Female Chicago Creatives Spotlight: Giselle Gatsby

Giselle Gatsby is an independent photographer, jewelry designer and founder of the Chicago based art and style publication Glamour Girl. Gatsby's work and personal style are inherently intertwined--both being examples of her love for fashion and glamour but always being showcased in a raw and unfiltered light.

What do you do?

That's complicated, I am everything and I am nothing. You could call me an artist, a designer, a photographer, an editor, a curator, a pre-med student. 

Who or what inspires you?

Love, friends, complete strangers, the sun, divine beauty, liberation, pleasure, nothing at all.

Why do you choose to create?

Creativity is inherent in all human beings. It's natural. I love to create because it doesn't need to make sense and I'll never fully understand it. 

Why Chicago?

Chicago is the local bar of the Midwest, budding with potential and talent. Most importantly it's close to my family, my greatest inspiration.

What’s next?

For the first time in my life, I don't know what is next and I'm happy about that but hopefully a road of artistic excess and true happiness. 

@gisellegatsby

http://gisellegatsby.com

Photos: Clyde Munroe @clyde.munroe

Assistant: Charlotte Foley

Writing: Bianca Betancourt

 

Female Chicago Creatives Spotlight: Sal Yvat

Sal Yvat is hands down the most adventurous stylist in Chicago. The young southerner—a native of Memphis, Tennessee—has been slaying the editorial game since she first came to the Windy City. Her styling work often mimics the risks she takes within her own personal style—often switching up tomboy and vintage rock inspired looks to ultra glam 70s flare or bohemian silhouettes. Definitely not a one trick pony, she also edits Off-Kilter Magazine's digital component and plans to take over the web and coding industry next. 

What do you do? I am an art director specializing in styling, set and web design. I am also the digital editor of Off-Kilter Magazine.

Who or what inspires you? I am super inspired by the south- southern culture, southern twang, southern aesthetics- Shirley Kurata, Solange of course, Erykah Badu, 70’s music, classic vinyl covers, and Area Nyc.

Why do you choose to create? I was born a creator, and we all are really. Some of us create art- tangible things, some of us create perfect math equations and cures for diseases. I think humans are natural creatives, we all have to find what drives us. However, I chose to go to art school because I had to take the risk. Being from Memphis, TN- a comfortable city- it's rare that people leave to pursue their dreams… My drive to be great drove me to create.

Why Chicago? I actually only chose Chicago for Columbia however, it was a great choice. The people here are incredible, the experiences, and the culture here is wonderful.

What’s next? I want to eventually have a consulting business, in between now and then- I plan to continue styling, and become more of an image consultant. I have a dream to style for Jeffrey Campbell in the future. I definitely think I can. I want to learn everything I can about web design, and become the new Squarespace.

Sal is wearing the Eugene Taylor alined bellbottoms.
@salsogroovy

Photos: Clyde Munroe @clyde.munroe

Assistant: Charlotte Foley

Writing: Bianca Betancourt

Female Chicago Creatives Spotlight: Shani Crowe 

Shani Crowe is one of the most exciting and respected artists to come out of Chicago recently. Crowe has received worldwide attention this year for pieces of work titled "BRAIDS" where she showcases the endless ways hair braiding can be emulated and styled. All of her interdisciplinary visual work centers around the history and constant influence of the African Diaspora in modern day culture—and her style is no exception. 

What do you do? I'm an interdisciplinary artist, which is a cute tittle for "I create whatever I want with whatever Material I choose". 

Who or what inspires you? I find inspiration in most things, especially nature. I'm a pensive person with a vivid imagination, so for me, inspiration is greatly attributed to atmosphere and solitude.This combination allows me to notice and appreciate the nuanced beauty of my surroundings, and gets my inner gears turning. Its a safe space, It's creative meditation. 

Why do you choose to create? Its very natural to me, and it's fulfilling to manifest your own ideas. Because I can create, I just have to. Life is short, I encourage everyone to at least try to persue their passions. Invest in your vision, try to make the life you want possible. Vote for Pedro( yourself) and all of your wildest dreams will come true. 

Why Chicago? Good question. I have great friends for life here, But if I could pack them up somehow and dip somewhere warmer 👀👀

What’s next? I plan to continue to create and shoot BRAID works and create a book within 3 years I'm also going to travel as much as I can. 

Shani is wearing the Eugene Taylor sharkskin jogger set. 

@crowezilla

http://shanicrowe.com

Photos: Clyde Munroe @clyde.munroe

Assistant: Charlotte Foley

Writing: Bianca Betancourt

Female Chicago Creatives Spotlight: Briana Smith 

Briana Smith is one of the most down to earth but simultaneously hardest working women in Chicago. The media marketing guru (and sporty fashionista) has run her popular sports and lifestyle blog Ballinois.com for a few years now, where she promotes her love and respect of basketball and it’s cemented place in Chicago culture. Her love of sports doesn’t stop her style however—the curly headed media personality always dressed on point no matter what she’s doing, and can often be spotted in spunky dresses and boots, oversized vests and blazers but also of course, a jersey.

