Knowing she wanted to spend her life designing clothes, Shernett Swaby (her last name rhymes with baby) launched her first collection, a line of underwear for men and women, at age 19. “I did it as a way to make money to create the stuff I wanted,” she says. Within a year, the underwear sold in more than 30 stores, enabling the Canadian designer to expand her brand and open her first namesake boutique in her early 20s. Two more boutiques followed, but shortly after she moved to Chicago with her husband this past spring Swaby decided to close the Toronto-based shops and focus on a store here. Swaby (1933 N. Damen Ave.; 773-276-7645, shernettswaby.com) opened August 25th in Bucktown. Currently a one-woman-show, Swaby designs and sews each top, bottom, dress, and accessory by hand in the back of the shop. “I’m here working every day. It’s my studio,” she says. Bucking industry convention, Swaby doesn’t phase out styles after a single season. “I don’t want to put seasons or dates on anything,” she says. “I hate feeling that something goes out of style.” If a certain piece is not in stock, Swaby will work on it over night and have it available the next day. Bottoms, tops, and accessories from the basic collection, such as the two-piece snap suspender belt, are each $100. The couture lines—which run from $500 to $5,000 per piece—include a cowl-neck flower dress from the ribbon collection ($1,289), a long-sleeve jacket with silk lining from the strap collection ($1,524), and gray skinny pants that adjust to different leg lengths from the new bullet pleat collection ($1,029). Swaby wallets, clutches, purses, and bags are also available from $100 to $500.
Top Sales This Week
Modern Vintage Chicago (312-666-1200, modernvintagechicago.com) holds its Fall Fashion and Jewels Explosion with a Vintage Dealers Show and Indie Designer Show on Saturday, October 17th from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Sunday October 18th from 12 to 5 p.m., on the second floor at 30 North Racine Avenue. A benefit shopping pre-party on Friday, October 16th from 6 to 9 p.m., held to benefit the Chicago Fashion Foundation (chicagofashionfoundation.com), features drinks, music, and fashion. Advance-sale tickets, $8, and admission to the pre-party, $25, can be purchased at modernvintagechicago.com. General admission is $10 at the door.
Maureen Fagan of Simple Treasure Jewelry (simpletreasure.com) hosts a girls’ night out event featuring clothing, jewelry, stationery, and other items by local designers as well as light appetizers and a cash bar on Friday, October 23rd from 5 to 11 p.m., at E.G. Simpson Club House (7400 Lake Katherine Dr., Palos Heights). For more information, contact Fagan at firstname.lastname@example.org. A portion of the event’s proceeds goes to the Art Garden of Palos Heights.
Nolcha (nolcha.com), an advocate of independent fashion designers from around the world, kicks off its independent retail week on Monday, October 19th. The weeklong event, through Sunday, October 25th, features discounts and exclusives from selected locally owned boutiques. For a full list of participants and more information, visit independentretailweek.com.
The Best of the Rest
- Radiance Fine Jewelry (2139 N. Damen Ave.; 773-486-5710, radiancefinejewelry.com), Larkspur (2123 N. Damen Ave.; 773-489-2898, larkspurchicago.com), Virtu (2034 N. Damen Ave.; 773-235-3790, virtuchicago.com), and Crosell & Co. (1922 N. Damen Ave.; 773-252-9010, crosellandco.com) participate in the Bucktown bridal walk on Saturday, October 17th from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Each shop offers exclusives—such as trunk shows and discounts—throughout the event. RSVP required; e-mail email@example.com or call 773-486-5710.
- For its four-year anniversary, BiancaRose (108 W. 2nd St., Elmhurst; 630-832-3016, biancaroseshoes.com) holds FashionPaLooza with 20 percent off any one item and a free gift with purchase, Thursday, October 15th and Friday, October 16th. A party on Thursday from 6 to 9 p.m. also features wine, food, and live music.
- À Pied (2037 W. Roscoe St.; 773-281-2210, apiedshoeboutique.com) holds a Frye boots-and-shoes trunk show with wine, appetizers, desserts, and a giveaway, Friday, October 16th from 5 to 9 p.m. Guests receive a $50 gift certificate with any Frye boot purchase.
