Behind Chicago fashion: Kelley Mullarkey and Sean Stillmaker

  • Photograph: Cyrus Mahboubian

    Kelley Mullarkey and Sean Stillmaker of majestic disorder.

  • Photograph: Pat Michaels

    Kelley Mullarkey and Sean Stillmaker of majestic disorder.

  • Photograph: Sharon Mullarkey

    Kelley Mullarkey and Sean Stillmaker of majestic disorder.

Photograph: Cyrus Mahboubian

Kelley Mullarkey and Sean Stillmaker of majestic disorder.

I started majestic disorder
Kelley At the end of 2011. After spending the summer of 2010 backpacking and Couchsurfing across Europe, I felt driven to create majestic disorder. Through Couchsurfing I was exposed to the intimate and private lives of complete strangers and invited into their personal spaces. I became intrigued with the art of self-expression, mainly in the sartorial sense and wanted a platform to document these personal stories. Sean came on board shortly after and majestic disorder has completely evolved into an online publication delivering the trademark Featured Mind stories and original journalism. The two of us are currently working on the first printed issue, which will be sold internationally as a quarterly publication.

My first post
Kelley The first post I ever wrote was on Darren Jay who was working at Intermix at the time. He was one of the first friends I made when I moved to Chicago for college and was a big influence behind the initial creation of majestic disorder.
Sean The first video I produced was Featured Mind Michael Hitsman in San Francisco, which was published July 2012. The production was smooth and tranquil and Michael was a good sport in front of the camera. However, everything preceding the shoot was everything on the contrary—between the rental car getting towed, arguing with hotel staff, and rushing to beat the daily impound fine increase.

My day job
Kelley Alongside running majestic disorder I work as a freelance copywriter, journalist and photographer. And professional coffee drinker.
Sean Running majestic disorder is my day job, but I’m also a journalist and multimedia producer. Before moving to London, I spent two years reporting for Journal & Topics Newspapers in Chicago, and I’ve been freelancing across the pond since.

The celebrity I want to read my publication
Kelley Joan Didion. I fell in love with journalism after reading The White Album, a sharp collection of essays that explore the cultural chaos of American life in the late 1960s and 1970s. In it she writes, “We tell ourselves stories in order to live.” That line has always stuck with me. 
Sean It would be pretty cool if Steven Soderbergh gave us a read. He’s such a huge inspiration.

Best reader comment
Kelley and Sean Nicole Blaje who works at Cynthia Rowley in Wicker Parker once said, “Every time I finish reading a story on majestic disorder, I feel like I’m already friends with the person featured.”

Other blogs I read
Kelley Lord Ashbury is the only street style blog I religiously check. Offering a gorgeous array of artistically striking photographs, Simbarashe [Cha] curates the most covetable selection of global inspiration. Chicago’s Meagan Fredette of latter Style and Berlin based stylist Sophia Schwan of Personal Uniform nail it in regards to personal style blogging. Both of them are body positive and offer a mix of personal essays and poetic self-expression. And I love flipping through Lens, the photojournalism blog of The New York Times.
Sean For pleasure, my eyes wander on Lord Ashbury’s blog.

Trend I wish would go away
Kelley Sneaker wedges. And people making selfies on Vine.
Sean Skinny jeans, chewed up Converse and selfies on Vine.

Fall trend I’m looking forward to
Sean It’s speculated that backpacks are going to be making a comeback. I think they’re often overlooked accessories that can be a delightful blend of fashion and function if given to the right designer. With so few masculine options to accessorize, I welcome the increase of options.

Three favorite items in my closet
Kelley My beloved turquoise PS1 purchased from Opening Ceremony in NYC, a peacock patterned maxi dress I had made while living in East Africa, and a vintage Moschino leather fringe vest purchased in London.
Sean Vintage Giorgio Armani black leather jacket in pristine condition I got from London’s Retro Man. Charcoal Harris tweed suit jacket bought from Leonard Jay in London. A pair of black leather Red Wings heritage boots hand crafted in Minnesota.

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Laura Baginski, Editor (@TimeOutChicago)