It’s a slightly less frigid Saturday afternoon, and I’m on the second floor of a brick Lincoln Park building. Racks of clothing and tables of jewelry are lined neatly around the room, a DJ spins and the small crowd of shoppers is eager to score brand spankin’ new spring pieces or ridiculously marked down samples from designers like Earcandy, Serpico, Lara Miller and Little Black Dress. It’s the very first Ultimate Designer Trunk Show from Studio 808, an online boutique devoted entirely to the creations of Chicago fashion and accessory designers, and as women dash in and out of the fitting rooms with their finds, it’s clear the energy here is full of more passionate excitement than at any chain retailer.
Studio 808 is the brainchild of Erin Creany, a former stylist and rabidly devoted fan of Chicago designers. An East Coast native, Creany wanted to share our emerging talent with friends and clients back home, making access to an Orlando Espinoza dress as simple for a Brooklyn babe as for a Wicker Park gal. The site features three core designers, Espinoza, Miller and Melissa Serpico, while Creany will weave in new names each season. For shoppers the site is designed to make the unique, fashion-forward designs available across the world. But the artists benefit from more than just exposure. “It’s also a testing ground for emerging designers to see what will sell.” Naturally, the Web site of a former stylist is about much more than buying a single piece. The site offers style advice as well as an online stylist, whose expertise can help you craft the perfect head-to-toe look. “There are pieces of Serpicos that will work well with a Lara Miller. So I focus on the whole picture, the whole outfit.”
While Creany plans on hosting quarterly trunk shows (look for the next one in June), her focus in the meantime is on not only bringing Chicago fashion to the masses, but offering an extra boost to designers on the brink. “There’s a definite need for this. Designers need a support system, an umbrella.” (Molly Each)
Visit studio-808.com for more information and a peek at the local talent pool.