Remi Canarie is the exciting new Chicago-grown label from School of the Art Institute graduates Lisa Panza and Liz Patelski. The duo graduated SAIC in 2011 and have been designing together ever since, most recently launching their online store. Choose Chicago sat down with the girls behind Remi Canarie and asked about how they became fashion designers, the brand's inspirations, why they love working in Chicago and more.
How did you get into fashion/design?
Lisa: I really loved using style as a form of expression in high school. I graduated with nearly 1,000 students in my class, so clothing was an important way for me to assert my individuality. I started making skirts for my friends out of our old elementary soccer team T-shirts, and I fell in love with the idea of visually creating a little community and still maintaining individual expression. That concept is still what drives me to build a clothing brand.
Liz: I took a lot of art classes growing up and was a costume designer for my high school plays. I originally went to college to study engineering at Boston University, but then transferred to SAIC to pursue something in the arts. Fashion design, particularly pattern making, is a perfect blend of engineering and fine art.
Describe your aesthetic/the types of pieces you design?
Remi Canarie displays modern luxury in its collections while balancing both minimalism and attention to detail. We like to describe our style as American Classics gone rogue.
What are you working on currently? Any upcoming big projects?
We just released our Spring/Summer 2015 collection a couple weeks ago, and we are currently in the midst of designing our Fall/Winter 2015 collection to be released this winter.
Why do you like working in Chicago as designers?
With the resounding success of artist Nick Cave and the fashion label Creatures of the Wind, both coming out of the SAIC community, it's starting to feel like there is an opportunity toward forming a movement. That is something that really excites us!
How did Remi Canarie start working together?
We were in the same class of the fashion department at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago together. As graduation was approaching, we made a pact that if both were still in Chicago for the summer we would work on something together. And we haven't stopped!
What's in store for the next year of Remi Canarie?
Based on the way the last two years have gone, who knows! We will definitely continue to build our online store and host events to build relationships with customers here in Chicago. We may add pre-fall and resort collections to our line this year. Stay tuned!
Where are your favorite places to shop in Chicago?
Our new favorite place to shop is Another20 on Madison Street in the West Loop.