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Earlier today, we asked several local experts to sum up 2012 fashion in one word. Brigid Sweeney had more than one word, two actually--and many more still. Now we turn to Brigid, retail writer for Crain's Chicago Business Journal, lover of stationery and all-around funny lady to expound on her feelings for 2012 fashion.
Ugh, I much prefer *many* words. I'm just continually struck by this race to the bottom in the fast-fashion world?constant perma-sales, the cheap-cheap-cheapiest stuff you could ever imagine coming faster-faster-faster. It's amazing that local retailers even try anymore. I'm humbled by their optimism and their scrappiness.
You could view the dissembling of the city's fashion programming arm as a white flag in the face of this fashion industrial complex, but who knows? There are some smart people taking over in the Department of Cultural Affairs, and people seem to agree that Chicago can still carve out a non-Paris-y, non-New York-y fashion niche that focuses on pragmatism and making sure that local designers earn a living rather than a Vogue spread. At the same time, it's gratifying to see the backlash against cheap fashion and toward supporting local, incredibly detail-focused and high-quality merchandise that costs way more but people deem to be worthy investments, like Oak Street Bootmakers and Lara Miller. On one end you have the $5.49 dress; on the other, you have the $400+ Oak Street Bootmakers work boots that use leather from Horween, an old-school tannery that still operates on Elston Ave. by the Chicago River.)
If you like what Brigid has to say and perhaps want to send out a good ole fashioned, "Amen sistah!", you can follow Brigid on Twitter @Brigid_Sweeney.