Coming back to the Merchandise Mart in the River North neighborhood, from January 24-26, 2016, STYLEMAX hosts it’s first segment of the new year with a revamped show floor, new exhibitors, and an expanded life & style section. Some prominent themes shown above: nature and travel prints, metallics, reimagined eyewear, and black of course!
Sipping my latte at the People’s Project LA sponsored lounge within the show floor. I’m only noticing these slight difference from the show in October. Coming up this April, STYLEMAX hosts in semi-annual show with Exclusive-In exhibitors, while the January show is smaller and only serves as a precursor. Shown accessories consisted of necklaces from Elk, a minimalist line from Australia, metallic Samoe purse collection, organic blouse from Soulflower, and eyewear from Midwest-based Freyrs.
On Sunday, the show provided cupcakes from the local Sweet Mandy B’s bake shop in Lincoln Park, as buyers and trade guests browsed the baby and children’s section of the show floor. I’m loving the new trends and collections in children’s clothing, like Mini Molly, with a contemporary women’s component, that really takes a sophisticated look for the modern women and revamps the style for children, starting at size four.
Surprised to see the most adorable collection of jelly shoes and boots from Melissa’s the scented shoe collection found in women’s clothing boutiques, and now featuring children’s themes like animals and Disney characters!
Speaking of scents, one of the permanent showrooms of the Merchandise Mart featured Jacadi, an alcohol free and hypoallergenic fragrance for children, developed in France. When I noticed these bottles, it seemed like this would a perfume for new mothers, perhaps those who are nursing and concerned about introducing fragrances around their children. I’m also loving the sustainable clothing and prints from Go Gently Baby, also featured during the show back in October, made in the states, completely organic, and eco-friendly, for children three months to eight years.
Baby Noomie features the cutest prints, similar to Go Gently Baby, but it’s made from 100% pima cotton, with baby layette and accessory lines for boys and girls three months to two years. I’m most content about the high-tops trend sweeping through the children’s shoe industry, as noted by Australian shoe company Old Soles, featuring soft baby leather shoes! I love them mostly because of how stylish they look, especially the metallic soft leather, but they also protect the foot with full coverage without the constriction of a boot, and offer more ankle support than walking or gym shoes. Their baby moccasins are unique, as they feature a rubber split-sole similar to ballet flats and this adds to the comfort and flexibility, also better for posture.
When standing in line for a latte, and a good one made with Lavazza, it makes sense to discover clothing lines like Beyond Yoga, based out of Culver City and slowly welcoming into the Windy City market, starting with exposure from Stylemax. This line currently distributes to the Los Angeles area mostly, and at fitness studios like Pure Barre and newly welcomed into Yoga Six. No offense to this brand or people that wear, but as I’m slipping out of my X-Small pants, I could care less if overweight models are wearing, not the slightest. There are plenty of “real world” people that look much better than over-inflated Hollywood folks.
Compared to popular brands of yoga clothing, Beyond Yoga features sustainable fabrics that wick away moisture and are very conducive to active lifestyles of young women! Per suggestion of their Vice President of sales, “you can even wear them to bed” since the material is so soft and delicate, similar to the feel of bamboo. Only this company no longer employs bamboo, as supposedly it disrupts the bamboo tree’s natural habitat, even though bamboo is thought to be one of the most sustainable materials for fabric, as the plant naturally grows back the parts that have been harvested!
Beauty producers found in the Life + Style sections consisted of apothecary lines like Tocca found at higher-end spots like Barneys and the Waldorf Spa, Paddywax Candle Co., Barr Co. found at their apothecary on Southport, loving blackberry absinthe Illume Candles, and Skeem Design, all lovely scented and impeccably well-made. Sweet Emotions, an indie maker based in the midwest offers bath products and essential oils, similar to those by makers of the Renegade Craft Fair, and I took home one of their scents to try, “fifty shades” of course for the name itself.
Sweet Emotions produces men’s lifestyle products in their “man cave” section and I’m amused at how men’s skincare still receives special attention like it’s a foreign concept; men need self-care, obviously! I dabbled with some of their men’s scents like Dhakkar, and spoke with the founder about Oud, how the essence of Oud trees is become a scarce natural resource!
On Monday, guests enjoyed hot chocolate sponsored by Nick’s Fishmarket and Grill within the Merchandise Mart in efforts to promote their restaurant for Restaurant Week. I would have preferred a few shots of espresso in mine, yet enjoyed this treat nonetheless. To the benefit of guests and exhibitors, STYLEMAX provides many amenities throughout the show floor, like coffee in the morning and an espresso bar in the afternoon!
So many of these vendors come from the West Coast, specifically from the garment district of Los Angeles downtown. I’m loving the super soft maxi dresses and prints from Groceries Apparel and the POL Collection, “boho chic.” These lines both stock comfortable fitting fabrics in subtle neutral colors and prints, like the sand and black tree print shown above. Olive + Oak and Riller & Fount also produce neutral patterns with unique cuts and styles, more urban and slightly thicker fabrics.
Loving the color story and themes from Chaser, subtle neutrals and grey. I’m sure everyone needs this “healing in progress” blouse from BLVD, also West Coast based, as we’re continually healing from life’s ailments, whether it be spiritual or otherwise! Hem & Thread produces youthful outfits like the lilac jumper that opens up and crosses in the back, while Endless Rose offers the on-trend sand and black color combinations for the upcoming Spring season, like the printed skirt shown above.
Thank you so much to STYLEMAX for press tickets to your show and sponsoring vendors, for detailed coverage by Oak Lovely Beauty!