- To benefit the Alexian Brothers Cancer Institute, the Arboretum of South Barrington (100 W. Higgins Rd., South Barrington; 847-426-6200, shopthearboretumsb.com) hosts a ladies’ night out shopping event on Thursday, October 15th from 6 to 9 p.m. The “Shop and Sip” passport gets you exclusive deals at Arboretum shops, including drinks, appetizers, and live music at L’Eiffel Bistrot & Creperie (100 W. Higgins Rd., South Barrington; 847-428-4783, leiffelbistrot.com). Tickets are $20 in advance at shopthearboretumsb.com or $30 at L’Eiffel Bistrot & Creperie on the day of the event.
- Gem (1710 N. Damen Ave.; 773-384-7700, gemjewelryboutique.com) celebrates five years with wine, food, live jazz, and a 20 percent discount storewide on October 14th. Continue to save on merchandise through October 18th.
- Akira (866-477-2299, shop.akirachicago.com) expands with two new Lincoln Park locations. Look for the third Akira Footwear at 668 West Diversey Parkway and the second Akira Men at 662 West Diversey Parkway.
- Enjoy fall fashions from Kate Boggiano (kateboggiano.com) and Crescendo Apparel (crescendoapparel.com) as well as hors d’oeuvres and drinks at Sutton Place hotel (21 E. Bellevue Pl.; 312-266-2100, suttonplace.com) Wednesday, October 14th from 6 to 9 p.m.
- Building Blocks Toy Store (3306 N. Lincoln Ave.; 773-525-6200, buildingblockstoys.com) in Lake View celebrates its 13-year anniversary, Friday, October 16th through Sunday, October 18th.
- Mention savings code HS1237 to receive $10 off a $50 purchase, $20 off a $100 purchase, or $30 off a $150 purchase at House of Sole (1237 S. Michigan Ave.; 312-834-0909, houseofsole.net) Friday, October 16th through Sunday, October 18th.
- The Arlington Park Racetrack (2200 W. Euclid Ave., Arlington Heights; 847-385-7500) holds its fall antique show and sale with more than 150 dealers of antiques, collectibles, and jewelry, Friday, October 16th through Sunday, October 18th. Admission is $8.
- For Breast Cancer Awareness month, Trousseau Lingerie and Swim (3543 N. Southport Ave.; 773-472-2727) hosts a Pink Party with drinks and snacks on Thursday, October 15 from 5 to 8 p.m. All guests have the chance to win a private party at the boutique, and those who purchase the “Bright Pink” bra receive a free gift. A portion of the event’s proceeds go to Bright Pink (bebrightpink.org).
- Along Lake Street and Oak Park Avenue in Oak Park, the Avenue Business District’s annual harvest sidewalk sale features discounts, entertainment, and more, starting at 10 a.m. on Saturday, October 17th and Sunday, October 18th.
- Macy’s (111 N. State St., 2nd floor; 312-781-4884) holds a men’s night with music, drinks, snacks, and fashion, Thursday, October 15th from 5 to 8 p.m. Guests receive 20 percent off men’s clothing and 15 percent off men’s shoes. Those who spend at least $100 also receive a $20 gift certificate for a future purchase. Macy’s (for locations, macys.com) also holds its annual Shop for a Cause event on Saturday, October 17th. Purchase a $5 shopping pass from a participating non-profit organization for storewide discounts.
- Luxury perfume creator Francis Kurkdjian debuts his new collection of bubbles, laundry wash, and more at Neiman Marcus (737 N. Michigan Ave., 1st floor; 312-694-4042, neimanmarcus.com), on Thursday, October 15th from 3 to 5 p.m. Neiman Marcus is one of the three shops in the nation to carry the line.
- Lynn Sage Cancer Research Foundation (lynnsage.org) and Carson Pirie Scott (for locations, carsons.com) host their 2009 benefit luncheon in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness month on Friday October 16th at 11 a.m., in the Ritz-Carlton Hotel (160 E. Pearson St.). The luncheon features actress Bonnie Hunt as the keynote speaker and a silent auction with items from high-end boutiques. Proceeds go to breast cancer–related research at Northwestern Memorial Hospital and Northwestern University’s Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center. For tickets, $150 to $250, call 312-926-7133.
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