Monday, August 2, 2010

European Exposure

Sorry for the delay in blog posts, everyone! As my time in Chicago comes to a close (I leave Friday morning!) I have come to experience the city to the fullest, enjoying the myriad of things to do here.

Whether it's exploring the various neighborhoods (Lincoln and Wicker are fantastic!), trying each food genre or observing the fashion industry in Chicago, I have truly come to love this city and feel as if it is home. And hopefully it will be!

Walking down Michigan Avenue to work every day has opened my eyes to Chicago's fashion possibilities. As such in a big city, people are willing to try their hand at expressing their own individuality and I suppose by seeing this, it has rubbed off on me.

Looking at storefronts, whether it's Louis Vuitton or H&M, i've summed up my own mantra on fashion:

STYLE is not about the price tag, it's about the feeling. The mentality. I always thought that I needed the "it" bag or trendiest piece. The realization is this, my fellow friends: Style is innately you and as amazing as it would be to have that "it" bag, I have to keep telling myself, "you're still in school and thus, let's snap back to reality."

From this mindset, I scour fashion magazines and find myself drawn to European design aesthetics. Modern, contemporary and cool, the clean lines and edginess that is European fashion interests me as I translate high-end looks to my own wardrobe.

Bringing this all home, working at Urban Style Emporium for the last two months has allowed me to see a variety of designers from different countries, all with different, individuals styles. One line that I first got exposure to a few weeks back is from Ray Harris, a designer right out of London.

Wondering about his own approach to fashion, I asked him a few questions on European
design and his own line:

1. First off, how does living in England affect your design philosophy? Are you inspired by places and things around you?
The English sense of the eccentric is who I am.

2. How do you choose the materials in your pieces? Does it come from a utilitarian standpoint?
Fabrics are chosen for their tactile qualities and the way that we can mix modern fabrics with traditional techniques.

3. How do English and American fashion differ and do you design for both in mind?
We design beautiful things which we like regardless of the market, but we find that we often sell different pieces in America and England. The American market tends to like more extreme designs, such as more relaxed and sporty or more glamorous and dressed at the other end of the spectrum.

4. Favourite piece for fall?
The favourite pieces for fall are the Organza Blanket Jacket and the Pleated Fleece Elbow coat. They are both very different, but great pieces to have for fall.

I am thrilled at the chance to see these amazing, one of a kind pieces that encompass hand-crafted design, fluidity and modernity all in a garment. I encourage you to visit Urban Style Emporium in the next few weeks and months as we feature, along with Harris, another European designer who now lives in New York, Lorain Croft.

Again, keep checking our Facebook and Twitter for more fall photographs from your favorite designers such Elm, Ivan Grundahl, Planet, Cookie Johnson, Studio Rundholz, So Hung and more!