What do you do? I produce sports content, videos, & events. Currently, I work as a PA for the Big Ten Network---which includes editing video, cutting highlights, and getting paid to watch sports. I am also the Flight Ambassador for Jordan Brand (Central Territory). I plan our activations, work with products/athletes, digital content, and help get the community engaged in Jordan Brand/Station 23 —I’m doing all of this while still working on my Sports blog, Ballinois.com

Who or what inspires you? My childhood inspired me the most. Growing up my father took us all to bitty league basketball—I was the only child that sucked. I was always in advanced art program—anything that the park district offered. I loved simple things like flaming hots, basketball, & anything artistic especially dance. I lived back and forth between NY & Chicago because my grandmother worked as a TV producer, my other grandma a piano teacher, & my mom a wedding/funeral singer. I took all that and was inspired to create my own doors.

Why do you choose to create? I have one tattoo, a caged bird. It represents the first time I ever read a poem, by Maya Angelou (I know why the caged bird sings). To tie the story together, I choose to create because creativity is FREEDOM. I’m best at reading, writing, and creating. Creativity are my wings that help me to fly & therefore I am not caged to the ways of the world.

Why Chicago? There are so many hidden gems in Chicago-—from the people, sports, culture, & food especially. It’s not an easy place to succeed at, but I’ve found the key to Chicago is being authentic, authenticity keeps you relevant, respected, and successful. This is my home base forever, although I always travel and intend on having a few places  throughout the world. We harbor some of the greatest talent

What’s next? Oh, the best is yet to come. I am currently working on my own television show pitch---not a reality show!!! And I’m also working on a cool campaign that’ll bring my A-list client contacts alongside my community in efforts to do help the neighborhood. I’ve seen too much death in Chicago. It has taught me to treat everyone like FAMILY & that a smile or simple laugh with a stranger can go a long way.

Briana is wearing the Eugene Taylor silver metallic jumpsuit. 

http://www.ballinois.com

@ballinoisbri

Photos: Clyde Munroe @clyde.munroe

Assistant: Charlotte Foley

Writing: Bianca Betancourt

Female Chicago Creatives Spotlight: Tayler Nash 

Tayler Nash is a Chicago style girl through and through. The creative producer keeps her fashion followers constantly on their toes with her ever changing looks; she can be rocking RSVP Gallery and a leather jacket by day and switching it up to a glamorous vintage inspired jumpsuit by night. What makes her personal style so authentically Chicago however, is her unabashed confidence in what she wears daily.

What do you do?My name is Tayler Nash. I'm a freelance creative producer "art bad", dot connector, digital darling and multitask mami stylist but my newest & most important role is a mama. It's hard for me to define my role because I've always been more then titles. I like what I like. I enjoy helping people in any way I can, getting my ideas out, creating art and writing everyday. Creating was my only outlet for a long time when life was kicking my young ass so it stuck and will always be a part of my identity. At times when I didn't want to focus on myself I chose to connect the dots for those around me in anyway I could. What's the point of life if you aren't helping others along the way?

What inspire's me? Family - creative peers - life - the little things that get overlooked - people that have put on before me. The people that I've been blessed to call friends and family inspire me. I feed off conversations, feelings, interactions, settings but also music which has been a constant. For the past 3 years my boyfriend was working on his album so being apart of that process ( ups and downs) was very inspirational even if I fail to admit it sometimes.   I feel everything deeply which is a gift and a curse bc I get invested in my experiences. My interactions with my daughter inspire me bc she makes me excited about the tiniest of things. Everything is brand new to a child. Things we take for granted like the heat of sun shining, coolness of rain drops or the feeling of grass is all brand new to them. I want that attention to detail to reflect in my work. My mom has always been one of the biggest consistent beams of light and inspo. It's always been her and I through this novella which is life. Even when she didn't get exactly what I wanted to do she pushed me to figure it out and believed in the bigger picture. I am also creatively curious. So whenever I find something new I'm into I dive into it. I obsess until I become seasoned in the subject. I especially find inspiration learning about the people that have trail blazed that avenue. How did they get interested in the subject? What did they go through to get to that point? I tend to get spongy. 

Why do you create? I create to get my ideas out. I create to inspire other people to do the same even with little resources because if there is a will there is a way. I've always drawn, painted, sketched or had a particular eye for art as long as I can remember. From there I found others forms of art to express myself: building websites, creative direction, styling web stores and offering my input in whatever situation necessary. I create because it's something I love and I'll never be able to turn it off. I can't turn my ideas off. Whenever I'm stagnant and not working on something I feel strange - sad. I'd rather do what makes me happy for the rest of my life.

