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.

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

#Menswear Daddy Diaper Bags

October 3, 2013

We’re proud to announce a few things today.

One being that we posted two days in row on this glorious week in 2013. And the other in that we are bringing on not one, not two, not three, but count ‘em FOUR new dudes on board. We’re stoked to announce one of the first guys: Jonathan O’Reilly.

Jonathan is a denizen of our beloved Northland in Kansas City, and he’s an all-around stand-up guy who’s actually got his ducks in a row. He is first and foremost a husband and a new dad. Everything else he does sort of pales in comparison.

However, if you were to get a sneak peak into his week, it could include: absorbing anything Bill Simmons writes, podcasts, or tweets; listening to and creating mad Spotify lists (but going private when listening to Miley); trying to be active and stuff, but failing mostly; and also hoping to one day live in a city that houses an NBA squad (looking at you Sprint Center!)

So, all of our posts that justify buying things that are oh-so-damn expensive and precious that we’ll probably, definitely, maybe pass them down to our kids are meaningless now that there’s a real dad here. We’ll still try to make those justifications. We’re excited to have you, Jonathan! Welcome.


I say a word, you tell me what comes to mind: Pregnant.

Depending on what your angle is, it’s a word that can conjure a host of emotions. I realize given the context of this site, this may seem a little “off-topic” but just relax, pop a brew, and keep reading. If you’re like me, and I know there are a few honest ones out there, I experienced a couple initial reactions when my wife broke the news that we would be expecting our first little bun in the oven. The first being a sense of, “Well, I guess they were right: s + e = x.”

And the second: “So, does this mean I get to buy a new bag, you know, like my own bag for diapers and whatever else you’re supposed to throw in there?” Needless to say, my wife was less than amused, but not at all surprised. Outside of a few dude diaper bag sites, I found the market for dads who want a sharp looking diaper bag to be pretty slim. So, though there are few of us, we’ll stand united.

I found three great options in a number of price points. Here were my requirements:

  • Pockets (‘Cause, you know, more pockets are better than less pockets.)
  • Durable (‘Cause, well, you might need it for more than one little minion.)
  • Versatile (‘Cause, you know, you may have to use that excuse with the missus: “I can use it as a gym bag and stuff…”)
  • And, of course, it has to look sharp (But, you know this; otherwise you wouldn’t be here.)

Splurge buy: $100 & above (top row left to right)

  • *Lifestyle bag ($174) by SoYoung from Amazon, “Edmund” backpack ($298) by Sandqvst from Need Supply and Gamebag messenger ($285) by Filson.

Budget buy: $100 & under (bottom row left to right)

  • Walton Weekender ($99) by Herschel from Zappos, Snap backpack ($65) by Everlane and “Abingdon” waxed cotton-canvas and leather messenger bag ($98) by J.Crew.

Oh by the way, if you’re reading this because you and your significant other are expecting, a congrats is in order.
It will change your life for the better. Just remember: You’ll get to sleep again…someday.

*But this is actually a diaper bag.

Where The Hell Have We Been?

October 2, 2013
Do you remember when Hanson went off the grid for like a decade? But when they came back they looked like men, had wives and started their own brewing company?


Well that wasn’t the case for us, but we’re pretty inspired by what the Hanson brothers have done, regardless. When we for-real fall of the grid again one day (like next month), we’ll hopefully pop back up with a lake house, a superfluous automobiles and everything else that gets the Tumblrs tumblin’.


Until then like any “no-please-don’t” sequel, we’ll hop back on the horse and sally forth. And much like a sequel—or worse, a prequel— we’ve refocused our direction, and we’ve even got a few new faces in the cast of characters, whom we’ll introduce in the coming days. Let’s hope we last longer than the Fast & Furious series. Stay tuned!


In the meantime, allow us to reintroduce ourselves.


Jeffrey hopped states again and transplanted his way to New York, last we heard. He wound up in advertising, writing and creating for The Man, and now works on Park Avenue in a big building marketing things you need to be happy. Hooray commercialization!

He’s been on a blazer kick and has avoided wearing denim lately. But don’t worry—he still holds his grudge against cream khakis from his steadfast high school days at Best Buy.  He now opts for avocado toast over donuts. He’s also planning on running another marathon this year. X3, baby!




Cam spent the better part of the past year studying for the last of his collegiate exams, drinking High Life (champagne of beers, y’all), and not shaving. Now a loud and proud graduate of the University of Missouri, Cameron passes his days in Kansas City, working for a clothing brand and eating too much Mexican food.

His wardrobe has slowly evolved into a grayscale collection of American-made basics: tees, sweatshirts, and button-downs. He retains his affection for “heritage’ heavy-weight denim, and Red Wings, but sneakers and technical outerwear are never out of reach. Old school meets new school…or something like that.



Seth has been gallivanting across the east and southwest U.S. and starting more side projects than he can reasonably manage. Continuing to hold down the fort in Chicago, he’s still writing for magazines and has recently begun coaching high school soccer.

Much like his drinking habits, Seth’s wardrobe is completely governed by the whims of Chicago’s increasingly unpredictable weather. Now that fall is around the corner, he’s more than likely clad in navy—in the form of heavy denim (ugh, so much denim!) and thick fishermen sweaters. In other seasons, however, he has taken a page from Jeff and embraced loud colors and short shorts.

Tom Ford’s Essentials or Whatever

September 4, 2013

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?

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