chicago fashion

Summer 2016: The Movers & Shakers Issue

Wednesday, June 15, 2016 HALFSTACK MAGAZINE

It’s finally summer in the city readers and I welcome you to our latest issue of Halfstack. Thank you for checking us out! This issue is focused on Movers + Shakers. When researching for this theme, we searched far and wide for interesting people, brands and businesses to profile. As always, we will have a Chicago focus, but we are also including national and international profiles of artists, musicians, designers, creatives, photographers, brands and entrepreneurs that are shaking up their industries through innovation in their work. You can read the whole issue HERE.

Issue Photography by: Laura Lopez, Diante Thomas & Shirin Koril

This concept is so important to me and the current trajectory the team is taking Halfstack in. Each of the people we are featuring in the issue are shaking things up and opposing the system. They are doing things differently than what society expects. They are a part of a sort of underground movement of makers/social activists that are doing more to create work of substance and influence. I often feel that Halfstack doesn't fit the mold of what a typical lifestyle or fashion publication should be and I don’t feel bad about that. That's why I always have and most likely always will consider us "indie". I remember the "zines" of the 90s that were influenced by anarchopunk and DIY culture and how they inspired me to launch my own 4 years ago.


These zines were all about getting content and information freely distributed to the public and highlighting bands, artists and culture vultures that weren't getting the attention they deserved from the mainstream media. They had a vision, a creative stance and a DGAF attitude about what the establishment thought of them. While we aren't photocopying anymore as the digital age has made it so much easier to develop and get our work out there, the concepts and vision behind our brand still stays very much true to the ethos of the zine. It's been amazing to see zines grow and develop. I look to publications such as: Giant Robot, Dazed & Confused, Bust, Bitch, Cometbus, Doris, Brainscan, The Miscreant, and Maximum RocknRoll as inspiration for what I hope to grow Halfstack into. They all had humble beginnings and despite their growth, they still stay true to who they always have been in terms of the content they share.

Issue Photography by: Laura Lopez, Diante Thomas & Shirin Koril


This issue has some incredible stories that are sure to inspire and interest you about movers and shakers in Chicago and beyond. I am opening the issue with a feature on Chicago’s own local fashion institution: The Apparel Agency. I interview Nichole Rairigh, the CEO and founder behind the brand. She shares some wonderful insight about her time in the fashion industry in Chicago, why she went from being a designer to helping other designers launch their labels and what she finds interesting about the evolution of the fashion industry over the last 10 years. It was wonderful connecting with Nichole and I am excited to be partnering up with The Apparel Agency over the coming months to bring you some insight to behind the scenes of running a fashion brand through some great new content on our YouTube Channel.

What Summer issue wouldn’t be complete without a robust music section. Jennie Velasco shares the journey of her mentor and the Chicago dance icon known as Suave. His journey wasn’t easy, but he made it work and continues to inspire young people all over the world to make an impact with their craft. Pearl has a great round up of festival, concerts and must have albums to check out. Thom has a special feature about New York based music producer: Fab Dupont and his latest endeavor - PureMix.net.



In the spotlight section, I was moved to showcase an organization launched by Milana Vayntrub, best known for her recurring role in commercials for At&t. After a trip to Greece, she stayed to volunteer with the refugees. She created Can’t Do Nothing because she wanted to give people a simple and accessible way to learn about issues and make change for good in the world.

Louis spotlights DreamFuel, a new type of crowdsourcing kickstarter-like platform for emerging athletes and sports teams to fundraise and engage with the community that surrounds them. Jen Oquendo share’s a great round up of books in the Halfstack Bookshelf that are perfect for your summer reading. I close out the section with an interview from Eric Blomquist, founder of Enlightened games about their first game release: Song of Seven.

Liv shares the latest talent from Kent State University fashion department’s annual fashion show: Crescendo and Teresa has your rundown of looks for less! This issue’s cover features fashion from Monique Boutique– a shop based in the Shoppes at Northbridge. Our photography team: Laura Lopez & Shirin Koril collaborated with Chicago based photographer: Diante Thomas to execute over cover shoot. He’s best known for his work on Instagram under the handle: MyArtYourEyes. Laura has a wonderful feature on his journey developing his craft and insight into his creativity.

Issue Photography by: Laura Lopez, Diante Thomas & Shirin Koril



I had the opportunity to re-connect with YouTube DIY Diva: Mr. Kate to learn more about what’s in store for this upcoming year as her channel continues to grow. If you remember, she was on our podcast last year and you can listen to that episode HERE. Danielle has a great assortment of beauty and grooming features that will keep you feeling fresh all summer long.

We close out this issue with a spotlight on Divine Expressions of the Ministering Arts Dance School and two beautifully inspirational pieces from Reyisha Lindsay and Jen Gordon in the Editor’s Last Look. Summer in Chicago is amazing. Find joy in yourselves, find inspiration in these pages, stories and through these people.

As always, thank you for reading!
Jennifer M. Lezan

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