New to the E-Scene

Lately it seems I hear about a new fashion e-commerce site all the time. Some are misses, but there are a few that I really love — Of a Kind and True&Co. come to mind right away. Companies like Everlane intrigue me, although I’ve never purchased from them myself. I like the way these sites are connecting consumers more directly with products and sharing stories about the people who create them.

Double Layered Chiffon Maxi Skirt by Shelby Steiner

A couple weeks ago I heard about a brand new one that’s based here in Chicago. It’s called Stock Manufacturing Company, and its business model is like a Kickstarter for fashion.

I spoke with Jim Snediker from Stock by email, and he told me, “We knew we wanted to create a premium made in the USA clothing company, we wanted to design and manufacture it ourselves, and we wanted to sell directly to customers, without traditional retail markups and with full transparency.”

shirt, pants, and tie by Stock Manufacturing Company

There are two ways garments and accessories are produced and are sold by Stock. Products labeled “inStock” are designed and manufactured in house. They are available for immediately for delivery. Items with the “& Stock” label are collaborations with outside designers. Consumers vote with their dollars during a two-week period by purchasing garments they would like to see manufactured. Once a garment meets a minimum number of orders, Stock manufactures the product, sends it out to the customers, and the designer receives a commission.

I asked Jim how Stock’s location in Chicago might affect their business rather than being located in a more traditional fashion metropolis like New York. He said, “Being a manufacturer out of Chicago, we are much more interested in making high quality, well fitting, stylish pieces of functional clothing than we are in ‘fashion.’ We don’t really immerse ourselves in the runway show/couture world. We identify much more closely with manufacturers and craftsmen (or craftswomen) than we do with ‘fashionistas.'”

Vintage Camera Print Blouse by Black Cap and Bib

I’ll be keeping my eye on Stock. I like its dedication to returning the garment industry to the United States and focusing on high-quality pieces instead of disposable fast fashion.

photos courtesy of Stock Manufacturing Company

Style File – Prestyled Shopping

photo by Travis Haughton

I think I originally heard about Mikkat Market on Refinery29. It’s a trendy online boutique offering cheaply priced fashion. The clothing and accessories for purchase are based around the style of the store’s owner, Katherine Kim, who is also a blogger.

Other than the cheap prices, the clothes are cool. Katherine not only models the wares, but she shows how to style them with other items for sale. A lot of online retailers do this — it’s called cross-selling — but Katherine often shows multiple ways of styling a piece. She makes the whole process of buying complete looks incredibly easy, and of course those looks are LA hip.

I wondered what would it be like to buy an almost complete outfit styled by a blogger in her online store? I love her style, but I worried we have drastically different body types. Finally I decided to try it out.

I settled on this ensemble with the asymmetric stripe top pleated in the middle of the chest and upper back by Esley, the organza drawstring skirt with the sheer striped gold overlay by Esley, and the chain link choker necklace. I passed on the bracelet and cuff because I don’t have a lot of tolerance for jewelry around my wrist in my day-to-day life. As far as I know, the wristlet purse and shoes are not available through her shop.

screen shot of items in ensemble from Mikkat Market

The items were packaged neatly when they arrived. The necklace was in a simple drawstring bag. The skirt and top were individually packaged in clear plastic with a few sheets of tissue wrapped around them.

I have received countless compliments every time I’ve worn the shirt (three times now). Everyone seems to love the pleating. The skirt is pretty too. I dig that it looks like a solid color from far away, but when you get close you see skinny gold stripes. And the necklace is versatile.

photo by Travis Haughton

I’ve only worn the complete ensemble once. I’m pretty pleased that the items in this look fit into the rest of my wardrobe. It’s nice to have a whole outfit that’s been styled that I can go to in a snap. But at the same time, I’m glad these pieces are flexible with other things I own.

photo by Travis Haughton

specified photos by Travis Haughton – Wasabi Photography