7 Local Designers You Need to Know About

Sure, you could shop for trendy contemporary pieces at your preferred department store, but it’s much more exciting to wear a one-of-a-kind piece! Each of these fabulous designers are on the cusp of what’s new and hip, and best of all, each of their handmade lines are designed and created right here on the North Shore and in Chicago. Jump on the bandwagon before everyone else does!

1. 84Rockwell

84Rockwell creates unique “belt bags” that allow you to be organized and hands-free, while still looking amazingly cool. Bridget McDermott launched her company in the fall of 2014 and in just a few months, she has been consistently selling out of the luxe leather or suede bags. The two styles on offer are the sleek “Daley Xrossover” ($395) and the funky “Gabby Fringe” ($280). The Daley can be worn three ways, has compartments for everything down to your phone, and is available in eight colors. The Gabby is a bit smaller, comes in nine colors, and is ideal for stadium events or festivals. Zippered pockets, nickel-plated hardware, and adjustable straps make 84Rockwell perfect for the woman who is constantly on the go.

Find it at: Runway (Deerfield), Juniper Boutique (Northbrook), Enaz (Highland Park, Northfield and Libertyville), VMR (Chicago) or online

Daley Xrossover, $395

2. Barbara Bates Designs

Designer Barbara Bates creates stylish dresses, slacks, suiting and t-shirts in skins like leather and python, yet it’s her high-fashion coats that she can’t keep in stock. Bates’ coats are created with consumer input and are custom designed. The leather, shearling and fabric coats are available in sizes 00 through 24, and her signature full swing coat is a consistent favorite. Prices range from $600-3,000.

Find it at: Barbara Bates Designs, 2031 S. Indiana St., Chicago, 312-808-8091 (Open Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Saturday by appointment.)


3. Danelle Designs

Highland Park friends Dana Hughes and Elliana Bondy began designing jewelry with fringed tassels, gemstones and horns in 2012. Since then, the jewelry has been worn by celebrities and the North Shore’s most fashionable alike. Perhaps you even caught Minnie Driver sporting Danelle Designs recently on NBC’s “About a Boy.” The Bohemian chic necklaces look great layered or stand out on their own. The best-selling leather tassel necklaces come in three different sizes. The line ranges in price from $65-195.

Find it at: Enaz (Highland Park, Northfield and Libertyville), Just Between Friends (Deerfield), Juniper Boutique (Northbrook) and Art Effect (Chicago)


4. Voyeur by Vex

Park Ridge native Laura Petrielli-Pulice was the first runner up on Bravo’s “Styled to Rock,” created many of the costumes on Lady Gaga’s most recent artRave tour, and designed the jacket Bjork is rocking on her latest tour. Petrielli-Pulice’s Voyeur by Vex (the sister to her original line, Vex) is a bold and innovative clothing and accessories line that blends latex with traditional fabrics. A current best-seller is the Mane Collar, a necklace made of steel rope chain maille with sterling silver cones and hand-cut, peacock blue latex tassel ($240). This piece will make any outfit a lot more interesting! In addition to shopping the line at the showroom or website, Petrielli-Pulice also does custom designs by appointment.

Find it at: Petrielli-Pulice’s showroom inside Loree’s Closet or online


5. ROXoxox

Back in 2007, friends Lisa and Lise were designing unique jewelry for themselves and wearing their pieces around town. When people started asking where they could purchase the jewels for themselves, a business was born. Each one-of-a-kind piece is derived of various types of gemstones, limited edition leathers or unexpected closures. Best-sellers include the Willow ROX necklace ($265) comprised of leather, sterling silver, 14K gold-filled chains and gemstones, in addition to the Island ROX wrap bracelets, available in a thin or thick version ($98-156). Prices range from $32-450.

Find it at: E Street Denim (Highland Park) and Runway (Deerfield)


6. Monica + Andy

Siblings Andy Dunn and Monica Royer first launched children’s clothing line Monica + Andy online in 2013 and then opened a brick-and-mortar boutique in Lincoln Park in November 2014. After having her own daughter, Royer wanted to find stylish baby clothing that was made with ultra-soft, durable fabrics that were free of lead, phthalates and flame retardants (sizes go from preemie up to 4T). For baby, the organic kimono onesies ($28), muslin blankets ($65) and hospital boxes ($87-105) are favorites. For toddlers, best-sellers include the tulle dress ($58) and unisex organic Hemingway sweater ($55). We love the organic hospital boxes—the perfect gift for the new mom, which includes all the essentials from a printed blanket to newborn outfits.

Find it at: Monica + Andy, 2038 N. Halsted St., Chicago, 773-697-7968 or online


7. Samantha Goldberg Jewelry

You’ll definitely get stopped when wearing one of Samantha Goldberg’s highly artistic pieces, which combine old-world silversmithing techniques with natural rock formations. For the past nine years, Goldberg has apprenticed under one of Chicago’s last remaining master silversmiths, and continues to learn craft and design from him today. She also collaborates with a lapidary artist to design custom-cut pieces of druzy quartz (druzy is the term that describes the glittering effect of tiny crystals over the top of a colorful mineral), adapting them to her specifications—the more unique, the better. The edgy carved skull ring ($200) has been a local hit while the black quartz with platinum druzy circle pendants ($225-850) will make any outfit a head-turner.

Find it at: Material Possessions (Chicago and Winnetka)


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