SOUTH LOOP — With beer, hot dogs and live music, this weekend's South Loop street festival would seem like any other — if it weren't for the 100-foot runway.
"Fashion in the Street" is Chicago's first and only fashion street fest, said the show's producer Benjamin Cottrell. It's now in its second year.
"The idea was to close down a downtown street and put a 100-foot runway down the middle of it," he said. Designers included in the runway show include Barbara Bates, J. TOOR, E.Kaye Cove, GIDI, Gabrielle Zwick, True Blessyn and Caroline Borucki.
The fest — in its second year — begins at noon and goes through 10 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, with fashion shows featuring runway models taking place every two hours.
"We're really excited for the evening shows," Cottrell said, as dozens of people gathered around the catwalk to take pictures Saturday afternoon.
The event is meant to "break down barriers" between high fashion and the public, as you don't your name "on a posh 'Guest List,'" to get in, according to the organizer's website. Admission is free, but a $5 donation is suggested.
Twenty-three local clothes and accessories vendors lined South Dearborn Street from West Harrison Street to West Polk Street to sell their stylish wears Saturday afternoon.
Lincoln Park's Langford Market was on scene to offer "funky" contemporary women's clothing.
Store manager Danielle Henry said bright colors and sheer materials are popular this season.
Tiny fashionista Rachel Schattler, 7, stopped by the street fest after her ballet recital to get some inspiration.
"This gives her some sense of style," her mother Amelia said.
Dressed in a pink, floor-length floral dress, Rachel, who lives in the South Loop, said she loves dresses and bright colors, and hopes to work in fashion someday.
Susie Ohde, of the South Loop Neighbors Association, said the event brought a younger crowd to the generally "older neighborhood."
"For the most part, everyone has been really having fun," she said, adding that she could see how some might not be happy with the street music.
"But it's not heavy metal or anything," she said, laughing. "It's just fashion."
Two curious South Loop neighbors stepped outside their doors to find fashion in their street Saturday afternoon.
"We had no friggin' idea. We were amazed," said Helen Kaplow, who could see the stage being set up from her apartment window. "It's a wonderful thing. I like when they bring cool things to the South Loop."
"It's very Miami beach," said Martin Kennedy, who stepped out of his office at Castle Keepers Realty on Dearborn Street.
Kennedy said he preferred the music over traffic along Dearborn.
"Anytime you can bring together people with live music, food and runway models, it's a great time," he said.