We’re coming at you with another good one, guys! A new type of creative made her mark on our show this week. Essence Taylor, a new face on the modeling scene making big moves in editorial and on the runway. We first met Essence at the Sheila Rashid show this past winter where Essence was modeling Sheila’s amazing new collection and we were so captivated by her beauty. Timing could not be more perfect for her right now. As we sit down to talk with Essence, she is fresh off of doing jobs for J. Crew, Walgreens, and Vogue Italia! Ummm…YEAHEssence graced us with stories from her childhood and we learn what took her from Ball State University, bringing her back to Chicago. It was never a real question in her mind whether or not fashion was the route she wanted to take, so once back in the city, she pursued fashion merchandising and marketing, opening the door to modeling opportunities, giving way to the blossoming career she has now. As a dark-skinned Black woman,Essence tells us some of the hardships she faces (still) in the modeling industry. We get to live vicariously through Essence listening to her describe what it’s like seeing her face in ads and in magazines- spoiler alert: something close to amazing. Essence’s career is only getting started, so make sure to follow her on her Instagram to keep up with her. We are looking forward to saying we knew her ‘when’ before she’s a staple at NYFW, modeling for Balmain!
Chai is currently based in Chicago, but is a Kenyan native who moved to the states when he was four years old. He’s been into music since he was young, but took the leap to make it his career four years ago. When he describes his style of music, for him, it doesn’t really fit into one genre. So instead of trying to fit in, he creates with an electric mix of Hip-Hop, Soul, R&B with a sprinkle of Reggae and we are here for it! We talked to him about what his music means to him, and all of the elements of creativity that make his songs sound good to him. Going to one of Chai’s shows, you will see that not only does he incorporate this Kenyan vibes into his music, but he infuses it into his personal style as well! Chai talked to us about some of his biggest marketing strategies. He’s not afraid to put in the work. He believes in the power of performing at open-mics', putting his music on Soundcloud (of course!), and surprisingly, the power of UBER!! What?!
In this episode, Chai gives us a taste of some of the details for his second official project release called Rebxl. We’re so excited to hear his upcoming project on November 22nd and to support him along the way! So give him a follow on Insta’ and take a listen to his most popular songs on Soundcloud. If you would like to check out his upcoming shows, check out his website and maybe we’ll see you at his next show!
Eddie was born and raised in Chicago, finding his passion for dance at age 14. Eddie reveals where the name, “Pause Eddie” comes from, and what Eddie calls a “gift, given by the leader of his group, King Charles. We learn that footwork is a street style, born and raised in Chicago. The style’s inspirations comes from tap-dancing (Eddie’s favorite), break-dancing, african tribe, and house music. Eddie describes his classes as intense and made sure to tell us “you’re gonna be tired as hell, but have a good time.”
Keeping his cool and confidence when being on America’s Best Dance Crew, America’s Got Talent, and Willow Smith’s FireBall Video, he’s taken all these opportunities to keep working on his passion, and perfect his teaching strategies. When we asked him where he sees his career in dance going, he confidently shot back, “This will take me wherever I want it to take me.” (we love him) To keep up with Eddie and his footwork, follow him on Insta’, as well as his youtube channel to watch all of his recent and upcoming dance videos.
Sarah talks to us about her BAD A$$ bosses, and what it's like working at such a unique boutique, that she describes as the “in-between” of Lulu-Lemon, and Gucci. Growing up, Sarah was not ALWAYS decked out in Off_White. She was obsessed with preppy brands such as Vineyard Vines, later letting the street style of Chicago take its place in her personal style. As if that wasn’t enough to keep her busy, Sarah also manages the social for VMR, as well as the Insta’ and Facebook for Chicago Illuminating Company, which is the coolest event space in Chicago’s South Loop.
Of course we had to get the real of what her experience was spending her summer filming, PRGirl, with her best friend, Alex Moresco(check out our awesome interview with her from S3). From the sounds of it, we definitely think she was born to be in front of the camera. Make sure to follow Sarah and her dope clothes on Instagram, and don’t forget to check out VMR on Instagram, for all the designer eye candy you can handle.
