The Secret Way Geeks Are Leading Luxury Fashion In Chicago

The Secret Way Geeks Are Leading Luxury Fashion In Chicago

Royal Diva Pop Art in Fashion Geek head to toe.
Royal Diva Pop Art in Fashion Geek head to toe.

When you think of Chicago what’s the first thing that comes to mind? Is it Barney’s or the House of Chanel on Michigan Avenue? If you only think of Michael Jordan and snow storms when you picture the Windy City you are missing out on some of the dopest fashions! One of today’s hottest luxury fashion brands has been in the city for over 10 years and travels all over the country giving a little piece of Chicago to the world. Ever seen one cool as hell illustrated duck with the blue specs?

FG Duck Coat
Signature Fashion Geek Duck Mascot. Men’s waist length leather coat. Photo courtesy of chicagofashionincubator.com

Or the super cool geek logo in bright blocked colors?

Fat shouts to my late night #geek #fleek from Fashion Geek 69 East 16th Street Chicago, Il.
Fat shouts to my late night #geek #fleek from Fashion Geek 69 East 16th Street Chicago, Il.

If you walk the circles of Chicago’s trendy wear then I’m certain you’ve peeped these Fashion Geeks! I stopped by the Store today at 69 East 16th Street and found a cool welcoming environment. They even offered to laugh if I would have hit the electric slide across the floor in my boots…..just like family! ūüôā As I tried a few of the pieces on one thing I noticed was the quality of the materials they use. I was really feeling the deigns on the clothes so I asked store owner and designer Alonzo ‘Zoe’ Jackson a few questions about the pieces and his inspiration.

Born and raised on the South side of Chicago Fashion Geek began when Zoe was a just a teen sketching the now famous duck mascot. The brand started out with handmade pieces created by the founders but as clientele and demand grew, the process did too and the clothes began to be manufactured, although the patches are still hand sewn to this day.

FG Table of Clothes

FG Jesus Piese Sweatshirt

Fashion Geek is one of the most recognizable brands out of Chicago. Celebrities often rock FG¬†including D. Rose,Kanye West and Lupe Fiasco. I asked Zoe what makes his brand stand out from the rest, he said its quality. “I’m ready for a hater to say something, its at the top of everything.” Most pieces range from $40-$600 and you can stop this South Loop treasure at 69 East 16th Street daily from 12-7, 312-465-2664. I had a good laugh or two this afternoon when I stopped by and everyone in there was really nice. Go check out Fashion Geek on IG @fashiongeekzo and Twitter @fashiongeekzo

6 Reasons Sole Survivor Was The Ultimate for Sneaker Heads

6 Reasons Sole Survivor Was The Ultimate for Sneaker Heads


Sole Expo Logo

It’s a beautiful morning in the land of the Chi. Today strangely feels like its the beginning of summer, like a fresh new day. 82 degrees, clear skies and a breeze that is certainly sent from Heaven. The weekend was a beautiful prelude to this type of Monday. Royal Diva spent a fabulous weekend hoping from event to event in the city’s West Loop and Pilsen neighborhoods. On Saturday Whitney Young High School hosted the Nike Chi League¬†basketball tournaments; this tournament features the most prominent H.S basketball players with talents able to propel them to the NBA. This 10 game tournament and additional free weekly basketball clinics offer so much to the city that I will dedicate a future post and include lots of pictures! Across the city in the southwest Pilsen neighborhood I attended the Sole Survivor Custom Contest for shoe design at the 2014 Sole Expo Convention. The Sole Expo was strictly for my gym shoe heads and custom sneaker collectors! (In the Chi we always say Gym Shoes!)

There were shoe aficionados from as far west as L.A and as far east as the D.C/Maryland area known as the DMV. Alot of people came to buy and trade custom shoes but I came to watch the process of custom shoes being created. Six dope street shoe designers, creating their art live in the lab, all different designs, same shoe, everyone competing for a cash prize and a full scholarship by Angelus Direct plus bragging rights as their final shoe design gets auctioned off to raise money for Kicks for Creators, a non-profit group which specializes in helping young entrepreneurs launch businesses in the shoe industry.