Why Chicago? I find the energy in Chicago very inspiring. You can travel all over the US but there is no place like Chicago. No matter how far I go I always gravitate back to home. I as born here - lived here my whole life - my family and friends are here - basically all my people. The world's agenda compared to your own will have you feeling low sometimes so whenever I touch down I feel replenished - reaffirmed - loved and ready to get back to it. Especially after I eat some real food. I first got my start in 8th grade in Chicago when I fell i love with street wear and designing sneakers. I used to sweep floors in Self Conscious and show up every weekend to intern under Cliff and Chris. I thought they were so tight - I would do whatever they needed me to just so I could be on the scene. I got treated like a baby they turned me down alot even had to bring my momma in to vouch for me. Those experiences opened the doors for a lot of my passions and I got exposed to some very influential people at a young age. (also I think I met Tesha B that way, at some sneaker event)

What's next? Taking my passions more seriously. I have a tendency to have amazing ideas - sit on them or pass them along - then someone else will do it and I'm like damn. I think that happens alot to people in the creative industry. The best combat is to find a way to put out out your ideas by any means. Why wait? So that's what I'm doing. Perfecting, so I can put out good stuff that best encompasses the many sides of me. (Sometimes that has even meant hopping in to be the fake model of my vision.) I'm just trying to impress myself and my daughter in the long run. Live a happy life with lots of laughs & light sarcasm regardless. I've been working on a kid's book for the last 6 months. I'm excited to see that come into fruition.  I also want to build a bigger platform for young women in the creative industry - a network of sorts. Right now i'm a work in the progress so I appreciate the patience and well wishes from those rooting for me. 

Tayler is wearing the Eugene Taylor black v-neck shoulder dress. 

@kissmynash

Photos: Clyde Munroe @clyde.munroe

Assistant: Charlotte Foley

Writing: Bianca Betancourt

Female Chicago Creatives Spotlight: Emily Wiss

Emily Wiss—artist, stylist and creative director—is one of the most authentic style mavens in the city. She rocks streetwear regularly, in part of her working with city favorite boutique Saint Alfred, but always has a slightly west coast, bohemian touch incorporated into all her outfits that compliment her laid back personality.

What Do You Do? I work as an art facilitator for a non for profit cancer support organization, I work at Saint Alfred, and I do freelance art, styling, and creative direction.

Who or what inspires you? Cindy Sherman, Amy Sedaris, and women who are unapologetically themselves 100% of the time. Also pride in where you come from, your people, and your vision as seen in artists like Teen Angel and brands like BornxRaised

Why do you choose to create? To get these weird images ands ideas out of my head and make room for more. It's a necessary release. Always keep it movin!

Why Chicago? I have been asking myself that all too often as of late, but it's a proud time to be from Chicago. There's eyes on us right now, and the youngin's in music and art/fashion are to thank for that. It's nice to see us gain recognition for something positive again. In Chicago we have a few extra hardships than most but that's what makes us so tough

Whats Next? In an ideal world, a black El Camino and an open road..a few art shows and gigs on the way :)

Emily is wearing the Eugene Taylor v-neck color block dress

@boutabentley

Photos: Clyde Munroe @clyde.munroe

Assistant: Charlotte Foley

Writing: Bianca Betancourt

Female Chicago Creatives Spotlight: Oliva Goodman

Olivia Goodman is a designer, stylist but also most importantly—a bonafide girl boss. The Windy City native is the founder and designer of Og Brand, a menswear brand "for everyone" that Chicagoans proudly rock. She has an eye for creating cuts and clothing that are classic to Chicago style but with a modern, refreshing edge. When she's not designing or sewing herself, she's styling herself to perfection—often experimenting with classic silhouettes in untraditional textures or colors or revamping vintage finds to bring new life to their look. 

What do you do? I design clothing for everyone, inspired mostly by menswear. I also think of really crazy outfits and put them on beautiful people. 

What inspires you? Mostly the people around me inspire me the most. All of my friends are go-getters. They know what they want and they figure out how to get it. 

Why do you create? I choose to create because it's what I was put on this planet to do. I've tried so many other things in the past, and I came to decide that creating is what makes me the happiest and the most fulfilled. 

Why Chicago? Chicago is where I was born and raised. I love and breath chicago. I'm staying here because of this renaissance era that we are all kickstarting and I will continue to build and develop my own industry here. 

What's next? Next is opening a showroom. I want people to have a destination to touch and feel the things I create and I also want to have a space for others to showcase and connect with one another. 

Oliva is wearing the Eugene Taylor alined bellbottoms.

@tripleeeog

http://www.ogbrand.com

Photos: Clyde Munroe @clyde.munroe

Assistant: Charlotte Foley

Writing: Bianca Betancourt

Female Chicago Creatives Spotlight: Bianca Betancourt

Almost four years ago, Bianca Betancourt saw a gap in the magazine industry for publications that focused on fashion, art and culture through the millennial perspective. That along with a lack of boundary pushing publications in general existing in Chicago, inspired that start of CIRCUS Magazine which she has edited and curated ever since. Since then, Betancourt has continued to be inspired by the countless creatives she interviews and writes about daily and being surrounded by such diverse and talented artists has reflected in her style as well. She’s never afraid to try any outfit once because even a later regret can turn into a great story.

What do you do? I’m a writer, editor and quasi curator currently residing in Chicago, IL. I am the founder and editor in chief of CIRCUS Magazine, a digital publication here in the city that showcases trending and undiscovered creatives of all types and why their work and stories matter. Aside from running CIRCUS, I also freelance, having been previously published in The Washington Post, Huffington Post, Teen Vogue, Remezcla and The Chicago Sun-Times.

