Sunday, November 6, 2016

Best of Newcity 2016!

The Best of Newcity comes in magazine format this year! Remember to get this precious local guide all over downtown in those black newspaper boxes and also in many other select locations throughout the town - see where here.

Here are my picks this year:

Best mysterious storefront: The Secret Agent Supply Co.

If curiosity is the mother of invention, then writing nonprofit 826CHI is doing the right thing by naming their storefront “The Secret Agent Supply Co.” Located in Wicker Park and previously called “The Boring Store,” they sell books written by student-authors in their programs and local authors, books put out by local indie presses, and lots of children’s books. They also sell toys and gadgets befitting the “secret agent” theme such as disguises and invisible ink pens, and all sorts of travel-themed items, from notebooks and journals to maps and luggage tags. All proceeds go to 826CHI’s writing programs, which mostly benefit low-income students ages six to eighteen and their teachers. 

1276 N. Milwaukee,773.772.8108, and

Best way to know what's going on in the underground: VAM studio

If you’re looking for the latest hot name in the art world, VAM—an in-house production studio and online arts channel—is not for you. Now if you want emerging and innovative creators, VAM features the best of Chicago’s underground art on their website and in their occasional yet extraordinary parties. Their next event will be “WNDRLND,” “a pretty epic representation of interactive and performance art in the city” according to Vincent Martell, the studio’s founder and creative director. Inspired by psychedelics and hallucinogens, the party is “bound to get pretty weird in the best way possible,” says Martell.

Best creative services for local fashion entrepreneurs: Maybe Sunday

There’s been a common denominator behind the coolest fashion-related projects held in the city: collective Maybe Sunday. Co-founded by McKenzie Thompson and Jason Guo, they offer services such as web and graphic design, photography, branding, apparel manufacturing, laser cutting and custom printing—not to mention the many resources available to music artists. Their minimal-yet-whimsical Pilsen storefront has hosted noteworthy pop-up shops such as and Indigo Nation, creating a home and bringing visibility to independent up-and-coming local fashion entrepreneurs.  

1320 W. 18th, 312.625.0798,

Best use of a small piece of fabric: Lee Allison ties

Minimum investment and maximum impact is what a great accessory can do for an outfit, and Lee Allison’s ties are no exception to the rule. Meticulously handmade with one-hundred-percent silk woven in Europe, their exclusive designs range from traditional stripes and houndstooths to sharks, skulls and ice-cream cones. Find them at Macy’s on State Street, select local shops such as Nicholas Joseph and Oliver & Rowan Bespoke, and online along with tie-related tutorials, tips, and fun facts.

1820 W. Webster, 773.276.7172,

Best local athleisure line: HØVET 

Designer Anna Hovet brings new meaning to the phrase “I spent the whole day in my sweats” with her athleisure line HØVET. Made with sustainable bamboo terry, HØVET’s sporty yet stylish pieces are perfect for an active day or for lounging around while still looking put-together. Ranging from $30-$149, Hovet’s creations are not only affordable, but also eco-conscious, locally produced and carefully designed. Find them at and in select boutiques such as Jugrnaut and Wolfbait.

2000 W. Carroll, #302, 773.504.6054, by appointment only,
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