Chicago Looks: Blood and Lace

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Aimee Haraf was walking downtown searching for inspiration for sketching.

You are carrying a Teddy bear!
My Teddy also doubles as a purse, so he gives me somewhere to put my keys and Ventra pass when walking the streets of Chicago. Plus, he’s super cute, which is an added bonus. His name is Usagi-chan, since usagi is the Japanese word for bunny and he came from a Japanese lolita clothing company. Read the rest of this entry »

Chicago Looks: Lolla Blues

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By Isa Giallorenzo

I miss it already, don’t you? Even with the rain and all. These attendees kept their style intact under the toughest weather conditions. If that’s not smooth I don’t know what is…


IMG_3442Meg IMG_3447Meg

Meg summarizes smart festival wear: something practical that stands out in the crowd. You want your friends to find you, right? Read the rest of this entry »

Chicago Looks: Accessorize, Girlfriend!

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Here’s a quick way to make or break a look: accessories. These Lollapalooza-goers definitely put the icing on the cake with wisely selected adornments:

Allisoncollage Read the rest of this entry »

Design Roundup: Fonts, Fuzzies, Fests

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By Brook Rosini

Design sadism
For those who enjoy seeing other people be judged, this Friday, August 22, offers the perfect opportunity to indulge, when representatives from the Society of Typographic Arts will hold their judges night for Archive 14—a juried competition for Chicago creatives that celebrates artistic expression and design excellence. The tenth annual competition invited submissions of all types from all kinds, whether representing definitive Chicago style or simply choosing to buck convention. The judges, two of whom hail from Chicago, all boast laundry lists of impressive clients and projects. We’re expecting some lively conversation.

Live design critique at the Society of Typographic Arts

Live design critique at the Society of Typographic Arts

The Post gets it (mostly) right
This week we read an effusive article from the New York Post, lauding Chicago’s leadership in architecture and design. Although the piece begins with tiresome digs at the Cubs (really?) and our “odd” pizza (we’d just call it delicious), and tends to wax poetic on starchitect-designed structures built prior to this decade (the most recent one named is the Poetry Foundation building, a gem by John Ronan Architects that was completed in 2011) the writer gets the most important part right: when it comes to architecture and design, Chicago is at the top of its game. It’s always fun—or infuriating, depending on who you ask—to see New York outlets get fuzzy on the finer points of life in our fair city. This one makes for a solid read if you’re in need of an eye-roll and a confidence boost. Read the rest of this entry »

Designy Mom: Airstream Daydreams

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Photo courtesy of Airstream

Photo courtesy of Airstream

By Krisann Rehbein

Chicagoland goes on forever and you can expect a three-hour traffic jam before getting a glimpse of nature. A friend once quipped that the suburbs are so expansive and inescapable that, no matter where you are in the city, you can hear the sound of farmland being bulldozed to make way for strip malls and McMansions.

European cities tend to be better at maintaining a healthy urban-rural proximity than we are. Even in Soviet Russia, residents of Moscow’s dense social housing spent summers and weekends in “dachas,” small houses and gardens on state-owned plots of land where the Proletariat could grow its own beets and potatoes. No matter how much we love them, sometimes we just have to get out of cities.

Which brings me to camping. As Labor Day approaches, the idea of sitting around a campfire, drinking beer and eating s’mores takes on a special urgency. I’m not crazy about camping, but it is one of those rites of passage I have to endure for the sake of my daughter. The experience may be formative: I fantasize that my daughter will grow up feeling as comfortable in a canoe as she does on the subway. We all have our aspirations. Read the rest of this entry »

Design Roundup: Salt, Spots, Service, Stars

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By Brook Rosini

When it rains, it pours

As part of its 100th birthday celebration, Chicago-based Morton Salt has announced a national online design competition seeking possible new label designs for their ubiquitous twenty-six-ounce cylindrical container. The competition will culminate with a public display of the winning designs in Pioneer Court on September 26, when the salt-of-the-earth company will announce $100,000 in scholarships to students “worth their salt” at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and Kendall College’s School of Culinary Arts. A four-judge panel of company execs and local art authorities—whose names are yet to be released—will decide the winners; the grand prize is cash and two tickets to Art Basel Miami, and three runners-up will also take home a prize. Morton Salt has what other brands want: an iconic mark and a memorable slogan. So we can take it with a grain of salt that the company isn’t committing to using any of the winning designs on its packaging. Submit your designs through September 7 at Read the rest of this entry »

Chicago Looks: Challenge Seeker

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Photographer Ratko Radojcic ( was on assignment at Lollapalooza.

How long have you been shooting street style?
I mostly shoot public life—street parades and cultural events. I don’t typically shoot street style, but I covered the big music festivals for Chicago magazine for the past two years.

What did you think of the style at this Lollapaloooza?
Shooting style at Lollapalooza is overwhelming because there are so many people and the majority are wearing the same outfit—which is totally okay, by the way. But you have to scan the crowd really intensely to find the looks that stand out. Read the rest of this entry »

Design Roundup: Pinups, Provocateurs, Proposals

Architecture, Events, Fashion, Graphic Design, Interior Architecture 1 Comment »
IIT students design a structure with carbon fiber

IIT students design a structure with carbon fiber

By Philip Barash

IIT Students Take Pinup Prize
Carbon fiber, the material preferred by discerning seamen for their masts, has been reshaped by an IIT design studio into a temporary pavilion. The pavilion is fabricated by using eighty-six identical fiber carbon panels, coated with epoxy and connected by cable and clips. The structure, conceived as an experiment in materiality, recently emerged as the jury favorite at Pinup 2014 competition—a worldwide showcase of emerging design. The curious are encouraged to witness this feat for themselves: the Pavilion remains on view on IIT’s campus, where it is installed in front of Mies’s Crown Hall. Read the rest of this entry »

Chicago Looks: Exposure Giver

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Journalist and essayist Brittany Julious was about to meet her friend for an interview and a manicure session. (In full disclosure, Julious is a contributor to this magazine.)

How do you compare the music and fashion scenes in Chicago?
The music and fashion scenes in Chicago mix, but usually on the underground scale. Many of my favorite small designers and store owners DJ in their free time and interact with different independent producers. Although I am a part of both, I feel more comfortable with the music scene as people tend to be more accepting. And from a fashion standpoint, more sartorially interesting. Read the rest of this entry »

Chicago Looks: Pushing the Envelope

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Artist Benji Morino ( was on his way to the 45th Annual Chicago Pride parade and festival in Lakeview.

How would you describe your current style?
Rave girl / motorcycle daddy / club punk baby.

Is it important for you to be distinctive?
It is important to me in terms of how it’s not cute when everyone wears the same thing. I like to find pieces in the most random places I can, and incorporate them just as randomly. So my outfits never look like I pulled them straight off a mannequin. I will wear jeans and t-shirts, but I don’t think you’d ever catch me in khaki shorts and a polo with flip-flops. I see fashion as always trying to push the envelope, and I try to do that. Subtle things: dressing gender ambiguously, dyeing my hair, wearing S&M gear on a Monday afternoon… I think it’s funny when you get reactions out of people just by what clothing and accessories you wear.  Read the rest of this entry »