Who or what inspires you? Women from all wakes of life inspire me and the barriers they go through to make their dreams happen. I love strong women like Frida Kahlo, funny women like Fran Drescher and unapologetic women like Nigella Lawson. Writing wise, Zora Neale Hurston and Sandra Cisneros are the ultimate inspirations. If I could be any one woman in the world? Penelope Cruz, hands down. I relish women who have the confidence I often lack.

Why do you choose to create? It’s the only thing that feels natural to me. I grew up always loving magazines but never knew that my calling in life would be to write, edit and create my own. Even if my readership is small, I love retaining the power to promote badass artists doing their own thing and in their own way and help them get the attention they deserve. Many creatives I’ve worked with in the past have gone on to do huge projects post working with me or CIRCUS so I feel like a fairy godmother of sorts that help people realize their potential—being a writer and editor is selfless. It’s never about me, but always the subject and the story.

Why Chicago? I moved to Chicago (almost 5 years ago now!) because I thought I wasn’t ready for New York for school. Looking back, I probably would have handled it just fine, but I know I was meant to come here. I’ve met amazing artists, discovered that I too, am an artist of some sort, and I really came to grips with who I am as a person, culturally, emotionally, spiritually. I fell in love as well! I love traveling and love to move around so I probably will move soon, but I’ll always be thankful for Chicago. It gave me the tools to grow.

What’s next? I just wrapped up producing CIRCUS’ first print issue and next aside from planning Issue 002, is releasing my book of essays and its accompanying short film next spring. It’s going to be a Solange music video x Lemonade x Kali Uchis with a splash of Sex and the City and the biggest and boldest thing I’ve ever conquered. I can’t wait.

Bianca is wearing the Eugene Taylor bell crop top jacket. 

http://biancabetancourt.com

@bybiancabee

Photos: Clyde Munroe @clyde.munroe

Assistant: Charlotte Foley

Writing: Bianca Betancourt

Female Chicago Creatives Spotlight: Katrina Tarzain

Katrina Jayne is a Chicago based photographer who effortlessly captures the magical and unapologetic grim and grit of the city's music and art scenes. Her photographic style has no barriers; she switches up her project style so often—whether she's shooting a concert, a party or an editorial—she manages to highlight all of the uniqueness that makes Chicago, it's people and it's creatives, so great. 

What do you do? For now I lurk around providing vibes and taking photos mainly behind the scenes of the Chicago hip hop, art, fashion + nightlife scenes. I capture things and people that I find important or interesting in Chicago. I am still figuring out exactly what it is that I should do, but in the meantime remain in the cut catching candid, significant moments that people do not expect or notice that I am capturing. People change when they know the camera is on them so what I love most is capturing raw, organic moments that end up holding a lot of meaning and real emotion.I like to show people what its like to really be doing it in Chicago.

Who or what inspires you? Music, fashion, imagination, fearless rule breakers and people who have unapologetically always done whatever the fuck they want. I am also inspired by film photographers, specifically old school female street and fashion photographers, who in the end made a legacy for themselves before social media and digital photography was even a thing. I am inspired by true artists with no days off, fully committed to doing what they love whether people accept it/them or not.  

Why do you choose to create? I choose to create not only because it is fun and I love it, but also because nothing else really matters to me. There is a lot of messed up shit and opinions of people/groups of people in this world and I sometimes feel as though I could be doing more. Then I remember that by creating new things and zoning in on documenting people and scenes that I really fuck with I am able to show people who are not in the creative world that everyone is more similar than you would think and we are all really here for the same reasons and should get along as such.

Why Chicago? Chicago is the best and has some really dope shit going on right now that I don’t know if everyone has even realized yet. I tried to move away and do the whole east coast thing, but after dropping out of school and coming back to Chicago, I spent a couple of years going to shows dolo taking photos and meeting as many people as I could in different scenes. Chicago has the rawest most talented people I have ever met. I love Chicago and the people in it and really want to stay here and continue to document the important things going on to help build scenes and hopefully bring people together who have never considered working together.

What’s next? The start of my long awaited rap career...haha kidding. Kind of. There is so much that I want to do and so many people that I still want to work with. I am not much of a planner, but I do have a bunch of long term goals and projects that I would like to accomplish in addition to continuing to build my instax collection. Eventually/ultimately I want to move into the city and invest in a warehouse space for not only shooting, but also for a recording studio, darkroom, prop shop and event space for me and all of the like minded creatives I have met to take advantage of.

Katrina is wearing the Eugene Taylor cobalt jogger set.

@katerjayne

http://www.katerjayne.com

Photos: Clyde Munroe @clyde.munroe

Assistant: Charlotte Foley

Writing: Bianca Betancourt

Female Chicago Creatives Spotlight: Sahar Habibi

DJ and Soulection member Sahar Habibi is a master of high/low style. The brunette beauty effortlessly switches between glamorous fits (rocking satin, suede and always a killer pair of heels) to comfy but well curated streetwear-esque ensembles that her Insta-followers are sure to be screens hotting. While she’s turning heads by day, by night is where Habibi’s true magic shows—she’s easily one of the most notable DJs in Chicago right now, breaking down a usually boys-only community with her undeniable talent and mastery of mixing.

