BUCKTOWN — Self-taught fashion designer and Von Z shop co-owner Jenna Zielbauer said she's closing the boutique she started with her husband nearly a year ago to focus on their new clothing line, which will soon fill the store in the form of a pop-up shop.
Casual Friday, a line of graphic T-shirts and other casual wear items designed by Zielbauer, will open in the old Von Z storefront at 1872 N. Damen Ave. as a temporary shop from May 13 through July 26, she said. Von Z will be closing the weekend of May 9.
She and her husband, Patrick Zielbauer, who is managing the new venture with her, will have to decide where the pop-up shop and clothing line will go from there. She said she may end up keeping future locations a surprise up until each opening.
The Lakeview couple opened Von Z last summer and sought to fill it with a number of "attainable" but stylish clothes.
Jenna Zielbauer, who studied fashion merchandising and calls herself a self-taught designer, said she thought of the idea for her line in January as she worked at the boutique and picked out brands for the store.
"I saw that there was a need for graphic tees that are fashionable and still trendy, but you can be casual," she said.
She quickly got to work with a pattern maker to produce two shipments, and soon retail shops across the country were carrying her brand. She also sells her tees through the Casual Friday website.
"It’s taken off in ways I never thought it could," she said.
Closing Von Z will allow her to focus on the line, which she expects to continue growing, she said.
It's her second fashion line, preceded by Cotton Candy Couture, which started out as a line of dresses but became more casual as she saw a greater demand for T-shirts and the like, she said.
Until Von Z shutters, the store is offering 40 percent off all items and will potentially have more discounts as the date approaches.
"Having Von Z, it opened my doors to where I am today," Jenna Zielbauer said. "The idea of being able to focus on many, many more retail locations makes me very excited."
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