Fashion journalist Silvia Haupt Kozonova (www.fashion-map.cz), who recently moved from Prague to Chicago, was photographed during the most recent spate of warm weather.
What do you think of the style you’ve been seeing on the streets here? How does it compare with the style of your former hometown?
Girls in Chicago are super beautiful, but what is really surprising for me is that I’ve seen more well-dressed guys than girls. Even the concept stores that I have had the chance to visit over here were more oriented to a male customer. It seems like there is a huge space for a “new” business model—independent fashion labels targeting females. Another difference is in the approach toward local designers. Sadly it looks like only famous and posh designers are considered to be the cool ones over here. Although it might be just my personal feeling as a newbie, and I feel like I should start digging deeper. I’m always super interested in the local production and fashion world of every place I’m visiting—it’s already become some kind of habit based on my profession interests.
Could you tell me a bit about your website?
It all started at the beginning of the year 2013, when me and my business partner Katarina Kral launched our website Fashion MAP, focusing on the local fashion designers and sustainable fashion movement in Slovakia and Czech Republic (former Czechoslovakia). We have seen a lot of talent and no platform that would be dedicated only to this topic, so we decided to change it by not only bringing reports about what’s going on, but also trying to create a real conversation with our readers, bringing the local fashion world to their daily lives. I think there is this amazing power in fashion journalism—supporting talented people and through their work also the local economy. Thanks to Fashion MAP, which is right now the biggest website about Czech and Slovak local fashion design, I’ve had a chance to meet a lot of amazing people from all around the world. Fashion MAP is the regular media partner of Mercedes-Benz Prague Fashion Week and Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Central Europe in Budapest.
How about your own style? How would you describe it? Who and what are your inspirations?
My style is more minimalistic. You would hardly see on me some other color but white, black or gray. I love to combine things that at first sight might not look like they could fit together. The best thing about fashion is that you are choosing your own “second skin” and you are able to show off your own personality, point of view or ideas. Maybe it sounds like a cliché, but I actually truly believe it. I love the fashion scene in Berlin; people there look like they’re taking part in some kind of indie-magazine photoshoot, but in reality they are just taking out their trash or going for a coffee. No matter what, they are keeping a certain style all the time, it’s part of their personality. If you should ever go to Berlin, I would tell you to focus on the style of the young generation—along with Copenhagen you can find there the best inspiration ever.
Could you tell me more about your outfit?
I am wearing “boyfriend” jeans, which are super comfy and great for almost every occasion, combined with a sports bra and see-through T-shirt, which is probably my favorite piece in my closet because you can wear it just with some LBD and it definitely adds a kind of edginess. Not to forget my sneakers, which already have gotten so many compliments from total strangers and I’m super happy about that, because they are from a collaboration of the Slovak shoe company Novesta with the Czech designer brand Leeda. It was a limited collection, but I think they should really increase the volume of the production, because the combination of price and design is unbelievably good. I believe that people should support their local brands as much as possible. It is an amazing feeling to wear some piece of clothing from local young designers and be able to promote talented people from your area. What’s even better is that you can create a much more original look than any high street fashion brand could ever offer. It’s a win-win situation and that sounds like a good deal to me.
—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.