Wednesday, November 27, 2013

We Made It In America

Thanksgiving is about as American as you can get. All of our country's value are spiced up, cooked down and plated. You wake up in the morning to smell of baking pies and go to bed looking forward to at least a week turkey sandwiches with a side of greens and sweet potatoes. This is the time of year when family reigns supreme. Despite how daunting academic tasks and decisions-to-be-made might seem, you find the time to give thanks.

While large retailers have taken over prime time ad space to drill into our brains that they will be open at 6pm on Thanksgiving (like, what?...), some stores are sticking true to their roots. There's one shop that just opened in Hyde Park that is worth its weight in gold: Independence. This is place that is American to its core. Forget about scooting out of Thanksgiving dinner early to wait in some insane line to get a "deal;" Independence is where it's at. I went to school about a five minute walk from the the Oak Street location and I now find myself about a ten minute drive from the Hyde Park location on 53rd street. Basically, wherever I go, Independence goes.


Last Friday, MODA, the fashion organization on campus, teamed up with Independence for an opening party of sorts. Students spent the evening drinking out of mason jars (I'm 'bout it) and ogling at all of the great products. Independence is unlike any other store in that it only carries goods made in the USA. When you buy a shirt here, no need to fret -- you're supporting American dreamers just like yourself. 


Independence is a men's shop, but eff societal norms; anyone and everyone can find something here. I picked up the Apolis Chicago, Illinois tote and some Field Notes. There's a pretty strong showing from Oak Street Bootmakers. Every time I see a pair of shoes from Oak Street, I want to straight snatch them off the wearer's feet. I'm still waiting to find a brand that makes quality menswear inspired boots and shoes for women, so if you all know of one, hit meh up. 


You can seriously find anything there: jeans, sweaters, coats, aftershave, boots, blankets, scarves, everything. Independence has it all. This is exactly why it appeals to more than just its target market; everybody loves blankets. One thing that might come as a surprise to many is the price. You're paying for what you get and what you're getting is quality. You can buy one thing from here and have it for years, or buy a crap ton of the same thing over and over again from a sheisty store. Take yo pick. 


I'm one of those people who doesn't go "Black Friday" shopping because I'm really into the shopping experience. I can't deal with the crowds, the inability to find a store associate, and the all around chaos. Call me what you want, but once you have a great shopping experience at a store like Independence, crazy shit like Black Friday will drive you nuts. Also, look at that decor. Can't get that at Macy's. I'm actually just salty because Macy's messed up the epic shoe department Marshall Fields championed, so now I can't go drool over all the nice shoes at the State St. location. So, yea, Macy's sucks.

Copyright Ivy Zhang Photo 2013
Be sure to stop by Independence, either in Hyde Park or up on Oak Street. You really won't be disappointed. Even if you don't buy anything, talk to the guys in the store, see what's hip with the heritage movement. Trust me, you want to shop at a place with a name like Independence. That's about as American as you can get.

Big thanks to MODA and Independence for putting on this event for the plebes; we enjoyed ourselves. 

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Happy Thanksgiving!