Our Vendors 

Gifts from Apparel Industry Board, Inc.

Wed, Dec 12, 2012

Most shopaholics are fans of being unique. Whether it’s a small touch here or an added bonus there, a fashionista wants to wear something that makes her stand out, something that makes her different. After all, who really wants to see the same shirt multiple times in one day before deciding to never wear it again?

The Apparel Industry Board, Incorporated (AIBI), a non-profit established in 1987 by then-Mayor Harold Washington in an effort to boost the city’s sewn-goods trade, opened its first permanent store this year featuring 26 Chicago designers, including 11 new designers. Made In Chicago (44 E. Grand Ave.) offers a 10-week business class to designers prior to their opportunity to be featured in one of the store’s mini-shops for a small fee. AIBI Executive Director Marsha Brenner says the mission is to promote local artists. “Twenty years ago, local designers would sell to neighborhood stores in Chicago and across the US, for example,” she says. “This shop allows them to see people from all over the world.”

Vanessa Amantidis, designer and founder of Quirky Threadz, says the shop is a cheaper alternative to opening 26 separate stores. “I only started sewing about six years ago to embellish my daughter’s shirts here and there,” she says. I reached out to [AIBI] because I needed help. I think what they have set up is incredible and it really helps designers like me out.”

Housed in close proximity to the next, with some stores not enclosed by doors, each company is set up like a chic miniature boutique. Your one-stop shop for Christmas gifts this year, Made In Chicago offers an array of fashion items, from handcrafted jewelry and handbags to scarves and children’s wear. The Chicago Design industry encompasses 12,000 to 15,000 jobs in metro Chicago, not only high fashion designers, but makers of sweatshirts, home interior products, graphic artists, (size) graders and contractors who do the sewing.

“My passion is to design clothes that have slimming-clean lines with the artistic detail to give you that distinctive look of your own.”

Designer: Barbara Keisman
Phone: (847) 872-1046
Web: www.barbarakeisman.com

“Beth Ann Designs is a line of quality handcrafted jewelry which has been designed to last for more than just one season. Each piece is made by the artists with time honored jewelry making techniques.”

Designer: Beth Spicker
Phone: (708) 479-8326
Web: www.bethanndesigns.com

“Caramel Ribbon introduces the children’s collection, deliciously chic, funky and remarkable beside the already established sleepwear and loungewear lines. Fashionable blouses, dresses, babydolls, jumpers and more, proudly designed and manufactured in Chicago.”

Designer: Blanca Bitca
Phone: (773) 936-5159
Web: www.caramelribbon.com

“Circa 1856 is a jewelry line that combines and repurposes vintage pieces which date from the mid 1800’s to the mid 1900’s. Most of the pieces are watch fobs, medals and pins which are brought together for truly unique one-of-a-kind necklaces and bracelets.”

Designer: Anne Maxfield
Phone: (312) 315-1201
Web: www.circa1856.com

“Crescendo Apparel is a clothing line for pear-shaped women, founded in 2009 so that women could look in the mirror and, finally, see the truth: That whoever shaped them, shaped them beautiful.”

Designer: Kathryn McKechnie
Phone: (312) 882-4843
Web: www.crescendoapparel.com

“Ecowrap, LLC makes a line of reusable fabric gift-wraps called ellaWrap. They come in over 30 styles, in a wide range of fabrics to suit almost every gift for any occasion. Using ellaWrap reduces the waste from wrapping paper that is usually tossed in the trash within minutes of opening a gift. Each ellaWrap comes with a gift journal that helps start the tradition within a family or a group of friends.”

Designer: Adrienne Johns
Phone: (847) 482-0304
Web: www.ecowrap.com

“Elda de la Rosa creates striking, intricate designs that have a powerful presence and flow, using the utmost exquisite fabrications. Elda specializes in Cocktail, Evening and Bridal.”

Designer: Elda de la Rosa
Phone: (773) 769-3128
Web: www.eldadelarosa.com

“Felt Inspired offers colorful and sculptural accessories, hand felted from the finest merino wool and natural fibers. Made for both warmth and style, they are perfect for the Windy City!”

Designer: Laura Kochevar
Phone: (773) 334-4329
Web: www.feltinspired.com

“Killion is a women’s fashion brand built on modern style. It speaks to women who seek relaxed, elegant, effortlessly cool clothes that reflect one’s individuality and lifestyle.”

Designer: Dana Killion
Phone: (312) 234-9569
Web: www.killionclothes.com

“Label Kirk James makes modern chic and sartorial classic style effortless. It’s how we live, dress and design. Classic Style for Modern Living.”

Designer: Daryl Sneed
Phone: (773) 989-0218
Web: www.kirkjamescollection.com

“Established Chicago Designer Lauren Lein is known for her modern luxury suits, ensembles, and gowns. All with an eclectic blend of natural fabrics and unique accents such as feathers, trim, or flowers.”

Designer: Lauren Lein
Phone: (312) 527-1714
Web: www.laurenlein.com

“Timeless and elegant designs-crafted to accentuate an attractive hourglass silhouette. LuDia Couture dresses and ready to wear designs are made for the fabulous woman who desires to make an unparalleled fashion statement.”

Designer: Luz Maria Diaz
Phone: (773) 704-3800
Web: www.ludiacouture.com

“A fusion of fashion and music, fusing modern artistry with an urban edge. Our goal is to offer items with a high level of design integrity at an affordable price.”

Designer: Marty Casey & Marla Zegart
Phone: (630) 508-5888
Web: www.silverelementscollection.com

“The SARAH KUENYEFU collection is inspired by the need for comfort and style. SKC strives for customer satisfaction by creating classic yet organic designs made with quality fabrics and excellent workmanship. We are dedicated to providing clothing for today’s modern woman that is functional yet unique.”

Designer: Sarah Kuenyefu-Searcy
Phone: (773) 324-6858
Web: www.skccollection.com

“TAKARA, Simply delicious clothing! Inspired by architectural shapes and movements of nature, Takara embraces beautiful textures, creating organic silhouettes. Real sizes…Real Fashion…Real Women.”

Designer: Takara Beathea-Gudell
Phone: (708) 763-9550
Web: www.shoptakara.com

“Riding. Fashion. Fun.—VaVaVroom’s mission is to provide fashionable, functional motorcycle and scooter apparel to women of all sizes. Our fashions are casual enough for the open road, sophisticated enough for a night out.”

Designer: Denise L. Maple
Phone: (312) 823-6709
Web: www.vavavroomonline.com

- Erica Lindsay, StreetWise Editorial Intern

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