When you think “Ann Taylor,” you probably don’t think “street art,” but Ann Taylor’s hipper, younger brand, LOFT, is hoping to change all that. A new collaboration with Chicago-educated, Brooklyn-based artist Chris Uphues infuses a little graffiti into the hip but buttoned-up workwear brand, and the artist himself will be popping into the Michigan Avenue LOFT this week to perform a live art installation.
While wandering around Brooklyn, the design team for LOFT kept noticing whimsical, brightly-colored graffiti hearts sprinkled around the neighborhood and popping up on their friends’ Instagram feeds. Intrigued, they began to search for the creator, who turned out to be a pal of LOFT’s editorial director, and it wasn’t long before a fashion collaboration was born.
Uphues, an Art Institute grad who draws inspiration from pop imagery and junk drawers, designed a line of limited-edition t-shirts featuring his signature graffiti hearts (spoiler alert: the hearts have smiley faces and they’re precious). And LOFT’s spring 2015 collection is taking a more art-focused turn, too; it will feature a abstract print called Bedrock and a watercolor-inspired sweater, both of which the brand feels are particularly design-oriented.
On February 3, Uphues is coming back to his native Chicago to perform a live art installation at LOFT on Michigan Avenue (664 N. Michigan Ave., loft.com). He’ll be starting at 11 a.m. and finishing some time in the evening. In addition, the Michigan Avenue LOFT will be one of only four stores the US to sell limited edition T-shirts by Uphues (priced at $29.50). If you’re street art-savvy, stop by.