Award-winning blogger Nikia Jefferson (chitownfashionista.com) had just watched the “Iris” preview downtown.
What is exciting about having a fashion blog in Chicago? Why have you kept doing it for so long?
The most exciting thing is being able to spotlight the talented designers, noteworthy shops and amazing brands in this city. That is also why I have kept the blog for so long. I’m inspired by what happens within the local fashion industry and I enjoy bringing much needed attention to Chicago fashion and retail.
Who are your favorite local designers? What are your favorite boutiques?
For clothing, one of my favorite designers is Shernett Swaby. From couture to workwear, she provides options for every woman, regardless of their lifestyle. Plus, her level of customer service is unparalleled. It’s very rare to find a designer who offers complimentary repairs and alterations for the life of a garment. For accessories, my new favorite is Christina Anton of Boo+Boo Factory. The jewelry industry is chock full of metalsmiths and fine jewelry designers (which I also love). So it’s refreshing to see Christina’s collection, which incorporates leather, handpainting, neon colors and geometric shapes. In regard to local boutiques, some of my favorites include Luxury Garage Sale, Sir and Madame and The Silver Room. I know that when I walk into those stores, I’ll discover something new and one-of-a-kind.
How do you think our local fashion scene could grow and thrive?
I think the local fashion scene could benefit greatly if Chicago had more manufacturers, better fabric stores and overwhelming support from the city. With the Internet and social media, designers no longer have to move to New York or L.A. to flourish. However, more resources need to be available to them in Chicago to make this city more attractive to those looking to succeed in fashion.
Can you tell me a bit about your look? What is your favorite item?
I was invited to the screening of “Iris,” so my look is very much inspired by fashion icon Iris Apfel. Bold color and statement accessories were pretty much mandatory. From there, everything else just fell into place. My favorite item is my Paula Cademartori bag. I was stalking that bag for months and recently found an eBay seller offering it for a great deal. Despite the unique colors and pattern, it is a timeless bag that I look forward to carrying for years to come!
—Interview and photograph by Isa Giallorenzo
Journalist Isa Giallorenzo was born in São Paulo, Brazil and has elected Chicago as her beloved home since 2009. She runs the street-style blog Chicago Looks and wants to see this town become one of the fashion capitals of the world.