Christine Chaney: Best Emerging Designer

FROM THE PRINT EDITION |
 
 

The line: “I want my line to be timeless, but almost separate from ‘fashion’ per se, which can tend to revolve around trends and seasons,” says Chaney of her creatively crafted scarf frocks with sly peekaboo panels and asymmetrical hemming, cozy crochet sweaters and avant-garde coats made from army surplus wool blankets. “I want to create clothing that women live in and love; a piece that transcends a time frame.”

Creative spark: “I’m inspired by the way fabric moves and how it moves on a woman’s body,” says the Judkins Park-based designer, who started her clothing line in 2008. “I love how garments can shift and change on the form.” The 47-year-old Chaney, who is an architectural designer by day, crochet artist and self-taught designer by night, draws heavily from her architectural background, citing both the physics of construction and recycled fabrics as jumping-off points for her designs. “I use upcycle materials like scarves, not only because I find them beautiful, but because I’m inspired by the idea of rehabbing something for a second use. Even in architecture I’m more into old buildings that are given new life than new construction.”

Her muse: “Somebody once said that the definition of ‘beauty’ is a confident woman. I want to give women something beyond clothing; I want to give them power. With a lot of clothing, there isn’t a lot of mystery left, it can be like a second skin, it’s so tight. There is a sensual nature in my clothing, an obvious nakedness there, that gives you a sexy vibe without baring all.”

Biggest fashion faux pas: “I had this double-breasted, turquoise, fringed leather jacket in the ’80s—and I’m not even done describing it. It also had bat-wing sleeves, a tuxedo waist, and I wore it with these turquoise-silver lamé Hammer-style pants along with turquoise fringed sandals.”

How personal style influences her designs: “I like to layer as few things as possible, but present them powerfully—both in my designs and my own wardrobe. I have a mantra for presentations: I always sport a killer ring, one added piece of interest and then pop on my glasses. Done.”

Line: 3C: christine Chaneyclothing

Find it: Velouria in Ballard (2205 NW Market St.; 206.788.0330; shopvelouria.tripod.com), or christinechaneycreative.com

Clothing from left to right: Cotton/linen/rayon blend bat-wing cowl neck crochet sweater over flapper-style vintage scarf dress. Chaney wears her own design, a parachute-style vintage scarf dress; necklace, skinny jeans and wedges are her own. Surplus army blanket (“SAB”) wool coat with built-in muff, vintage nautical latch and wallet pocket, layered over Peruvian wool crochet vest and parachute-style vintage scarf dress. Crocheted bat-wing silk-wool sweater layered over hand-dyed apron-style vintage scarf dress and crinkled hand-dyed slip dress.

 

Nordstrom's Retail Therapy: Shopping for Change

Nordstrom's Retail Therapy: Shopping for Change

Nordstrom is more than just a department store; for many, it’s also a flagship of progressive Seattle values. (Oh, and there’s a sale this weekend)
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Seattle's flagship Nordstrom department store

For many Seattleites and their families, a visit to Nordstrom is not the average shopping trip. It’s often an all-day affair, rife with game plans, important decisions and breaks for meals (and cocktails), much like a visit to Grandma’s. Indeed, a trip to “Nordy’s” is a cherished family tradition in line with the family focus of the company, still run with the help of a fourth generation of Nordstroms.  

Despite its success and national expansion, the Seattle-based luxury retailer still operates very much like a small business, and is beloved for its customer-focused business model. Shoppers can count on excellent service from well-commissioned sales reps (including on-site personal stylists), the most forgiving of return policies (the one rule of Nordstrom’s return policy is there is no return policy), a plethora of sizes and styles and sales galore. Not to mention in-store amenities like its signature café and cocktail bar. Best of all, the store always waits until after Thanksgiving to put up holiday decorations. (Anyone for a Nordstrom-based remake of Where the Heart Is? Anyone? No?)

Earlier this month, when the company dropped Ivanka Trump’s line of shoes and handbags from its inventory (a decision the retailer cited was due to poor sales), many viewed it as a testament to Nordstrom’s promise to put family first, and a nod to its founder, John W. Nordstrom, who himself immigrated to the U.S. from Sweden in 1887, when he was just 16.

Progressive Seattleites rallied further when this company memo followed Trump’s executive order to temporarily bar citizens from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the U.S., a portion of which reads: “We currently employ more than 76,000 people who comprise different races, ethnicities and genders. We literally have thousands of employees who are first and second generation immigrants. Every one of your unique qualities brings a richness that allows us to better reflect and serve the multi-cultured communities we’re a part of.”

Despite a Twitter backlash from Ivanka’s commander-in-chief dad, Nordstrom’s shares continue to climb, and shoppers across the nation have publically ramped up their support of the department store.

Did we mention there’s a sale this weekend? Nordstrom’s first sale of the year, the Nordstrom Winter Sale, starts today in stores and online and runs through February 26th. Take up to 40% off your favorite styles for men, women and kids.

Grab your family and friends and keep the tradition going—and, as Nordstrom’s slogan reminds us, don’t be afraid to reinvent yourself.