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Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Jenny Styles + Preserves

Photographs by Brian Kirkbride
Art direction by Jenny Kendler

OMG JENNY!! This is SO MAJOR!!! 

I'm really thrilled to say that from now on Chicago Looks will be counting with the collaboration of the fascinating artist Jenny Kendler. Being both an environmentalist and an artist, Jenny brings the best of both worlds here to the blog: high fashion consciously styled. What can be better than that? 

Read a bit about Jenny's path to a responsible (and incredible) wardrobe below:

"So, for a little while I have been wanting to write a post for Isa's blog on sustainable style. I met Isa a while ago at an event for NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council) where I am currently artist-in-residence. We talked about how my husband and I have for about the last 9 years been buying only second-hand or handmade products whenever we could. Of course, clothing is one of the easiest (and most fun) things to buy second-hand. When you buy something used that's "new to you" instead of a disposable piece of "fast fashion" made in a sweatshop overseas, it's an easy way to help combat the extreme wastefulness and injustice of the current clothing industry. When you buy handmade, you are advocating for a more equitable economic model, where producers are paid  well and directly for high-quality craftsmanship -- as opposed to paying a corporation which takes most of the profits, while poorly paid factory workers with little involvement in the final product work in often abysmal conditions.

This versatile striped top was purchased second-hand at Buffalo Exchange in Chicago, and the leggings, which I purchased on Etsy several years ago, are handmade from dead-stock textiles. The necklace is handmade by a jewelry artist from Singapore, and is one of my most loved adornments. The wide-sleeved top is also extremely special to me, since it is both very old and was carefully handmade with all sorts of intricate details -- like tiny soutache tassels on the shoulders and back 'tails' and the lovely panels of gray and cream striped silk. It is a 1930's-40's era top that I bought on eBay for $15, including shipping! It needed a bit of restoration and reinforcement where some of the silk was getting weak, but after some stitching, is now in great, wearable shape. I like to imagine that it was made by an artist, as it's Japanese-influenced cut would have been very avant garde for the time.

Next time you're looking for something new and interesting for your wardrobe, consider that you can do something positive for the environment and the economic system by buying used or handmade -- and that moreover, you may have a lot more fun while finding something truly unique that will stand the test of time." 

So inspiring!! 

Find out more about Jenny's work at - she'll soon have an exhibit coming up, I'll keep you posted! She's currently the artist-in-residence for NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council).