chicago chicago playground

New Industry Rising Stars: Chicago Playground "The Varsity Collection"

Friday, September 19, 2014 HALFSTACK MAGAZINE

Many fashion designers come from Chicago, but not many incorporate Chicago into their brand. With Rodnell Harris, it is different story. His designs are all about Chicago and even the name, Chicago Playground; the Varsity Collection, incorporates the heart of Chicago into it. So, who this designer that loves Chicago so much that the city is the main source of creativity behind his designs?

Rodnell Harris was born on the West side of Chicago and was a graduate from Farragut High school in 2004. A true Chicagoan from the start he decided to launch the Chicago Playground clothing line in 2008. Many of his inspirations came from when he played basketball in college (in Jacksonville Florida, but hey the line isn’t called Florida Playground). This is where his interest in the designer of the Letterman and varsity jackets grew. Considering himself a visual artist, Rodnell hopes to instill a sense of pride and unity in local communities here in Chicago through fashion.

During Atlanta’s fashion week in 2008, with only a few samples from a previous brand Rodnell created, he realized that becoming a designer was what he wanted to do. After the event, he knew that he could be an asset to the fashion industry by introducing a brand with a positive message and mission behind its designs. Thus, Chicago Playground was created. Rodnell wanted a name that came with significance and a sense of tradition. Chicago is considered a playground in of itself, with all of its attractions and talent in the city. Also, playgrounds bring children together and he wanted a brand to represent unity among the city’s youth and beyond.

Chicago Playground clothing is a brand for all ages and genders. Childrens clothing can be obtained though custom orders. The brand is also looking to collaborate with student athletes and local high schools for an ambassador program in the near future in which students get involved with the brand and Chicago Playground educates them on the fashion industry and the mission behind Chicago Playground; so keep an eye out students!!

Currently, Chicago Playground only offers custom made orders to give clients the opportunity to customize their garments to meet their individual needs. They also present capsule collections of collegiate garments including hooded sweat shirts, signature t-shirts, and baseball calls (all offered in limited quantities). The brand is still in the early stages of creating an e-commerce site and is scheduled to be available in September 2014. Fall seasonal garments are available for order and purchase! Also email for a digital catalog! 

At the moment Chicago Playground is focusing on its upcoming student ambassador program and e-commerce launch for the fall. The brand is currently working with local show producers to be featured in upcoming fall runway shows this Fall 2014 season in addition to internal brand representations. So keep an eye out on that has many great things happening for a brand that holds Chicago so dear to its heart.

Written by Stella Quimby - Fashion & Lifestyle Editor

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