UKRAINIAN VILLAGE — Though it's hard to think about the impending winter and swapping out shorts for jeans and leather coats, the owner of a new Ukrainian Village shop that specializes in both of those vintage threads is trying to get the word out to Wicker Park bargain hunters willing to head a bit south.
"People are shocked by the prices when they come in; they are expecting it to be boutique-y. We can afford to not charge Wicker Park prices on Chicago Avenue because our rents here are less," said Mark Reed, who co-owns L.L.L. Chicago with his life and business partner Amanda Sidell.
Standing for Levi's, Leather and Love, L.L.L. Chicago, just east of the Chicago and Damen avenues intersection, took over the shuttered Vigilante Press' comic book store at 1931 W. Chicago Ave. in mid-June and is gearing up for its first fall and winter season.
Reed — who previously sold luxury cars before making the leap to becoming an independent retailer — prefers to call used vintage jeans and clothes "pre-driven" or "pre-worn." And the Englishman, who stands 6-foot-5 and claims when he moved to the United States 30 years ago he pretty much could only fit into Levi's, loves the brand so much that he strictly sells Levi's.
"It's one of those iconic American brands that real people wear. The jeans are original and well made and never go out of style," Reed said.
The store offers used Levi's jeans for women, men and kids in hundreds of styles, starting at $20. There are also several racks of leather jackets, belt buckles, belts, shirts and tops, such as Western-style long-sleeved shirt with faux leather patches from 1972, featured on L.L.L Chicago's Facebook page.
The third "L" in the shop's name stands for "the passion you have for the little stuff you love," Reed said.
The little stuff includes artwork by Sidell, who paints on old windows and frames, as well as mosaics, jewelry, candles poured into teacups and accessories like purses and sunglasses.
Priced around $15-$20, the sunglasses at L.L.L. Chicago cost half of what some of the stores in Wicker Park are charging for the same brands, Reed said.
Motioning to a pair of cat-eye style glasses priced at $18, Reed said on Friday that a shopper had just come in and told him that she'd paid $38 for the same pair at a store on Milwaukee Avenue in Wicker Park.
"She bought mine and said she was going to go back and return the pair she got there," Reed said, adding, "Our goal is to make our clothes and accessories affordable to everyone."
L.L.L. Chicago, 1931 W. Chicago Ave. Hours are 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday-Wednesday and Friday; noon to 10 p.m. Thursday; 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday- Sunday. Ph: 312-733-1111.
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