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As 2012 draws to a close, we're surveying our friends in the fashion industry about the year's biggest news stories and most exciting developments. So far, we've looked at the best and worst trends, and biggest surprises; now, let's take a look at the best newcomers. Readers, let us know what you think in the comments.
Brigid Sweeney, retail reporter at Crain's Chicago Business: I have a feeling that the Luxury Garage Sale girls are going to do really well: They seem really passionate about what they do and are well-connected, and their store is this beautiful jewel box where you can find $30 pieces of vintage costume jewelry or a $3,000 pristine Chanel dress. That seems to me to fit the current ethos: Shoppers with discretionary income want either little luxuries that are not necessarily pricey but feel special, or they want to go totally crazy on something over-the-top and unbelievable.
Monika Dixon, owner, Monika Dixon PR: Definitely the new flagship Burberry store & Christian Louboutin. For men I love Wilfred Newman and Brunello Cucinelli.
Bridget Halanski, director of runway at Factor Women: I love CityBlue's new outpost in Lake Forest- CB! They carry many unique, luxury goods with a mix of local designers, like C FAN. I am a brand ambassador for them and always try to support local boutiques. Plus they launched online which is super convenient—I am an online shopaholic!
Amalie Drury, editor of Pure Wow: DEKA in the 900 Shops, Milk Handmade in Andersonville, Skandal in Winnetka and the new Sofia on Walton Street.
April Francis, fashion stylist: More than a few local stores I loved shuttered this year, still grieving. Glad about both Gallery Aesthete and Sofia's new digs!
D. Graham Kostic, creative director of Glossed & Found: Love Study Hall. Great concept. Cute owners.
Ryan Beshel, director of PR at The 900 Shops: Mezlan Shoes and 1154 LILL Studio in 900 North Michigan Shops, of course!
Lynn Okura Bey, editor of Sales Check at Chicago Magazine: For men: Gallery Aesthete and Independence. For women: Luxury Garage Sale and Milk Handmade.
Suzanne Kopulos, editor and style director of Garmental: I really love newcomers Edith Hart, Trillium, & Joe (Naperville). They all have a great mix of emerging brands with attractive price points, which dispels the "Boutiques are expensive," myth.
Emma Arnold, creator of Tres Awesome: Luxury Garage Sale Brick and Mortar
Eric Himel, fashion stylist: Lanvin, Sofia & Burberry.