Fashion Week(end)

This weekend, the city celebrates the local fashion community with the ninth-annual Fashion Focus Chicago, a series of free runway shows held in Millennium Park today through Sunday. You had to act fast to snag a ticket to one of the events (all of the free seats are already spoken for) but fear not—what you really want to attend are these free shopping events:

Northern Grade, a traveling men’s market proffering only American-made goods (long-lasting stuff like leather boots, raw denim jeans, and waxed cotton coats) sets up shop in a tent at Millennium Park Chase Promenade South. The tent will house 30-plus vendors, including local faves like Oak Street Bootmakers, Independence, Drift Eyewear, and Glass House Shirtmakers. Shop Saturday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Just across the Bean at Chase Promenade North, more than 30 of Chicago’s apparel, jewelry, and accessory designers hawk their wares at's FashionChicago Shopping Event. It really doesn’t get more local than this. Peruse the racks Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Top Sales & Openings

If last weekend's marathon motivated you to start pounding the pavement, Nike’s new store has your name all over it. Nike Running Bucktown (1640 N. Damen Ave., 773-278-1095) is a hub for all of the brand’s running gear and techie toys. The shop features floors and walls made from reclaimed gym floors and bleachers, and the ceiling rafters are festooned with old racing bibs. The concept is part of Nike’s larger strategy to move toward category-specific retail locations, which we saw happening earlier this year with the opening of the Nike Training Club in Lincoln Park.

The Balvenie Rare Craft Roadshow stops in Chicago this week (River East Art Center, 435 E. Illinois St.). Designer Todd Snyder went on a two-year hunt for artisans dedicated to their craft before choosing the handful of makers featured at the show. You'll find original works by craftsmen like the Chicagoan Graham Thompson of Optimo Hats, Rick Kelly of Kelly Guitars (who uses reclaimed lumber to make guitars by hand), and Schirley Zisman of Golden Bear Sportswear (who designs authentic leather and wool varsity, bomber, and motorcycle jackets).

The event runs Tuesday through Thursday from 5:30 to 10 p.m., and includes whiskey tastings from Balvenie at 6:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. each day. The event is open to the public but you must RSVP here.

The Best of the Rest

  • Kids’ clothing boutique The Red Balloon holds its annual fall warehouse sale at 2125 North Damen Avenue (just down the street from its Bucktown shop) Thursday and Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • The Mag Mile Nordstrom (55 E. Grand Ave., 312-464-1515, dedicates an entire shop-in-shop to British brands Topshop and Topman. The grand opening party, hosted by local blogger Carly Cristman, runs Saturday from 1 to 4 p.m. Shoppers will be treated to touch-ups at TOPSHOP makeup stations, a swag bag for the first 100 shoppers, live music, and a special Topshop tee with purchases of over $100.
  • Friday through Sunday, shop a mix of classic vintage fashion and contemporary indie designs at Modern Vintage Chicago at Plumbers Hall (1340 W. Washington Blvd.) in the West Loop. Admission is $8 in advance or $10 at the door.
  • Missoni Home hosts its annual sale now through October 25, offering 15 percent off pillows, poufs, rugs, furniture items, and more. Find the sale at Mobili Möbel (220 W. Erie St., 312-337-3444) in River North and Stitch (1723 N. Damen Ave., 773-782-1570) in Bucktown.
  • Fine jeweler Phillips House previews its fall/winter 2013 bauble collection (average price for a piece is $1,200-$4,000) at Saks Fifth Avenue (700 N. Michigan Ave., 312-799-5211) on Thursday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Handbag designer Anthony Luciano makes a personal appearance at Neiman Marcus (737 N. Michigan Ave., 312-642-5900, on Wednesday. Luciano will showcase his collection of custom-made bags from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.