Event: GenArt Shop CHICago. The event was part of Fashion Focus Chicago, an 11-day celebration designed to promote independent local designers and the cityâ€™s fashion scene.
Where: The W Chicago â€“ City Center
The Experience: I waited in line for about 30 minutes to get into the hotel and, once I was inside, still had to pass through three checkpoints (which was odd, since the event was free and open to the public.) But once I made it in, I felt like I was living in an episode of â€œSex and the City.â€ There were two huge rooms full of designers and there were cosmetic lines offering makeovers and treatments. A DJ was spinning music – and did I mention that there were numerous open bars, serving fabulous pink drinks?
What I Found: To my delight, the jewelry at Shop CHICago was natural and elegant. A lot of designers are taking the Bohemian trend to a new level, mixing delicate stones and beads with silver, gold and glimmer. I especially loved the sparkly earrings and necklaces by jewelry designer Erin Gallagher. All of her jewelry features beautiful and unique stones â€“ my favorite were her necklaces with multi-colored stones arranged in asymmetrical designs.
Greta-Watermelon Tourmaline and Ingrid lolite neckalces by Erin Gallagher.
I also really liked the Sojourn bags, created by Chicago-native Jennifer Gordon. Theyâ€™re fun, colorful and whimsical, while also being functional and affordable. She offers bags of all sizes; some that fit laptops and others that are perfect for adventures. My favorite part of her collection, though, were the â€œbracelet bagsâ€ â€“ they have handles of beads or Swarovski crystals, which can be detached and worn as a bracelet.
Rio Red Wave bracelet bag by Sojourn.
Also at the expo was Active Endeavors, a great local boutique with five Chicago-area stores. Donâ€™t be misled by the name; along with having a variety of North Face and Patagonia (Pata-Gucci, anyone?) products, the boutique carries every single one of your favorite brands.
Fashion Focus Chicago runs from September 19-29. For more information about Chicago-based designers and upcoming fashion events, check out the Fashion Focus Chicago website.