Happy Monday Chicagoans!
Usually, Mondays are a day we all dread and struggle to get through with copious amounts of caffeine, but today I am excited to debut a new highlight post on the blog, Chicago Made! There are so many amazing creatives, business owners, and makers in the Windy City and I will be highlighting one a month right here!
To launch this new series, I would like to introduce Heather Parkin, the founder and designer of Chicago based, children's clothing line, Toddler Royalty! Inspired by her two daughters, Lola and Simone, Heather set out to create a high-fashion clothing line for children that would promote confidence and independence.
The Toddler Royalty Mission: To be a place that breathes creativity, uniqueness and individuality of today’s children. Edgy yet sweet, soft yet punk-rock. We understand that our children’s clothing choices give them the opportunity to be whoever they want to be.
Custom made, by hand, each piece from the Toddler Royalty collection exudes a beautiful, unmatchable quality. A staple of the Fall/Winter 2014 collection and my personal favorite piece, The Poor Little Rich Girl dress, features an oh so sweet and vibrant heart pattern with a Peter Pan collar on top!
I have been fascinated with fashion ever since I can remember, so I love that Toddler Royalty opens up the possibilities for young fashionistas everywhere to express themselves! An obvious admirer of her work, I was excited to speak with Heather about her latest collection, her inspirations, and what drives her in running her own business!
Alluring Chicago: You've mentioned that your two two daughters have been an inspiration for the line. Can you tell me more about how they inspire you?
Toddler Royalty: Well, they both love to play dress up as well as ‘dress up’ for almost any occasion. They would go to school in Black Tie attire, every day if they could. The mixing and matching of different fabrics at Toddler Royalty come from watching them pick out their own outfits. They both have great style at such a young age. Even Simone who’s only 2 ½, can put together some pretty darn cute outfits all by herself.
AC: Toddler Royalty is amazingly run solely by you! How do you manage to run a business while continuing to do day to day life as a mother and a wife?
TR: Ummm, I’m crazy. Haha...No, but It’s definitely hard to balance everything. I drink a lot of coffee and I do most of my work at night after the girls go to bed. I put on endless episodes of Friends and work until I can’t keep my eyes open anymore.
AC: What is your favorite part about the process of making these unique pieces?
TR: I think shopping for the fabric. A favorite pastime of mine when I lived in Los Angeles, was getting coffee and going to Amoeba Records. I would spend an entire afternoon wandering and listening to music, and to the sound of people shuffling through records. It was always a new experience for me. You would be amazed, in a record store that big, all the other sounds you would hear besides just music playing through the headphones or over the store speaker. I would always walk out inspired and refreshed by the sounds. Fabric shopping does the same thing for me. The colors, the textures, the prints, all inspire me to create.
AC: Can you tell me about your latest collection?
TR: The FW14 Collection was Toddler Royalty’s second collection since launching. I really wanted to experience with different fabrics, textures and color ways, yet all the while, keeping it playful; and I think I was able to accomplish that with this season. That’s the great thing about Childrenswear, you can play and have fun and not take it as seriously as Womenswear or Menswear. Kids love to mix, match and play with color, they have this silly innocence about them that makes whatever they wear lighthearted and fun. So why shouldn’t that be the basis of what I’m doing when I’m creating the collections?
AC: What was the inspiration behind the Poor Little Rich Girl dress?
TR: Edie Sedgwick has always been an inspiration for me. Everything about her style, from her hair and makeup to her clothing and the way she carried herself. The Poor Little Rich Girl dress definitely came from watching her in Andy Warhol films. The print on that fabric reminded me of the colors that Andy Warhol used in his artwork. With the mini dress cut and the Peter Pan collar, I feel like that’s something Edie would totally have rocked.
AC: What is your hope for the future of Toddler Royalty?
TR: At the moment, I am focusing on collaborating with other artist of all kinds. I think this is important for me as a designer, always keeping it fresh and having new ideas evolve. Being surrounded by like-minded people that you can collaborate with only makes what you’re doing stronger. And down the road, I would like all the "Toddlers" of the world to be able to come to our site and create their own Toddler Royalty pieces. They would be able to pick out their own fabrics and patterns, from the variety we provide, and when they’re done they would be able to name their piece, for example: Lola for Toddler Royalty would be on the garment tag, and then we would make it. This really gives them the opportunity to build their independence and style, all while having fun, and that’s really the point isn’t it, just to have fun?
You said it Heather! And what's more fun than a GIVEAWAY? I have partnered with Toddler Royalty to give away a Poor Little Rich Girl dress (a $136 value) to one lucky winner! Read the full contest details bellow to enter:
1. Follow @Alluringchi and @ToddlerRoyalty on Instagram.
2. Tag a friend (or as many friends as you'd like!) in the comment box of the giveaway Instagram post.
3. Check out ToddlerRoyalty.com and comment on this blog post what your favorite look is from the collection!
That's it! It's easy as 1,2,3. A winner will be announced on next week's post, as well as on my Instagram, so enter, share, and keep an eye out here!
Much Love xoxo