It’s two weeks until the opening, and DJ Jeff Mills-the father of minimal techno, whose international appearances can draw upwards of 20,000 fans-is hastily unpacking a shipment of shirts for his Division Street boutique. “We’re still waiting on most of the men’s spring collection to arrive,” says Mills, 43, whose shop resembles a tiny underground dance club-if clubs were decorated with racks of cutting-edge garments.
Co-run by his wife, Yoko Uozumi, a former Sony Music executive, Gamma Player (2035 W. Division St.; 773-235-0755) isn’t such a far cry from the music industry the couple have inhabited for more than a decade. “[Opening a shop] came naturally since both of us like fashion, we do lots of shopping, and we travel often,” says Uozumi, 42, who moved to Chicago six years ago. (The couple now divide their time between Lake View, Paris, and Berlin’s Mitte neighborhood.)
The name Gamma Player references one of Mills’s tracks from the mid-nineties and means, by his own definition, “cosmic adventurer” or “risktaker.” Those phrases could also apply to its selection of mostly Chicago exclusives, from the silk blouse dipped 30 times in sweet-potato paste by France’s Les Racines du Ciel to precision-tailored dress shirts from the Turkish line BiL’s White. Books and music reflect a new theme each season; spring/summer is “the universe by night.”
“Making music, you’re putting together a prescription with certain instruments for someone to digest,” Mills says. “Here, we’re putting together collections for people to wear. It’s pretty much the same thing. You have to know where people are going and provide things for them to use on their journey.”