, most notably appointing Melissa Turner as the city’s “fashion czar,” plans to continue to implement programs to prevent talent from fleeing to the coasts.

Lindsay Bolan, owner of one of our favorite Ukrainian Village outposts, Habit, is quoted as saying she’s thankful for the city’s support: ‘It's really exciting to feel there are people trying to put programs out there that will help you, give you forums to show your work."

And thank goodness, indeed. Lord knows we’ll take our independently made, handcrafted designer dresses over a pair of khakis any day.

Image via Habit's Website.