2014 Sole Expo Convention at the Lacuna Artists Lofts
2014 Sole Expo Convention at the Lacuna Artists Lofts

The venue was a cool artsy loft space with deep wood paneling and an industrial feel. I blended right in with the wood walls as we dripped a few beads of sweat together. It was hot in there!¬†I really enjoyed the mix of the loft vibe with some splashes of modern art. The bathrooms were cool, they were lowered into the ground and featured some nice black and white abstract work on the outsides. Too bad they weren’t labeled, I turned the corner to the urinal area to some very surprised men…sorry guys. Power 92 was in the building along with Chance the Rapper, Stunt Taylor and Twista. Here’s where I have to pause for the cause. You know Royal Diva only gives you the real when I’m out and about. Everyone at the event was super chill. Every artist from the live designers, the sneaker buyers and traders and the promotions and events staff were all pleasant and excited about their craft. However I witnessed one too many people being pushed out of the way and stepped on by the super obnoxious security had by one artist. I watched this sweet lady selling home made cookies physically pushed because said artist wanted to move 2 steps to the left.

My attention was redirected when I saw, out of the corner of my eye, an artist spray painting a shoe that seemed to be referring back to one of the greatest shows of all time, Breaking Bad! Now THIS is the artistry I came for. I walked around the tables and was amazed by the air brushes, pastel and acrylic paints these artists blended together in what can only be a scientific way. Day 1 of the Sole Expo wrapped. I arrived for Day 2 and the judging of the Sole Survivor Custom Contest. Below are the final 6 shoe designs:

 

Winner of the 2014 Sole Survivor Custom Contest Contestant Mauricio. IG- Mauriciopaints
Winner of the 2014 Sole Survivor Custom Contest Contestant Mauricio.
IG- Mauriciopaints
2014 Sole Survivor Custom Contest contestant Kreative Customs.
2014 Sole Survivor Custom Contest contestant Kreative Customs.

 

2014 Sole Survivor Custom Contest Contestant Dejesus Customs. IG- dejesuscustoms
2014 Sole Survivor Custom Contest Contestant Dejesus Customs.
IG- dejesuscustoms
2014 Sole Survivor Custom Contest Contestant Vinny. IG- V.A.B.
2014 Sole Survivor Custom Contest Contestant Vinny.
IG- V.A.B.
2014 Sole Survivor Custom Contest Contestant Astrotorf. IG- Astrotorfcustoms
2014 Sole Survivor Custom Contest Contestant Astrotorf.
IG- Astrotorfcustoms
2014 Sole Survivor Custom Contest Contestant Kickstradomis. IG- kickstradomis
2014 Sole Survivor Custom Contest Contestant Kickstradomis.
IG- kickstradomis

Congratulations @mauriciopaints for the 2014 win! Sneaker heads and gym shoe lovers what do you think about the designs? Who’s your favorite? Until next time. -RD

P.S.

This post was originally written on Monday July 21, 2014. In the middle of writing this article I received a phone call that my grandmother had left this side of life. My thoughts traveled back to an hour ago where I was entrenched in a breeze that I felt was delivered from the Heavens and the feelings of renewal and beginnings I’d just possessed. Perhaps that was my grandmothers soft whispers letting me know in her always subtle way, that everything is ok. As always thank you for reading and yes grandma, everything is ok ūüôā

2015 Bulls Draft Day

2015 Bulls Draft Day

It’s that time again. Yep, its’s NBA Draft Day! Well, it was yesterday and now we’re going to recap the Bull’s draft, trade picks and options. By all means, we need a championship dammit and we need it now! Come on Thibs.

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New 11th Round Chicago Bulls NBA Draft pick Doug McDermott. Photo courtesy of blacksportsonline.com

The Bulls Organization went into the 2015 Draft holding the 16th and 19th picks but got the 11th overall pick when they traded up with the Denver Nuggets. And the winner is……….NCAA National Player of the Year Doug McDermott! McDermott comes to us from Creighton in Omaha, NE where he was coached by his father Greg McDermott and was a first team All-American in 2012, 2013 and 2014 and just for bragging rights he is ranked number 5 of all-time scorers in NCAA Division I Men’s basketball history. We diiid that! Six years ago we had the number 1 Draft pick and acquired Chicago native Derrick Martell Rose. In what is looking like Rose’s anticipated return season, McDermott and Rose may be gearing up to create a power house in Chicago basketball. But all the great powerhouse NBA teams are comprised of at least 3; the 1960’s Celtics’,¬†Russell, Heinsohn, Cousy, Sharman, and Loscutoff. The 1980’s Los Angeles Lakers’¬†Johnson, Abdul-Jabbar, Worthy and McAdoo. The 1990’s Chicago Bulls’ Jordan, Pippen, Rodman, Kerr and Kukoc. The 2000’s clearly go back to the Los Angeles Lakers with the Bryant, O’Neal, Horry and Fisher line up. So what does that mean for us? Carmelooooooooo Anthony!

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Carmelo Anthony in a Chicago Bulls jersey. Looks good right? Photo courtesy of fantasybasketballmoneyleagues.com.

