This May I took a magnificent trip to London, Paris, and Barcelona with my Fiancé. We ate, drank, and soaked in the culture. Most of all, we observed. Everything that surrounded us seemed foreign and somehow familiar. During our time in London I noticed a consistant pattern- the women dressed just as we do here in Chicago. I noticed woman after woman dressed in a standard uniform made up of skinny jeans, a leather jacket, cute blouse, scarf around the neck and ballet flats. Where was the je ne sais quoi?
This pattern opened up my eyes to how small the world has become. With Technology expanding rapidly, retailers are no longer limited to one region. H&M, Zara, and Top shop are huge global competitors that are taking over the ready to wear industry. Clearly our European friends love cheap style just as much as we do. Every other block I saw another H&M shopping bag. It quickly became tiresome. Where was the couture street fashion I was craving? What happened to the romantic notion that they do everything better in Europe? When did everything become so cookie cutter and uniform?
There is only one way for us to keep our identity alive and stay unique-buy from local boutiques and designers! Support your local hard working entrepreneurs that love nothing more then what they do. They are the heart of the fashion industry around the world. Supporting small businesses will directly support talented artists and designers put bread and butter on their table. You are also supporting the arts and the economy. Websites like Etsy.com make it incredibly easy to buy directly from small business owners. The magnitude of products they provide is astonishing! You can literally find anything hand made and high quality at decent prices. More specific to Chicago, there are hundreds of amazing boutiques across the city.
I encourage you to help keep our style identity alive and support local businesses like these:
Le Thrift http://lethrift.com
The left bank http://www.leftbankjewelry.com/,
Borris Powell-Custom Designs http://borrispowell.com/
Helen YI http://www.helenyi.com/Home.html,
Art Effect( adorable gifts) http://www.shoparteffect.com/
Vive Le Femme (Plus Size boutique) http://vivelafemme.com/
Saint Alfred (Streetwear) http://www.stalfred.com/
…..AND SO MUCH MORE!!