A blemish on Chicago's fashion scene | Bleader

Thursday, July 16, 2009

A blemish on Chicago's fashion scene

Posted By on 07.16.09 at 06:34 PM

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The owners—or, it seems, former owners— of Jake probably aren't very happy about today's rather juicy story in the New York Times. First off, it starts with the obligatory Times flyover dis, calling them "beefy Midwesterners."

Second, it's about how several designers charge that they haven't been paid for deliveries of merchandise—in some cases for several seasons' worth. Among the designers complaining is Vogue favorite Doo-Ri Chung, who says she considered the owners friends.

It's standard procedure for designers to send orders to retailers and receive payment later. Unfortunately, this doesn't leave them with much recourse if a store can't pay—and that can be devastating, especially for smaller concerns, which are just the type of labels that Jake liked to work with. Designers like Chung may see their clothes featured in major magazines, but their companies are still small enough to suffer tremendously from such a hit—in many cases they are relying on sales to help them pay for fabric and other materials.

This is a very different kind of attention for Jake, which has gotten lots of fawning press from the national fashion media—pretty rare for a Chicago boutique that's not called Ikram. Owners Lance Lawson and Jim Wetzel apparently started having money problems last fall; according to the Times the store is now owned by an investment company.

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