Fashion in America is clearly evolving. People are starting to move away from mass-produced wares and toward solid, locally-made goods that have been handcrafted with care. Naturally, the market is responding to this shift. As you can see in the video above, Chicago-based shoemaker George Vlagos makes a living sharing his passion for well-crafted shoes. Below are some other retailers in Chicago who are challenging the fashion norm with beautiful results.
Best Footwear: Oak Street Bootmakers
With variations on boat shoes, Oxfords, camp boots, and more, George Vlagos’ shoe company produces gorgeous, high-quality footwear that is intended to last for years. The online store also offers accessories, including leather belts and shoe care accessories.
Best Suit: Balani Custom Clothiers
Named by J.W. Marriott magazine as one of the top six tailors in the world, Balani Custom Clothiers has been a Chicago fixture since 1961. Customers receive excellent service from the professional clothiers… not to mention a cocktail or two from the fully-stocked showroom bar. No wonder Yelp is so full of happy repeat customers.
Best Denim: Mildblend Supply Co.
While Mildblend doesn’t handcraft their denim, the Chicago boutique does offer a variety of premium denim brands, as well as fine clothing and accessories. They also offer denim repair services and in-house hemming.
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Best Bags: Defy
If not now, when? That’s the question Defy’s founder, Chris Tag, asked himself when faced with the question of whether or not to give up his “safe” career in advertising. The risk has paid off: Defy offers a wide array of sturdily crafted bags in all shapes, sizes, and materials.
Best Tailoring: Peter Field
Founded in 2013, this Chicago-based tailor quickly outgrew its 500-square-foot retail space and this year expanded into New York. The Chicago shop also sells handmade menswear accessories.