This is Liz Williams, the designer/ founder of Coat Check Chicago! I started this business in 2014 after becoming frustrated by the lack of quality garments available on the market.
As a graduate of Parson's School of Design I've always been interested in clothing as a form of artistic expression.
However, my skills as a pattern maker and seamstress were forged while studying, fitting and altering costumes from all periods of time for some of Chicago's most iconic theatres.
It was during those years that I learned, among other things, that...
Some of the most beautiful and well-made clothes were constructed decades ago when quality was valued.
Modern garment workers are being extremely undervalued and under-paid.
As a result of a broken fashion system, modern customers were ultimately losing out by having to continually purchase poorly made goods season after season.
With all this in mind I set out to create something better...modern women's outerwear that could be cherished for years to come, not only because of its timeless style but also because of its quality craftsmanship. Since day one, I've pledged to have my pieces ethically-made right here in the City of Chicago (a city long known for its fine tailoring roots) by men and women earning a fair wage.
My coats and jackets have been tried and tested in a city known for its bad weather. Their functionality is just as important to me as their looks.
It's no accident that I am drawn to outerwear as a means of expressing my values. My only hope is that others may take notice and share in them too.
Fabrics: Every piece I design starts with the fabric. Whether I'm using a pure Italian wool, Japanese water-proof cloth, or a novelty print from Belgium, fabric selection and functionality are of the utmost importance to me. Although I strive to use natural materials whenever possible, in some cases a technical aspect of a certain fabric will give it superior performance and endurance. Due to the size of my small company many of the fabrics that I select are limited run, sourced from dead-stock and luxury-designer ends. As a result, I encourage customers to pre-order my coats, when given the opportunity, since I will only be making a few of them. Some of my most popular styles and colors have sold out in weeks.
Small Batch: In order to keep my inventory low and to combat excess in the fashion industry I have very small production runs. If you notice that a certain style is missing in your size or favorite color, please email me or join my waiting list so that I can make sure that style is in the works for you.
Ethics: As a former seamstress my company has a human-centric approach to both manufacturing and design. My belief is that happy tailors make beautiful clothes, much like the way an organic apple from your aunt's farm is a lot tastier then the one from the big box store. My approach to human-centric design originates from my desire to create well-made, timeless pieces that will be cherished for years to come regardless of fashion trends.
Temperature: It's important to note that I live in Chicago, IL and test-drive my products daily here in a climate that is anything but kind. Although Chicago is known for being both cold and windy, many days here are right around 30 degrees. As a result, I wear my Clybourn Car Coat on most days since it's a very warm coat (with a quilted lining) but also breathable in the sleeves so that I don't over-heat. My Lasalle Parka was designed for our many chilly but rainy days where a standard water-proof shell just wont cut it in Chicago. My Southport Overcoat was designed for the the coldest of cold days. It's a fully lined coat with a deep collar that can pop up for extra coverage when needed. You won't find many summer-time coats from me, although I do have a lovely short-sleeve wrap coat great for chilly nights outside.