What do you do? I'm a DJ, and also a part of the music collective, Soulection, as an executive assistant.

Who or what inspires you? I get inspiration from everything around me. From other creatives, my family, my team, my friends.... hm.. Russell Simmons, nature, music/live shows, traveling. I like to observe the OG's and learn how they built themselves up from the bottom.

Why do you choose to create? I choose to create because it expresses who I am. It expresses how I feel. When I'm happy, sad, mad, excited—I always take it to the music to fill my mood. I'd rather let the music speak for me when I don't have the words to say.

Why Chicago? Chicago is a big, yet small city with a lot of inspiration and grind. A lot of opportunity, and a community of other creatives working together to make each other’s visions and dreams come true.

What’s next? I'm ending 2016 by plotting on what I want to come out of 2017. There's a lot of potential on "what's next." Obviously, growing myself as my brand, always. But also I have a lot of ideas in mind that I will be setting small goals for myself, to help me build up to my bigger ones. We shall see.

Sahar is wearing the Eugene Taylor black v-neck shoulder dress. 

@sashabibi

http://www.saharhabibi.com

Photos: Clyde Munroe @clyde.munroe

Assistant: Charlotte Foley

Writing: Bianca Betancourt

Female Chicago Creatives Spotlight: Yaz Fragoso 

Yazmin Fragoso is easily one of the most recognizable fashion faces in Chicago. The model, stylist and actress seems to be every creative’s muse in one form or another and rightfully so—she simultaneously stuns with her natural beauty, dry humor and sexy yet effortless style.

What do you do? I'm an aspiring actress,stylist, and fashion director or at least trying to be... but honestly my love and heart is in performing and acting and everything else just ties together because of what I'm attracted to do and find myself doing on the daily.

Who or what inspires you? My mother inspires me to work hard for my dream everyday. My friends inspire me because they're so talented! Life in general inspires me ! I motivate myself and get inspired by being on the train itself and watching the people around me. People watching is the best :) any little detail on their outfit can trigger a thought or inspiration to me and my mind just wonders off.

Why do you choose to create? Because it makes me happy and sane. Getting to make ideas you only had to yourself come to life and having the people around you appreciate it and understand it is a beautiful feeling. Even if at first they don't understand or get where you're going with your creation those who matter will get it. Even if it's just you in the beginning who is the only one that gets it that's all that matters. You're good if you have your own back.

Why Chicago? Guess I was just lucky enough to be from here. Haha no but for real Chicago is a city that artists are truly passionate about their work. We try our hardest and fight for what we stand for. The culture has been so alive lately too and I love being apart of it.

What's next? I mean, making it!?Hopefully be in a big production soon. Work side by side by an idol? Make the dream a real reality? Never stopping just gotta keep working.

Yaz is wearing the Eugene Taylor silver v-neck dress.

@yazgosohard

Photos: Clyde Munroe @clyde.munroe

Assistant: Charlotte Foley

Writing: Bianca Betancourt

Female Chicago Creatives Spotlight: Rachel Dafforn

Rachel Dafforn is one of the newest and most exciting up and coming fashion designers currently in Chicago. Her designs echo her headspace—her thoughts, feelings and emotions that make up her day to life and though the inspiration behind her clothing may be somewhat vulnerable, her personal style is anything but. You can catch Dafforn around town confidently rocking staple pieces with a modern edge—like camel trenches with black mesh tops, bandana chokers and white sneakers—and of course as referenced below—Eugene Taylor Brand.

What do you do? I design ready-to-wear clothing for women that want easy and unique garments with hand done embellishments that often are not found in the fast fashion world today. I like to say it's 70% streetwear and 30% high end.  

Who or what inspires you? I am inspired by thoughts and feelings and common emotions that people can connect and relate to. Creating garments is my way of journaling or talking through my feelings, it's just my process of getting through anything that I have going on in my life.

Why do you choose to create? Because sitting at a desk job my entire life would be an incredibly boring life to me.

Why Chicago? I've felt a lot of pressure to move to New York since applying to colleges but it's never felt right to me. No one expects anything from Chicago, regarding fashion. The fashion industry here is minuscule compared to New York, but New York already has such a voice in fashion. It's time for people to hear the voices of Chicago fashion designers because there are a lot of us here and we have a lot to say.  

What's next? I'm young, and I think I need to remind myself a lot that its ok not to know what's next. I'm open to all opportunities and I'm going to take whatever feels right, but I know I will always be creating no matter what.

Rachel is wearing the Eugene Taylor navy set.

@rachel.dafforn

Photos: Clyde Munroe @clyde.munroe

Assistant: Charlotte Foley

Writing: Bianca Betancourt

Female Chicago Creatives Spotlight: Falyn Huang

Falyn Huang is one of the most boundary pushing creatives in Chicago. The dual  photographer and makeup artist creates visual work that has a life it’s own that lives beyond the digital screens and pages it’s published in. As she continues to blend the lines between fashion, beauty and portraiture within her work, it’s safe to say that Huang will never create a boring visual.

