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Q&A: Meet the Niche

October 9, 2013
By now, it’s been a couple of months since we met these cats, Grant Legan and Kara Dykert. And we’ve discovered that they just keep getting better the longer we know them. Separately, they’re amazing people. Together, they’re unstoppable. So, it’s a good thing for artists in the Midwest (and beyond) that they’ve joined forces and established a home for imagination here in Chicago. It’s in the form of a website that turns the camera lens on designers, visual artists, wardrobists and more. But honestly, they tell it better than we do, so we’ll toss it over to them. Meet The Niche.

Where are you two from?
Grant is from the suburbs of Chicago. Homegrown in the midwest.
Kara is from Holland, MI. Moved to the Chicago area during college.

How’d you meet?
We actually met through Twitter. I (Grant) was doing an editorial through a local menswear company in Chicago, and Kara was one of the models. We bonded over whiskey and both being 7s on the enneagram personality test.

What is The Niche?
The Niche is a community for creatives living in Chicago. It’s also a voice to share the stories of creatives who are passionate about growing their art form and working hard at it every day.

Why start the Niche?
When we met, we realized we were so proud and humbled to know so many creative people. We began a bubbly conversation about one artist who was creating something fantastic, which spooled into endless tangents of creatives we had come to know over the years who were making such amazing things right in our own city.

When you look at the Niche, what do you see?
A place where we can learn from the other passionate people around us. A place where we can grow together and realize that we all want to help each other out. If you think about it, we all want the same thing: to be living a creative life and making things that make us happy as artists.

Favorite [experience or relationship] that has resulted from The Niche so far?
I think our favorite experience thus far is the personal interaction we get to experience with each person we feature. We get to step into their lives for a minute and see what makes them tick and how they got to be so amazing. They share with us some of their own inspirations, and we are able to then continue that conversation with others. We love the honesty and vulnerability that the people we’ve interviewed have shared with us. We really love being brought into their story.

What places, objects, or people do you look at for inspiration?
Grant: I personally pull inspiration from the people and conversations happening around me. I pull inspiration from my own day-to-day emotions—and from music and dreams. My mind morphs with music, and it feels with experience.

Kara: I am 100 percent a people person. I am inspired in my relationships—by my friends and family who are doing things they love and using their gifts and talents to better other people. I pull inspiration from being tactile, by using the things around me to create. I’m a total repurposer; I love taking what’s around me and recreating with it. I pull random ingredients from the kitchen to create fun meal. I pull “trash” to recreate furniture, to decorate, or to design with. I like to see the potential in things, and that inspires me.
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Have you ever thought about combining the powers of the creatives you’ve profiled so far into an event or trip?
Our long term goal for The Niche is to continue to discover these creatives that are hiding in pockets all over the city and across the world. From there, we hope to bring creative minds together and create “story branding” for companies we are passionate about or that have a wonderful story as well. I mean, collaboration is everything.

What would you like the Niche to become?
We would like it to be a community that works on creative collaborations. We would like to continue creating beautiful work and telling stories. Our form hasn’t become concrete; it’s still growing. Its been a pretty organic process so far and we’re excited to see what it becomes.

Who’s on your wish list to profile?
There are many greats out there. We are moving in a pretty organic way, for now. We enjoy being surprised by each new person we feature and each new relationship or contact we gain from that moment on. We both really love and respect people who are genuine and kind and talented. We don’t necessarily have a wish list of creatives, but we do want to keep meeting people who inspire us and are willing to share a part of their lives with us.

Follow The Niche: Website + Instagram + Twitter
Get in touch with Grant: Portfolio + Instagram + Twitter
Get in touch with Kara: Portfolio + Instagram + Twitter

Tom Ford’s Essentials or Whatever

September 4, 2013
TomFordEssentials

So you’ve heard the new JAY Z song, “Tom Ford.” Great. But who is this guy that JAY Z keeps mentioning?

Turns out, he’s quite the visionary who has created some provocative advertisements but is really known for designing well-tailored clothing. He’s also into having private shows with celebrities to debut his collection. Y’know, ’cause exclusive. A quick Googling of “Tom Ford” will also have your office flag your computer for pornography. To top it off, his clothing fits so damn well and is so on-brand for Mr. Carter that he wrote a song about this guy. And lo and behold, I stumbled across a list today of Tom’s essentials via an Instagram that I follow and he’s got a list of things you should own.

I’ll chip in my pocket change and make some adjustments. You should, too.