The designers wanted to conceptualize HERO/BLACK and create a network for strong, creative, fashion-forward women. Although “Chicago will always be home” for the duo, they have future plans to expand the brand into a variety of cities, a favorite being New York. “Why not?” We got to hear about the “experiment” brand, Idle. Wild, that the duo worked on before creating what is today, HERO/BLACK. They have come so far in as little as 2 years, from, first, designing t-shirts and clutches, to, now, a full collection. The girls talked about how exhausting it is to keep up with the rapid change in social media and brands, and how to stay calm in the midst of all the chaos. With their success, we think they’re handling the madness just fine!
“When we’re thinking about our consumer, we’re kinda thinking about ourselves. Because everything that we create, it’s because we wanted to wear it, it’s something we wish existed.” To keep up with the girls and their up-coming designs, follow HERO/BLACK on Instagram, and check out their site to snag some statement pieces for yourself!
Sal talks about her innovative aesthetic when it comes to styling, and giving herself “challenges” of not using certain patterns, colors, or materials whenever she works with her clients. Inspired by one of her favorite stylists, Shirley Kurata, Sal shares her love for color and how its one of the most important tools that a stylist can have. Not only is Sal involved with many up-coming creatives in Chicago, but she’s also part of the styling team for the lovely women of Nike’s Air Society. Can you say, DAMN?!
Sal is simply “aiming to create beauty with new materials, using a mouse as a pencil, using wardrobe as paintbrush, and using love for imagination as clay.” To keep up with all of her up-coming projects, follow Sal the Stylist on Instagram, and check out her site to see all of her dope projects!
When we had the privilege of sitting down with this amazing chic a couple of weeks ago, we talked about her roots in the design industry, Chicago’s DOPE fashion scene, and her love for street wear and denim. Her designs have evolved immensely since she decided to leave Columbia University before graduating, taking her own path while using Chicago as her inspiration, and incorporating an “androgynous” aesthetic into her unisex clothing brand. Sheila told us what makes her brand unique and dished how hand-made clothing goes a long way to keep a brand exclusive, organic, and authentic.
Make sure to check out Sheila’s famous designs on her website, and follow her on Instagram & Twitter. She is literally blowing up and we feel so lucky to now be able to call her a friend. f you want to dig even deeper into who she is and her inspiration, check out her feature on MILK.XYZ’s Gender Diaries where she discusses her relationship with gender and how it intersects with her relationship with the fashion industry.
If you look up "hustler" in the dictionary, you will find a photo of Lily Duevel, fearless leader and founder of both Ladder PR and adoptedSTYLE. Seriously. With a full time job as an enterprise account manager at Yello, a talent acquisition software company, in addition to two companies of her own, Lily is truly a Jane of all trades who discovered the keys to combining fashion and communication, effortlessly. A natural born entrepreneur, Lily took on her first fashion venture in the sixth grade selling the gently worn Abercrombie and Hollister clothes she no longer wanted, to friends. Needless to say, "Lily's Closet" was a big hit in her Minneapolis-based middle school. That is, until her mom found out and shut down all operations, immediately. That didn't stop Lily though, who originally saw a career path in teaching our youth. Having observed her mother, who previously pro bono styled fashion shows for local boutiques, in exchange for free clothes, Lily quickly figured out that a career path in marketing and communications was a better fit for her. So she transferred schools, switched her major and never looked back. Since graduating, Lily has moved to Chicago (with only 5 days to do so), held a sales position at Groupon, where she was promoted every six months and ultimately helped build out the sales team, created a boutique public relations agency, and a styling service, that all started with a simple tweet. And somehow, she still finds time to Soul Cycle at the end of the day. If we didn't already convince you, Lily is someone who you want to know and can learn from. Plug in your headphones and get inspired. And when you're done, be sure to watch our behind the scenes episode with Lily. Her personality lit up the entire studio.