What do you do?

I am a photographer and makeup artist. I was a painter before… that’s what I got into college for actually.  When I’m in the shower, alone, with no one in the house… I’m the best singer. I swear.

Who or what inspires you?

People and beauty inspire me. Alot. I love observing people and dissecting the psychology of how things work socially. Even if I don’t understand it entirely. I’m fascinated by the relationship of human interaction and the many levels of perceived “reality”.  I also admire intrinsic beauty and how it challenges society’s definition of what beauty is and what it means. People who have true patience and those who can embrace suffering without falling apart and still have the ability to exuberate so much laughter, compassion, wisdom, and love is also something that’s extremely powerful to me.     

Why do you choose to create?

I believe in grey; everything leading up to the final result isn’t just black or white. However, reality is in fact black and white. And that's something I have to challenge. I think a lot of people are misunderstood, and I definitely have been on both sides of being a victim of misunderstanding/miscommunication as well as being guilty for misunderstanding/miscommunication. I actually struggle with social anxiety and try to understand it while overcoming it right then and there, although it’s different in every social setting. But photography forces me challenge my insecurities as well as push the boundaries of what I find to be true.  

Why Chicago?

Chicago has been gaining a lot of heat in the music and art scene. However fashion has not quite reached where it can be. With so many bright minds and talented young designers that are dedicated in nurturing the progressive culture in the fashion scene, I want to be a part of the forefront of that growth because I’m a photographer who loves and respects fashion.

What’s next?

I have a few project and collaborations coming up before the end of 2016 with @eugenetaylorbrand, @frisquebusiness, @austinvesely that I’m super stoked about.  After these projects are done, and starting the new year...  I’m actually thinking about New York, Hong Kong… or back to my motherland, Taiwan, to soak in some self culture and rediscovery. I love Chicago and want to stay… but sometimes you have to fly away for a bit just so you can come home. 

Falyn is wearing the Eugene Taylor alined bellbottoms. 

http://www.falynhuang.com

@falynhuang

Photos: Clyde Munroe @clyde.munroe

Assistant: Charlotte Foley 

Writing: Bianca Betancourt

Female Chicago Creatives Spotlight: Nina Cowens

Makeup artists paint famous faces daily, but it’s a select and talented few whose beauty work is instantly recognizable upon first glance. Nina Cowens is the makeup brains behind almost every exciting fashion and beauty editorial that’s been produced in the past few years—her work always being bold yet refined, bright and effervescent. The proud Boricua’s personal style echoes her beauty handiwork—never shying away from untraditional colors, cuts or patterns that play up her bubbly personality.

What do you do? I'm a makeup artist. I work with other artists in the fashion industry to create beautiful images. I also have personal clients that I glam up for special events.

What inspires you? Femininity, fantasy, nature

Why do you choose to create? It never really seemed to be a choice. I'm a Pisces and we're very imaginative. I've always been creating, designing/making clothes, drawing, painting...I even use to write songs before and I can't even sing or play any instruments. It's just therapy for me. 

Why Chicago? I was born and raised here! I remember hating the neighborhood I grew up in because it was pretty violent and I couldn't wait to get out. Now I appreciate it and this city for the thick skin, realness, and drive it gave me. Chicago has my heart. 

What's next? Keep bringing beauty in the world.

Nina is wearing the Eugene Taylor sharkskin grey joggers.

@ninaboomboom

Photos: Clyde Munroe @clyde.munroe

Assistant: Charlotte Foley 

Writing: Bianca Betancourt

Female Chicago Creatives Spotlight: Maya Iman

While most young creatives takes years of mistakes and mishaps along the road to perfecting their craft, Chicago art director and photographer Maya Iman, has known her visual aesthetic since the very beginning. Her work encompasses the use of clean lines, muted colors—and always—a diverse makeup of models in front of the camera. She hopes to continue to push the boundaries for diversity in the art world through her work as she grows as a creative. 

What do you do? I'm an art director and photographer.

Who or what inspires you? I'm always gaining new inspiration from everything around me. 

Why do you choose to create? To innovate

Why Chicago? It's home. I see a lot of growth and beauty here.

 What’s next? Word hard and keep growing.

Maya is wearing the Eugene Taylor metallic jumpsuit.

@mayaiman

http://mayaiman.com

Photos: Clyde Munroe @clyde.munroe

Assistant: Charlotte Foley 

Writing: Bianca Betancourt

Female Chicago Creatives Spotlight: Lauren Fern 

Lauren Fern, or better known by her social media moniker, “Unfabulous Elle” is one of the youngest, but brightest style mavens to come out of Chicago in recent years. Her everyday style never bores; she’s always put together a la Audrey Hepburn, but with an unapologetic millennial edge that embraces whimsical colors, patterns and textures. Sometimes she professionally styles, sometimes she’s producing shoots and sometimes she’s the model herself—no matter what role she’s inheriting, she does what she’s asked to do—does it well and always while being the best dressed in the room.

