• Portrait of an emerging designer: Elizabeth Parker

    Chicago is rich with fashion design talent. From Halston, to Cynthia Rowley, to Elizabeth Parker, it's not always enough to know the name of a favorite fashion brand, oftentimes, it really helps to understand the inspiration and vision which informs the collections. Emerging fashion designer, Elizabeth Parker is the creative vision behind the 'rich casual' label. This is a brand which brings a new vibrance and colorful energy to Chicago fashion. Yesterday, Elizabeth sat down with me and candidly shared her thoughts and answers on style, inspiration and design.

    Q: What were the first steps you took in the world of fashion?

    Elizabeth Parker: I've been creating, as a fine artist, since an early age. Some time ago, as I was painting an abstract, using brilliant colors, I was inspired to use them to design a dress and from then on I realized art and design worked together.

    Q: Where did you receive your training?

    Elizabeth Parker: Working with my customers and boutiques, for example, has provided me with the experience to develop my skills as a designer.

    Q: Did you begin as an apprentice or intern in another fashion house or did you just start out on your own?

    Elizabeth Parker: Because of my extensive background in art, I felt confident to break out on my own.

    Q: Can you tell us a bit about your current project/s? What is the mood of your latest collection?

    Elizabeth Parker: My plan for the spring is to design a collection called "XYZ" using primarily earth colored linen and cotton fabrics. The pieces will be three-dimensional, comfortable, useful, and unique.

    Q: Where do you find inspiration? for this current collection as well as past collections?

    Elizabeth Parker: For the most recent collection, the holiday spirit has deeply inspired me.

    Q: What drives you to work/to continue making collections each season? Where does the desire to design come from?

    Elizabeth Parker: The myriad daily changes in my life inspires me to continue making new designs. These changes continually inspire me.

    Q: What in your personal life or in your history most influences your views on fashion?

    Elizabeth Parker: I’ve always enjoyed people and watching people as they create, express themselves. Over time and based on my observations, there are lots of people who lose their way and dress inappropriately. This, I found, has given me an opportunity to design pieces that would improve their appearance, their style, their sense of themselves.

    Q: Why do you design in Chicago?

    Elizabeth Parker: One thing that I love about Chicago, is that Chicago has great atmosphere with wonderful architecture, views, and scenery -- and I routinely use this great scenery for my photo shoots.

    Q: What would you like to see happen in the Chicago area to help the fashion industry to grow?

    Elizabeth Parker: It would be great if we could make available more places as venues for up and coming designers.

    Q: Any advice for the student to design?

    Elizabeth Parker: I think the young designer or design student should keenly observe their surroundings but remember to remain true to their ideas in their hearts. 

    Rich Casual Designs can be found in the Bottega.