Can’t you see it now? In my super cool, throaty announcer voice, ” And now your starting line up for the 2014-2015 Chicago Bulls….. Joakim Noah, Taj Gibson, Doug McDermott, Derrick Rose and Carmelo Anthony!” The crowd goes wild! The Luvabulls flip, jump and cheer, Anthony and Rose high-five and fist bump…we win the 2015 NBA championship! “It Could All Se So Simple” in my Lauryn Hill voice. But I realize its not that easy and the Bulls would definitely have to move some key players around and make some contract adjustments. Starting with my favorite Bull that I love to hate, the handsome Carlos Boozer. In my opinion Boozer has been mediocre at best since joining the franchise in July 2010. Despite averaging 16.2 points in the 2012-2013 season Boozer is hardly a clutch player and doesn’t seem to provide the Bulls with the power and force needed by this squad. Additionally the Bulls’ traded Anthony Randolph to the Denver Nugget’s but absorbed his $1.825 million dollar contract in agreement with the Nuggets organization for the number 11th draft pick.

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Chicago Bulls logo courtesy of ztona.net

With the POSSIBLE acquisition of Anthony, the Bulls are shaping up to have a great year. It is absolutely necessary that we acquire a star with the $13-16 million opening in our salary cap. Carmelo Anthony is ideal but I hear Lebron James may have free-agent status as well. While I see James as far fetched I believe Carmelo will be a good fit for the city and the city will be a good fit for him. Chicago is such a great city and big enough for a star like Anthony. Meanwhile his wife La La and I can attend charity events together and I can be her muse for her cosmetics line Motives! Our beloved Chicago Black Hawks have been holding the city down in the past years with championship titles and appearances but its time for our Bulls to give them some help. We can always depend on the White Sox for a good run and God, please, Bless the Cubs.

Who Only Has 2 Seasons?

Who Only Has 2 Seasons?

A lot of my readers come to my blog for an inside perspective on Chicago. You know, the type of info that the news won’t give you. Have you ever heard that Chicago has 2 seasons? Don’t believe us?

Exhibit A-  My car thermometer on Wednesday March 26, 2014

5 degrees

 

Exhibit B- My car thermometer on Monday June 16, 2014

100 degrees

 

Ahhhhhh!!!! The confusion is real. When you visit the Chi send me some pics to royaldiva.tv@gmail.com and let me know what you wore and what the temp was when you were here. And always remember when coming to the Chi…..rather summer or winter, spring or fall bring your coat, sun screen, shorts, hats, gloves and all! ūüôā -Royal Diva

James R. Jordan Foundation 4th Annual Read with Me Festival

James R. Jordan Foundation 4th Annual Read with Me Festival

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Co-Host Lah Tere singing to the crowd sharing the stage with our youth.

 

Hello Chicago! This weekend Royal Diva had the pleasure of attending the Read with Me Festival at Touhy-Herbert Park on Chicago’s west side. This event was definitely a treat for my entire family and we happened to arrive right on time. As we walked into the park co-host Lah Tere began to flow and sing methodically to children, parents and community partners under the big blue sky and bright sun. It was truly a¬†picturesque Saturday afternoon. Lah Tere was joined on stage by the most beautiful boys and girls; one by one they showed us their talents and gave it all they had.

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Tent after tent of learning and fun at the 4th Annual Read with Me Festival.

 

We left the stage to explore the rest of the activities. The first tent we stopped at was the food tent. Hey, we just went in order of which tent came next :). There were plenty of hotdogs (beef..yes!), chips, Gatorade and water for all the children and their parents. I cannot forget the ice cream cart. Free unlimited ice cream bars and popsicles for the kids. Thanks, yep thanks! Lol, as my son made a B-Line to the park area I decided to take a stroll and see what else the festival had to offer.

 

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Co-Hosts Binkey and Lah Tere sharing a moment with our youth after the festival.

 

There was a Creative Writing workshop, a poetry table, free toy giveaways, games and my favorite of the day….the book table! There were hundreds of books each separated by grade level, free for the children to choose from. As my son ran back to the table he grabbed a bag and was instructed to choose 12 books, any ones that he liked and take them home with him. All the children’s faces were lit up with joy as they looked through the titles and picked out their favorite books. I wonder if they know how priceless the gift of reading is? We walked around and played some games. Just for the record I am no good at carnival games.

