By day, Alexis Nido-Russo is organizing art fairs, building relationships with corporate sponsors and connecting artists with collectors as the Chicago Artists Coalition's community partnerships manager. By night, she's running Local Eclectic, an e-commerce site she launched last year from her Ukrainian Village pad. The site gives underrepresented apparel and accessory designers, many who live in Chicago, a home to sell their wares.
Below, she shares a sampling of some of her favorite pieces on the site. All of these designs are available at localeclectic.com, plus the e-shop has an in-person event coming up. On September 12 from 3 to 7 p.m., Urban Outfitters in Oak Brook (294 Oakbrook Center) is hosting a Local Eclectic pop up where shoppers can peruse the site's best sellers while being treated to manicures by nail phenom Astrowifey.
On to the goods:
This brass bracelet with crystal and crushed pyrite is Local Eclectic's best seller, and a piece Nido-Russo personal wears on a daily basis. "It looks great with a big gold watch or stacked with a few other bracelets," Nido-Russo says.
Designer Danielle Sakry makes each of her leather and suede bags by hand in Minneapolis. "This one in particular is 100 percent reversible, so you can either have a solid black leather bucket or get a little funky with the geometric gold pattern on suede," Nido-Russo says. "I like to switch out my bags often so having a bag that's basically a two in one is a dream come true."
If Claudia Kishi had a jewelry line, this would be it. The Chicago-based designer Christina Anton of Boo + Boo Factory cuts each of her leather jewelry pieces by hand to create loud, whimiscal designs that are just plain fun. "The designer, Christina, started her career as an architect, so you'll see an architect's attention to detail in each of her pieces," Nido-Russo says.
Dana Bodourov, the designer behind the Brookly-based line Rila, casts found materials and organic shapes in recycled metals. "All of Rila's designs are inspired by nature and rooted in history," she says. "This ring was cast from a real crab claw and I think of the two turquoise stones almost as eyes."
Last month, Local Eclectic commissioned its first collaboration. Nido-Russo introduced Chicago-based visual artist Claire Ashley to accessories designer Ogechi Anyanwu of Eye of the Sun, and the pair created 50 limited-edition canvas bags for Local Eclectic. "What I love most about this collaboration is that Claire used the same paint that she uses on her inflatable sculptures," Nido-Russo says. "I love seeing how the colors translate to canvas. She painted one large piece of canvas that Ogechi cut into 50 individual bags—so each bag is one small piece of the whole, and each is unique and one of a kind."