What do you do? I tell stories through clothes. Whether it’s producing an editorial, styling, getting dressed in the morning, or putting together an event. I love using clothes to tell a story.

Who or what inspires you? Daydreaming, researching, learning more. Through that I generate different obsessions. they are always different—before it has been anything from rockstar groupies, Cuban living and culture, to Barbie dolls- and right now its farm life and fairytales. These obsessions and the research I put into them generate inspiration and ideas.

Why do you choose to create? Because it keeps me from going crazy.

Why Chicago? It’s my kinda town

Whats next? Learning french—I am envisioning Paris in my future.

Lauren is wearing the Eugene Taylor silver v-neck shoulder dress.

@unfabulous_elle 

Photos: Clyde Munroe @clyde.munroe

Assistant: Charlotte Foley 

Writing: Bianca Betancourt

Female Chicago Creatives Spotlight: Shahrnaz Javid

Shahrnaz Javid is a writer and photographer who “lives vicariously through [her] subjects.” Javid’s photography and personal style are intricately linked—both being bright and glamorous but with an edge that keeps onlookers intrigued. Both her writing and photography are influenced by the current climate of music, culture and her own personal creative circle. The diverse creative energy she surrounds herself by is clearly showcased in not just her work, but her everyday style as well.

What do you do? I’m straddling the lines between photojournalism and my creative pursuits. I write, shoot, observe, and help bring people’s visions to life (as well as mine). I’m constantly searching for ways to turn the places in my dreams into my reality.

Who or what inspires you?  Honestly everything. As a photographer attention to detail is of the utmost importance. Maybe I won’t brush my hair one day but the way someone else’s lays on their back is a photo/story itself. I find inspiration in the smallest of things.

Why do you choose to create? Because it’s the only way I can truly express. I’m not fond of being too loud myself, a lot of times I can be shy or reserved and I find I’m most expressive when I live vicariously through my subjects. I tend to write about or shoot things that I have a deeper connection with. It’s a way to share aspects of my life without talking about myself.

Why Chicago? I moved here for school initially. I left for a bit to China and came back. I’m not sure how to answer this because Chicago is not my last stop, I plan on moving beginning of 2017. But as of right now Chicago is home.

What’s next? My next project? Or next move? I’m working on a think piece at the moment focusing on early 2000s reality TV. Next move either New York or the Netherlands (putting my dual citizenship to use).

@soltanshahr

http://www.soltanii.com

Photos: Clyde Munroe @clyde.munroe

Assistant: Charlotte Foley 

Writing: Bianca Betancourt

Female Chicago Creatives Spotlight: Troi Warren 

Troi Warren is more than a triple threat. The multidisciplinary creative who works with photography, design, painting, video and more—all while proving female artists in Chicago are a force to be reckoned with. Inspired by “effortlessness”, Warren’s work and personal style are obviously visually linked. It’s why she makes wearing her namesake style pieces—like Union Jack boxer shorts, mesh tops and of course, a piece from Eugene Taylor brand—look so easy.

What do you do? I am a multi-medium visual artist who occasionally dabbles in clothing design. 

Who or what inspires you? I am inspired by effortlessness. Things that are forced give me second hand embarrassment and I can't explain why (lol). I love when people/things exist the way that they do, and others gravitate toward them for that sole reason. I guess I'm inspired by people who can't help it.

Why do you choose to create? I don't choose to create, we're all innately creative beings. If I could stick to one medium, I would, but it's hard for me. My favorite thing about creating is it possibly helping someone put a name to their aesthetic. Like how people associate "woke" black women with shea butter. 

Why Chicago? Why not Chicago?? I like how all the stuff that happens here is underrated to the rest of the world. Of course stuff gets old to us, but when it makes it out of Chicago, outsiders love it and can't let it go. Hopefully down the line, that'll help us to stop taking our creatives for granted. I still love it here, though.

What’s next? I never know.

Troi is wearing the Eugene Taylor Alined Bellbottoms.

@troiwarren

http://www.troiwarren.com

Photos: Clyde Munroe @clyde.munroe

Assistant: Charlotte Foley 

Writing: Bianca Betancourt

Female Chicago Creatives Spotlight: Glenda Lissette 

Glenda Lisette is a multidisciplinary creative storyteller working within the realms of photography, filmmaking and illustration—as well as being a simultaneous activist for indigenous and Latinx rights—all while still attending university. Her style is conscientious, with the colors, fabrics and patterns she chooses to wear daily echoing the shades and remnants of her Guatemalan lineage. Her artwork is simultaneously socially conscious—for what her pieces show in vibrancy and color is equally representative of the struggle indigenous and Latinx citizens and immigrants experience daily in the states and at home. Lisette recently started a Youtube channel where she brings to life her illustrations and photographic eye to create sensational visuals that detail her identity—inward and out.

What do you do? I’m a storyteller and I primarily use photography, filmmaking, and illustration. My work is often self-portraiture and explores indigenous identity. I also just started a youtube account, so I’m exploring that, too.