As the event was winding down the Foundation held some raffles and gave away electronics, free passes and lots of other goodies. I would personally like to thank the¬†James R. Jordan Foundation¬†and¬†Bernie’s Book Bank for¬†supporting our children during the summer months. Statistics show that¬†1 in 7 school aged children do not receive the proper nutrition during the summer months. It’s important that we continue to support the James R. Jordan Foundation and all other organizations that change the lives of our youth on an everyday basis. If you would like to invite CBD to cover your event click on¬†the¬†Contact Page¬†and submit a request. Until next time, I’ll see you in the streets :). -Royal Diva

A New Experience For an Incredible Price at Mariano’s

A New Experience For an Incredible Price at Mariano’s

Chicago Mariano’s is here! Dominick’s who? Lol. Well my Saturday experience at Mariano’s on Halsted was everything a trip to your local seafood house, wine bar and community social scene should be. It’s like grocery shopping for the cool kids. The Hipsters. It was definitely more than a grocery store experience.

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Upon entering Mariano’s, with the most beautiful 4 month old ever, I had the pleasure of being serenaded by a live pianist. Fresh out of the free valet parking offered Saturday’s and Sunday’s, the tuxedo clad pianist furthered my expectations of a good shopping experience. We proceeded with our shopping cart and Sophie the Giraffe in hand and was greeted by a full service wine bar! Although I took a pass I did notice the exquisite ambiance and 3 friendly ladies seated at the bar sharing a glass of wine and lots of laughs. Further along in the store I encountered a very neat and beautifully displayed seafood counter. Everything from Octopus to Crab Legs to fresh Wild Salmon. Despite the entrance being relatively small and crowded, once we passed the seafood counter and entered the store the aisles widened and were very easy to move through with the cart.¬†It was super busy inside the store but everyone was surprisingly polite. From the staff to the other shoppers everyone said their please and thank you’s and wore their best Saturday morning 85 degrees finally in Chicago happy face. Que Pharrell. While a lot of grocery store experiences will leave you drained and feeling like doing anything but cooking when you get home this shopping experience was not stressful.

So now, the question you’ve all been waiting for……how were the prices?!?! I must be very honest; for all of the ambiance, upkeep and extra amenities that Mariano’s offers, their products were affordable and reasonably priced. As always there were a few specialty items that I purchased which cost about 10% more but for the family staples like meat, bread and veggies the prices were on target. For the organic lovers like myself, Mariano’s offers an organic selection for almost every type of produce available. This saves me the debate of good prices versus chemical free, fresh and quality produce.

As for cons, there were no sanitation wipes or methods of disinfecting your shopping cart at the entrance of the grocery store. That’s a major Royal Diva no no! Fortunately I keep hand sanitizer and sanitation wipes handy. Additionally there were no cart return decals in the parking lot on the upper deck. After loading groceries and packing up the family it sucks to have to walk all the way back to the store to return the cart. Overall my Mariano’s experience was very positive and¬†enjoyable. Royal Diva will definitely be returning¬†to shop again.

 

 

Spring Time Chi!

Spring Time Chi!

This post is for all of my out of towner’s! I don’t think you really understand how important the first day of Spring is. Chicagoan’s you can attest that this is a major event in our city. And I am not speaking of the first calendar day of spring, I am talking about the first days that your handy little car¬†thermometer¬†says 50! Yes 50 degrees! Woo hooo! I’m going to let you in on our secret ritual shhh…don’t tell anyone.¬†The first thing we do is call up our friends and say, “Oooh did you hear it was¬†supposed¬†to be HOT this weekend? Yes, 50 degrees!” Now don’t laugh at us, this is serious business around these parts. Women get their hair done and styled, men get fresh haircuts and car washes and our athletic folks hit Lake Shore Drive for the season’s first run.¬†

Now I told you don’t laugh at us! If you can’t catch snow falling in your city in April then you just would not understand. See even the geese are excited and came out to play.

Mir running ducks behinf
My son and a flock of geese having a race. The geese don’t know about the race.

So yes, we may wear coats and gloves from time to time during our Spring, but I guarantee you will not find another city that comes to life quite like Chicago does in the spring. If you will be gracing our lovely city with your presence, live like we do and take a long walk down Lake Michigan, try out some delicious corn from a local street vendor, visit a sidewalk sale or grab you a leash and head down to one of our local doggy parks. We love dogs in Chicago. If you’re visiting a trendy area like Wicker Park or Bucktown you”ll see just how much Chicagoan’s love their dogs. Businesses even set water bowels and treats outside of their establishments for the neighborhood dogs to enjoy.¬†

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Doggy water and treats left outside of the Land Rover Dealership in West Town.

If you’re a Chi-Town native slip on your gym shoes (we don’t say sneakers in the Chi), grab your dog leash, baseball, soccer ball or whatever and GO! Hit the streets! It’s our time! If you take some cool pics please send them to wearechibydesign@gmail.com. I love hearing stories about your day. I might even feature some of your cool pics on the blog. Til next time. -RD¬†