On the season 2 premiere of Fast Fashion, we sat down with Kristine Steiner, one of the best Chicago-based fashion illustrators in the game. To date, Kristine has had opportunities to illustrate for major brands ranging from Neiman Marcus, Rue La La, David Yurman, Cotton and more. Always drawing as a little kid and expressing a strong interest in visual art, Kristine fell in love with fashion illustration around age eight or nine, when she became aware that fashion was an actual industry, due to her love for shopping and clothing. She then went on to study fashion design at the Illinois Institute of Art-Chicago and now, her incredibly chic and charming creations bring leggy, modelesque and vibrant fashion silhouettes to life by way of our Instagram feeds! Strongly influenced by pieces she wishes she could wear, would love to see hanging in her closet, and of course, her own personal style, which she describes as minimal, Kristine credits her brilliance, in part, to her job in retail working as a visual merchandiser and finds much of her inspiration through street style in Chicago, because you just never know what you might see on the city streets. Kristine's availability to transform anyone into the more stylish sketch of themselves is incredible so check out her episode and find out who she follows on the gram, for style inspiration, her creative process, which clients she dreams of working one-on-one with, the advice she'd give to aspiring illustrators and what she does for fun, outside of sketching. Also, be sure to check out the behind the scenes view of her episode, below and subscribe to our brand new YouTube channel!
The first words that come to mind when we think of Farissa Knox, founder of WhatRUWearing are: fearless, fabulous, unapologetically herself. From her Bronx meets Lakeview personal style to her ability to command attention in a room, without saying anything, Farissa is someone anyone would have the honor to know. On the season finale of Fast Fashion: the Podcast Experience from WhatRUWearing, we sat down with Farissa and discussed entrepreneurship (she has two companies, one which she started in her twenties), what it means to be a boss, period and why you should strive to be the best version of yourself, her experience in self-publishing a book (Love, Sex and Friendship: In No Particular Order), dating in your 20s (she's had some intense experiences) and the future of WhatRUWearing. This episode will give you a glimpse into the life of Farissa but also provide you with a little peak into what makes her a role model for so many twenty somethings. And because Farissa is an open book, literally no question was off limits, meaning this is one episode you definitely will not want to miss.
If you don't know Kathy Ruda, creative genius and Nike's Digital Field Services Coordinator, you should! Kathy has an incredible success story, one full of tenacity and big dreams. When we sat down with Kathy a few weeks ago, we quickly learned that she has a passion for people, a social media savvy spirit, longing for leadership and craving for community involvement. Hence why, she was the perfect candidate for her current job -- she currently works for Nike Central Territory as the Digital Field Services Coordinator and is a Women's Health Magazine 2016-17 Action Hero. So how did the 2015 graduate of the University of Illinois - Urbana manage to graduate and get one of the coolest jobs ever in less than a year? Well, you'll have to listen to the Podcast to find that out! Do know it didn't just happen by luck, a love for fitness and stylish athleisure wear. Pop your headphones in and get inspired because Kathy's story and outlook on life is absolutely phenomenal!
If you or someone you know has ever worked in the world of public relations, you know there are some truly out there but fantastic, stories. While things don't get too crazy, with this week's guest, unless you count an influencer missing her flight the day of an event she was booked for and our guest having to dash into overtime to fix it, she provides a refreshing perspective on what it's like to work behind the scenes of a fashion brand versus within an agency setting and how she found professional success. This is one podcast you won't want to miss because not only does Lauren touch on her professional success but she also drops major key's on how to healthily maintain a long distance relationship, her love for the Kardashian's and the fashion brands she swears by. Literally, this girl could be a walking billboard for some of the ones she named. Take a listen and get a behind the scenes look at the career and lifestyle of Lauren Gilliam, WhatRUWearing's PR Manager.
If you looked up "Jill of all trades" in the dictionary, there's a strong possibility that you'd find a photo of Emily Cleary, Marketing Manager at Entertainment Cruises Chicago. Before taking her marketing talents to Entertainment Cruises, where the young maven handles all things related to marketing, advertising and promotions for the yacht line, Emily extended her sparkle and professionalism to Rent the Runway and Teen Vogue, where she worked with Adele before she reached her current star potential! Locally, Emily also had the pleasure of working with Margie Korshak and Monika Dixon Public Relations, where she received a job shortly after graduating from the University of Illinois. In the latest episode of Fast Fashion, we sat down with Emily and talked about how to be a successful intern and entry-level employee, if working at Teen Vogue was anything like how it was portrayed on The Hills and that one really awesome moment when Anna Wintour complimented her shoes!
