The second floor of Betty Shabazz International Charter School felt immediately familiar. Teenagers bounced between white tiled walls, in and out of classrooms, freely running through the long halls while parents passed by cradling younger children. Chairs lined the hallway in two rows, neatly crowding and condensing audience members as they waited to be admitted into the classroom where the We Real Cool fashion show would take place. As chatter filled the remaining space in the aisle, I tried to figure out why it felt like I had been here before. Like a home that makes you feel instantly comfortable, visiting Shabazz felt like returning rather than visiting.
Kahari here, to briefly introduce y’all to the big homey Desmond “Des Money” Owusu: a native Chicagoan and fellow South Sider whose passions as a designer and photographer have led him to blessing the world with a legacy of projects that are community driven and civically minded. To say the least, Des is a pillar in the Chicago creative community and steward for many others coming up with him. While simultaneously building upon his own streetwear label “We All We Got,” Des also co-owns and runs the Fat Tiger Workshop. A Black-owned clothing boutique alongside friends and colleagues Vic Lloyd, Rello Jones, and Joe Freshgoods.
The renowned hair artist Mo G has styled some of Chicago’s most promising musical artists. Musicians like R&B singer-songwriter Ravyn Lenae and acclaimed singer and poet Jamila Woods have both been graced by her craft. Without question, Mo’s works accentuate the most captivating physical qualities of Black women— rooted in African traditions, she deliberately highlights the beauty of Black ingenuity and pays homage to the glory of the modern Black woman.
This is the second in a series spotlighting South Side clothing stores and businesses.
This is the first in a monthly series spotlighting South Side clothing stores and businesses.
When you think of shopping, you might think of visiting a traditional brick-and-mortar store, or maybe a website. But two women from South Shore have recently added a new venue to the mix with a mobile clothing boutique. Their food-truck-like boutique is replete with racks of clothing and accessories ranging from sweaters to pants to bags, as well as a changing room.
If you’re looking for a bit of “thriftspiration,” the thrift store chain Unique, owned by the Savers thrift store brand, offers high-quality, lightly-used wares (or “treasures,” as Unique employees call them) for low prices. Among the racks and shelves of donated items is a chance to find something truly distinctive. A mug made to look like a rat, a wonderful nightgown you didn’t even know you wanted, or a hat that says “You’re Grape” are just a few examples of the great finds that can make a trip to Unique so special. There are three locations on Chicago’s South Side, in Gage Park, Bridgeport, and McKinley Park, two of which are a short walk from the Orange Line.
Remember that time Rihanna went to Dubai and posed in front of a Mosque?
Diontae Davis, a nineteen-year-old Hyde Park native, is the man behind Westworkd, a fashion blog and Instagram account documenting young African-American people around Chicago. He met with the Weekly to talk about Westworkd’s origins, his inspirations, and the importance of history in his work. Davis has style himself—he came to our interview carrying a vintage gym bag and wearing a hat, tortoise shell glasses, and multiple sweaters. Davis had requested a space with no people, because he is, in his words, “pure. I talk really loud.” Well, when you have something to say, as Davis does, you may as well shout it. Continue reading