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Pilsen Designers Say Men's Accessories are Where It's At

By Chloe Riley | February 25, 2013 6:09am

PILSEN — Local designer Redgi Woods said Chicago men crave accessories.

Though some of them might not know it yet.

"Men want little trinkets too," he said. "Straight men, gay men — they all want fashion."

Woods, who designs under the line ReFINDefined, attended Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in New York on Feb. 7.

"Men's fashion is definitely where it is right now. Men have a voice and they don't want to be safe anymore," Woods said.

Woods said layering, black leather and jewelry accessories were all over New York's runways. And in response to the styles he saw, Woods created customized brooches and pocket handkerchiefs.

Designed for men who don't have much time for fashion, the handkerchiefs are pre-sewn to keep their intricate fold and the brooches can be pinned to a lapel to add sophistication on the fly.

Chicago Designer Stephen Curd showed his line for GaricStephens at New York's Fashion Week.

Curd said floppy hats, "manbags" and even shoes with a heel dominated men's fashion in New York. 

"New York is obviously head of the game," he said. "It's kind of like this gender-bending look for men and for women, which is something I've been working on for the past couple of years."

Curd, 28, started his line in 2006, but only opened his Lacuna Lofts boutique in Pilsen last year.

While he said he doesn't think Chicago men are necessarily ready for heels, he said another trend — pops of color — might be just what the Midwest man ordered.

Soon colors like "mint green and ox blood" could be dotting the fashionable Chicago male's wardrobe, Curd said.

"It's really just giving you kind of a little bit more to the eye, and I could see that trickling into Chicago, too," he said.

Redgi Woods, who attended shows of big-name designers such as Diane von Furstenberg and Betsey Johnson, said he thinks it's the underground shows that really tap into the pulse of true fashion.

It's that same edginess that he hopes will catch on among Chicago men.

"I want men to dress like gentlemen," he said.

To set up a consultation with Woods, email him at imaginefashions@gmail.com. or stop by the Greenhouse Collective Gallery for his Pilsen 2nd Fridays fashion party.

Stephen Curd can be reached for consultation by visiting his website, garicstephens.com.