Wednesday, 29 April 2009

Creatures of the Wind

Chris Peters and Shane Gabier of Creatures of the Wind met at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2005, but they didn’t become a unified unstoppable force until 2007. Their line is sold in high-end exclusive boutiques known for their knack of unearthing and nurturing unusual creative talent. The pair has successfully marketed their label to a very select collection of retail stores and press publications, and has purposely limited their visibility in local fashion events that most ambitious designers would be thrilled to be a part of. As Gabier has said, “If you really want to make it interesting, it maybe has to be a little more limited or selective.” Eschewing the local platform of Chicago fashion has not been to their disadvantage. The label has been featured in WWD and W Magazine, garnered the entire front page of the popular Chicago weekly The Reader, and has been featured in innumerable blogs, including Urban Outfitter’s. They have shown their collection to buyers and the fashion press in Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, and Paris.

Clearly these boys are doing something right. What is defined as “right” in this context may bring a shudder to any other new designer. Limiting your product could be seen as a cheeky and risky move, but an admirable one nonetheless. The boys have kept a tight reign on their image, carefully avoiding runway shows, big parties, and the other typical tired methods of promotion. Instead, Gabier wanted the label to associate itself with “the kind of designers that we feel are our peers and colleagues” and with “lines at a certain kind of price level.” They create desire for their structured collaborative pieces by hosting intimate gatherings, treating potential buyers like old friends, showing the collection in the homes and studios old friends and fellow creatives.

And it doesn’t hurt when all your college friends are as equally talented and as fabulous as you. The label has collaborated with many accomplished designers and artists to achieve the exact looks they wanted. Though the benefit of attending a ritzy party here and there should not be dismissed. Doing just that is what captured the attention of an editor of Women’s Wear Daily, which in turn got them coverage in the affiliated publication, W Magazine. Gabier has admitted that publicity “is the only reason I would go to a party like that. ”

Currently the label is represented in three boutiques in the US. While Creatures of the Wind is slowly growing, Peters and Gabier are keen on keeping their day jobs. Both hold positions that could do much to assist their line. Gabier is an instructor at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, the perfect place for finding potential talent and Peters is the assistant buyer at Hejfina, one of Chicago’s most visionary and progressive boutiques. 

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