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  WINDY CITY TIMES

CORPORATE DIVERSITY Fashion and business: The bowties of Dapper and Urban
By Sebastian Saenz
2015-11-04

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Pinterest, Instagram and fashion bloggers all over the world know it: Bowties are back, and stronger than ever. But it takes a true visionary to give this accessory the contemporary twist it needs—one provided by Jenny Urban and her brand, Dapper and Urban.

This Chicagoan defines herself as an "official badass" and as a "dapper queer" who, aside from designing bowties, is also the drummer of the band Dean of Women ( queer ska ), a chef and a mom. She comes from a family of entrepreneurs, which took her to the family business when she was eleven, and to open an award winning restaurant when she was only 28 years old.

Her need to express herself made her to start wearing bowties a few years ago. Her curiosity led her to figure out how different types of ties were constructed. Her creativity forced her to make a few and wear them at "queer events", where attendees just fell for them.

The LGBTXYZ flag and hanky code are a concept by themselves, and they have been an inspiration for our community for decades. For instance, Urban "started with the hanky code series and then branched out to other designs." She got her inspiration from Saint Harridan ( masculine clothing for women and trans men ). Urban states that Saint Harridan "had a pop-up shop here [in Chicago] last year, and in talking to them I recognized the need for accessories to compliment the type of clothing they were making." The rest is fashion history.

Today, Dapper and Urban is a brand that promises "queer accessories for sharp dressed people." Dapper enjoys "to go around the city to local fabric stores such as The Needle Shop." She is inspired to try innovative patterns and materials when she discovers something exciting.

The design range is as vast, incorporating items that are "cute and fun, to dapper and hanky code-themed." The Kitty Kitty and the Big B incorporate animal print, the Bike Riding Weather and the Lights Camera Action show common objects in a playful way; the Blue Bling, the King Bling and the Pink Bling are all about royalty; bedazzilng, birds, butterflies, horses, owls and elephants are displayed in joyful colors; and buyers can even find music scores, florals, stripes, abstract shapes, geometric figures, rainbows and the Chicago flag.

Dapper and Urban will have products at Edgewater Workbench, 1130 W. Thorndale Ave. The brand did a pop-up shop at Homolatte at Big Chicks, and will soon be doing a few craft fairs and showings at Formerly Known As and at Big Chicks again. Dapper has done bowties for a same-sex wedding, and she hopes to do more in the future. Custom made and matching ties for brides, grooms and wedding parties might as well be a sublime detail for such a special occasion.

Urban is particularly thankful to her mother ( not surprising, considering her strong family bonds ), who has been a great help for her, since she taught her how to sew. Urban's partner, Marie, is a graphic designer who broadly collaborated with new ideas and did all the branding.

To check out and get the latest models, visit facebook.com/dapperandurban, etsy.com/shop/DapperAndUrban or instagram.com/DAPPERANDURBAN .


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