Late summer laundry

July 25, 2013

Summer uniforms, summer go-to’s, summer whatever you usually find yourself wearing. If you were to go through friend’s Instagrams and Facebook albums (just kidding, nobody uploads photos from their SUMMER 2013 ROADTRIP anymore), you’ll probably finding me wearing one of these or a blend of the three.

 

 

1) Birkenstocks are pretty standard, I mean, I went to liberal arts school and played on the frisbee team. What else were you supposed to wear to your Queer Theory class? Lest we forget the days when you could smoke a pack of cloves on the porch of your dilapidated college housing. The tie-dye shirt was a nice surprise from a friend and is now my inaugural “It’s time to drink on the roof” shirt. Occupy tie dye rainbow short sleeve by Band of Outsiders; plain grey jane shorts from J.Crewliberal arts “Arizona” two-strap Birkenstocks.

2) I’m always on board for the stripes and white denim, so this shouldn’t be a surprise. I guess this is where I’m supposed to say, “When it gets chilly on a summer evening, you’ll need a long-sleeve shirt.” But let’s not and say we did, since that’s just an excuse for those people who think long sleeves don’t make sense in the summer. I don’t need much floral, so let’s keep it minimal and stick it on my feet. Comme des Garcons striped long sleeve tee; white Acne denim (similar)Kimono slippers by Soludos.

3) If all of my striped tees are dirty (which can happen), I’ve got the striped shorts situation covered. Casually covered. And of course I’ll cop those GATs. Find ‘em here on the internet, friends. They are relaxing and minimal, like your favorite VSCO photos of scenic landscapes you’ve snapped on your summer treks. A perfect grey tee that you never have to wash because it doesn’t stretch out by rag & bone; striped casual shorts for brunch and boozing by Etudes; the original Margiela sneakers but you can find ‘em eBay or in Soho like I did.

Tada please stop me if I’m not wearing one of these outfits so I know you care, cool?

Spring-a-thing

April 2, 2013

You’ve made it through the winter. And you’re about to tackle a bit of closet cleaning: the spring things you’re deciding to pitch or keep.

I ditched more than I anticipated in hopes of swapping in a new batch of spring digs. I mean, why bother buying all of those shirts that are a hair too tight from the sale section so that when you sit down you’re embarrassed. You’re embarrassed because sitting shirts are now standing only shirts and your standing shirts are those ones you tried to tie around your waist for a catch of cool.

So, I’m skipping the floral shirt train for the moment and focusing on the footwear category for a kick.

My shoe collection has always been pretty weak, particular with the warmer months. I have far too many pairs of Birkenstocks and Chacos from undergrad that have carried themselves into my mid-20s. It’s unclear if this pair of kimono print Soludos ($42) establishes an accurate level of maturity, but they seemed to make me happy enough today. Welcome to the family, Soludos. You’ll set nicely next to the Birks, Chacs and appropriately ignored flip-flops.

Oh! And yeah, I already dragged out my spring clothes from the boxes and closets and bottom drawers that I never open. Cleaned ‘em all out and sent the tributes off to Beacon’s Closet. A great feeling of productivity and a little cleanse.

Do you have a ritual of sorts when it comes to the seasons changing and closets rotating?

MATERIALISM 2012 HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE: JEFF’S PICKS

December 20, 2012

 

1. The Great Coat: I’ve never seen a coat this color, let alone in my size. It’s gone now and will be on the list of things I regret not buying. Just like that Goyard wallet in Paris, that Folk raincoat in London and that pair of Rachel Comey loafers I saw a kid wearing in Kansas. Coat by rag & bone.

2. Wool hat: I got to handle this beaut at the Pop Up Flea at the Wittmore booth. I fell in love and walked away. Commitment issues, man. Hat by Ian Velardi.

3.  Grey sweater: It’s the first thing I reach for when I’m packing my weekend bag. It’s the one thing I forget to dry clean, too. Sweater by S.N.S. Herning.

4. Scarf shnarf: The thing I like about scarves and accessories is that, done right, they can be the oomph that ties an outfit together. Striped woven scarf by Etro.

5. Light-to-medium-wash denim: I’ve been wearing a light-medium wash because I’m not ready to cave to winter’s dark shades and cool temps. 484 straight-leg denim by J.Crew.

6. Wallabees: One of the most comfortable pairs of shoes I own. I’ve recently converted a few others to wearing them, and these are guys who wouldn’t normally grab a pair. Not bros either—just normal dudes with normal jobs looking to not wear sneakers. Wallabee boots by Clarks.

7. Zipper wallet: Consider the zipper wallet like a pair of briefs, sometimes you just need a little more support. Wallet by Comme des Garçons.


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