Not all fashion bloggers are created equally and that's what makes Sydney Thompson of Classic City Chic so unique! According to Sydney, her and her best friend, Maya, who she met while attending the University of Illinois, created Classic City Chic, post grad, due to discussions around fashion and style lacking realistic perspectives. Sadly, we all can't have closets full of Chanel and Dior. As a result, the duo went on to start their blog and dedicated themselves to expressing their creativity, exploring their various ideas and passions while helping their readers look great in classic, affordable pieces! Sydney sat down with Meghan and discussed her favorite places to shop, how she feels that malls are overrated and how she takes unique pieces and makes them her own.
This one's for all the free spirits and foodies out there: meet Vinova Deniz, the brains and photographer behind the delectable "See You at Brunch" Instagram account and hashtag. We chatted with the New York native, who will soon be moving to Miami for a post grad opportunity with Hillstone Restaurant Group - who made it very clear that she's through and through a New Yorker, having grown up in Manhattan and moved to Chicago for college by picking a city out of a hat- about Chicago's hospitality scene, how the idea of "See You at Brunch" originated and her definition of comfort food (hint: it's not your mother's mac & cheese!) Whether you eat out every day, are experimenting more in the kitchen or are a professional bruncher like Vinova - this is one conversation you won't want to miss. You're sure to walk away inspired by her carefree nature.
Nicholas Butts has an alluring energy that can't be matched. With Barbie as his muse, the Junior Agent at 10 MGMT Modeling Agency paved his own lane, at a young age, and never looked back. In this episode of Fast Fashion, Nicholas talks about growing up in a small town in downstate Illinois (shoutout to Decatur), why he's not fit for New York City (the whole "working to live" aspect isn't really his thing), his method for scouting models in the city (it's brilliant, if we do say so ourselves), post grad plans and his work with GLAAD and their GLAAD Hatter Brunch and Tea Dance, taking place on May 15.
Kristi Pawlowicz is not your average 20-something. At the ripe age of 26, a few years after graduating from Mizzou, Kristi successfully started and opened her own clothing boutique - 522 Envy, formally Envy Evanston. Having previously worked at the Envy boutique in Columbia, Missouri during undergrad, Kristi fell in love with retail and after serving as a manager at a family owned boutique, she ventured out on her own in 2013. On today's Fast Fashion episode, we chatted with her about advice she'd give her collegiate self, what her self proclaimed "hot mess chic" style consists of, the trends she's predicting for summer, what's next for 522 Envy and how she got her fiancé to propose to her after ten years of dating. Yes, you read that right - ten years!
On Episode 2 of Fast Fashion, we sat down with YouTube sensation Kayla Reyes of CutesyGirl09 and Andrea Valle, both Fashion Law students at John Marshall Law School in Chicago. With impeccable style and grades to match, the hardworking ladies explain what “fashion law” entails from a legal standpoint, describe how they represent their personal style in a conservative, male-dominated field and dish on who their favorite style and beauty gurus are – yes, Kylie Jenner is included in this, as well as tips for how to score one of her coveted lip kits! They also spilled details surrounding our co-sponsored #BOSSPERIOD: a Women's Empowerment and Fashion Show Extravaganza, taking place on Thursday, April 14 from 5-8 pm at John Marshall. While it’s certainly an entertaining listen, it’s also inspiring and informative for those who may want to pursue more unconventional careers within the fashion industry.
We all know Gilt City. With locations in Chicago, Atlanta, Boston, Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Philadelphia, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle and Washington D.C. it’s literally impossible not to know about the exciting and one-of-a-kind offers suggested by the network. Whether you’re looking for location specific restaurants, shopping, spas, salons, events and even fitness – the team at Gilt City has you covered! But how do they find these fabulous suggestions? Look no further than the curators. In Chicago, Laura Kujawa, Gilt City’s Market Lead, is responsible for making you fall in love with some of your favorite spots. So how did she get there? Host Meghan McAllister of Lincoln Park Minute asked just that amongst a number of other questions about Laura’s love of fashion and the best items she’s ever splurged on, in addition to a few that she wouldn’t necessarily drop major coins on. You’ll definitely want to take notes on this one.Links from this episode: https://www.giltcity.com/chicago