1. Aaron’s Apothecary (2338 N Clark St, 773-360-8595)
Fortunately, the fact that this Lincoln Park apothecary opened the day of the blizzard wasn’t a bad omen: The herbal and homeopathic supplements biz (plus European body-care brands, accessories and a whole lot more) is going strong.
Looking ahead Aaron Pietrykowski introduces a larger selection of European beauty lines (like the hard-to-find London Organics line) and giftable options such as handcarved Czech marionettes. E-commerce and private artisan events are in the works.
2. Hazel Apparel (1926 W Montrose Ave, 773-904-7779)
In April, David Vail opened this clothing store just down the street from his Ravenswood gift shop, Hazel. Clothing lines in the men’s and women’s store include Desigual, Akela Key, WeSC and Life After Denim.
Looking ahead The store is planning an expanded selection of Desigual items and will start carrying clothing by Eva Franco and Charles G. Bailey.
3. FoundRe (2151 W Division St, 773-235-3600)
After moving out of his teeny studio and into this sprawling Wicker Park workshop and retail space in May, Raun Meyn has made a name for himself with custom and pre-made salvaged wood frames.
Looking ahead What to do with all the excess wood? He’s branching out into the table and floor-lamp business, using the remnant materials. Plus, find new profiles (bevels and detail work) for his frames.
4. AllSaints (700 N Michigan Ave, 312-283-0400)
To our delight, the Brits came marching in with AllSaints this June, selling everything from leather jackets, jersey jumpsuits and military boots for ladies; to henleys, jean jackets and slick leather bags for guys.
Looking ahead The brand launches the second edition of its Not for Sale T-shirt collection, with sales benefiting the Not for Sale nonprofit’s work combating human trafficking. Plus, look for more local pop-up shops and concerts next summer.
5. Haymaker Shop (5507 N Clark St, 773-681-0798)
Infusing new life into the Andersonville strip of mostly vintage home-decor shops, Arrin Williams’s six-month-old Haymaker has been hitting the refresh button since it opened by constantly bringing new locally crafted furniture and accessories into the fold.
Looking ahead Williams expands beyond housewares with a greater emphasis on photographs and screen prints, as well as custom designer bikes.
6. Topshop/Topman (830 N Michigan Ave, 312-280-6834)
Unless you were living under a rock, there was no missing the arrival of this British import in September. On its opening day, the trendy retailer held an outdoor fashion show and even brought in Miley Cyrus to partake in a ribbon-cutting ceremony.
Looking ahead Expect Topshop to continue to carry exclusives just for Chicago shoppers.
7. The Edit (1917 N Damen Ave, 773-252-3350)
As the name of this shop suggests, it features a carefully curated collection of women’s apparel and accessories. When the boutique opened in October, it featured denim from DL 1961, flirty dresses by Naven and more.
Looking ahead In 2012, the shop plans to carry local line C/Fan and will be the only store in Chicago to stock Leila Shams
8. Y-3 (50 E Oak St, 312-573-3310)
The fifth outpost in the U.S. opened in the Gold Coast in October featuring high-end sporty looks from adidas’s collaboration with Yohji Yamamoto. Merch includes sleek puff vests, crop capes, ponchos and flannel pants—albeit with the drop crotch omnipresent this season.
Looking ahead Y-3’s spring collection pays homage to London (just as that city gears up to host the Summer Olympics). Look for items featuring Union Jacks, mod checks and tartan plaid.
9. Vividbraille (2064 N Damen Ave)
When we reported on the opening of this “studio boutique” in November, owner Brock Willsey told us that aspects of the design process are performed in the shop. In addition to Vividbraille, other men’s and women’s lines features in the store include Yuketen, Naked and Famous, and Generic Surplus.
Looking ahead Next year, the store will release a private-label Vividbraille men’s and unisex spring line, as well as a number of Japanese labels.
10. Vintage Smith (2041 N Damen Ave)
Just in time for holiday shopping season, Matthew Smith opened his vintage Americana shop—a one-stop-shop for plaid flannels, baby jean jackets and perfectly worn leather bags for guys and girls. While he holds consistent store hours, Smith’s been keeping the shop semi-underground ever since, not even offering a phone number or website as a point of contact.
Looking ahead We knew from the start that Smith signed a short-term lease. Not for lack of business but other fashion-related aspirations, he says he likely will close up shop the end of January with a blowout sale.