Who or what inspires you? Nature is my endless source of inspiration. I’m always finding reflections of myself in everything, in the trees, the moss, the sounds, the bugs. I try to listen and watch the world and it helps me resolve and make new connections. I’m inspired by strong women, the protectors of our planet, the pan-indigenous movement, Guatemala, and too many other things to list.

Why do you choose to create? I HAVE to create, and I choose to listen that urge. I think for many artists, we create art because we have to. If I deny my impulses and ignore my creative ideas, I feel incredibly unfulfilled. When I’m creating, my anxiety and stress levels improve. It’s not always positive to feel this urge to create - sometimes it’s like I’m possessed, and it can be very distracting when I’m trying to do other things, like school, but I always feel more whole when I respond to those urges.

Why Chicago? I was born here and popped in and out of the area throughout my life. I’m here to get my education but I’m meeting so many amazing and different types of creative people along the way. 

What’s next? I just want to focus on producing a lot of great work and begin to try and get my work into galleries and museums. Right now, indigenous people across the continent are building a strong community and teaming up to fight common evils. My work is a part of that movement of resistance and I want to continue engaging in that dialogue.

Glenda is wearing the Eugene Taylor metallic jumpsuit.

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UClZOWAGu-qn21wYic2CY4uA

@glendalissette 

Photos: Clyde Munroe @clyde.munroe

Assistant: Charlotte Foley 

Writing: Bianca Betancourt

Female Chicago Creatives Spotlight: Imani Amos

Aside from excelling with her work in design and photography, Imani Amos is at her most simple, a muse. Her personal style is fluid, honest and sensual which is why she’s been the star for dozens of cameras over the years. The streamlined silhouettes of Eugene Taylor along with Amos fashion chameleon presence, the two put together are a perfect sartorial match.

What do you do? What don’t I do? Lol. I kinda just do what I want to do buuuuut if I had to make a small list it would look something like this: West African dance teacher & choreographer, student, graphic designer, fake model, and self proclaimed Snapchat queen. I also invented the phenomenon of posting in threes on Instagram, ask about me!

Who or what inspires you? My mom is my latest, my greatest inspiratiooon *in my Teddy Pendergrass voice. * If you didn’t sing while reading that then we might not be able to be friends in real life lol! But seriously, my mom inspires me the most. Also, the students I’ve been working with are huge in regards to my inspiration. I want to be the best version of me for them! I also, of course, am inspired by my environment. What I hear, see, taste, smell, and feel all manifest itself into what it is that I create. However, my greatest love of all (Whitney Houston reference this time) is Africa and the people of the African diaspora, straight up.

Why do you choose to create? I meeean, there are people that do other things out here? Sounds maaaad boring lol. To be a creator is a gift from the creator. I don’t take that gift lightly and I let that light shine as much as possible. Why question what is meant to be, eh? Would you ask my why I choose to breathe?

Why Chicago? I was born and raised here. Why not? Represent yo clique, right? Plus, no U.S. city has tacos like Chicago.

What’s next? Well, first and foremost to be happy is the goal, always. As for what’s next for the Imani Amos/ImaniMoon brand, we’d be here all day if I answered that question lol. In whatever endeavors I choose to peruse the goal is to be organic and genuine. The rest will follow. No forcing it over here! Check my snap @imani_moon or my Instagram @Imanimoon and I’ll keep you posted because your guess is as good as mine as to what’s up these sleeves lol.

Imani is wearing the Eugene Taylor cobalt jogger set. 

@imanimoon

Photos: Clyde Munroe @clyde.munroe

Assistant: Charlotte Foley 

Writing: Bianca Betancourt

Female Chicago Creatives Spotlight: Chelsey Carter

There are a handful of fashion designers breaking through a somewhat monotonous style scene in Chicago and Chelsey Carter of Alex Carter, is one of those few. The slim and lanky creative—known for her trademark statement glasses and ever-changing hair styles—could be mistaken just as equally as an off duty model whilst in her day to day style wear. Inspired by the people, art and music that surrounds her daily, her style along with her annual collections reflect what is currently consuming her creative side of her mind most at that given moment.

 

Who are you? I am the CEO/head designer for Alex Carter brand. I am an artist.

What inspires you? I am inspired by everything! What is here and what is left unseen. Music, vibes, summer time, politics, obstacles, victories, defeats, women, men, books, literally everything. "Who" inspires me would fall under each one of these categories, far too many to list.

Why do you create? I choose to create because to me my work is a language, my brand represents a dialogue. I've started a conversation on subject matter that only I possess the content. I feel it's my duty, at times. 

Why Chicago? Chicago was actually my second choice after New York when applying to college. 10 years ago Chicago won as it is closer to my hometown, Saint Louis, MO. 

What’s next? More collections, more work, more designs. I've been so blessed to be given a gift that people wear and enjoy. My plans for the future are to be happy, stay humble and to never stop learning. To wake up everyday and create.

Chelsey is wearing the Eugene Taylor sharkskin grey jogger set. 

@alexandreacarte

http://www.shopalexcarter.com

Photos: Clyde Munroe @clyde.munroe

Assistant: Charlotte Foley 

Writing: Bianca Betancourt