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FASHION Local designer closes boutique to focus on customized items
By Vee L. Harrison

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Anastasia Chatzka's boutique—once located on the corner of Damen and Augusta avenues, in Wicker Park—is now closed. The store officially closed Dec. 14 following a monthlong liquidation sale. Store owner and fashion designer Anastasia Chatzka said that the closing is bitter sweet and the start of her new venture in fashion.

"It was one of those decisions where it was time to change up. I couldn't grow any further in the same space," said Chatzka.

Chatzka is a 35-year-old-businesswoman with a love for pinball machines, colorful garments and forward fashion. She has a design studio where she teaches sewing and runs a sewing YouTube channel she calls Sew Anastasia. Her design studio is now where she'll do her work full-time. The difference in her work now that her store is closing is that she will not be designing a new collection every three months. She explained how this will save money and time and afford her to concentrate on more custom designs for her wide range of clients. She wants to have a more personal relationship with her clients and do work out of her design studio, also located in Wicker Park.

"I just want to focus on the custom clothing. That's kind of where fashion is going anyway," she said. "It's almost impossible to buy clothes anymore that are true fit to size. So many companies are embracing custom shoes and clothes and perfectly fit for someone's size."

Chatzka's designs ranges from sizes two to 26. She said she feels her styles are for everyone, and that fashion is for everyone.

"There is a need for a wide range in sizes because everyone is just not the same size, she said. "We all have unique bodies, and that's a beautiful thing."

She described her designs to Windy City Times as "whimsical, fun, vibrant, edgy colorful and unique." Her clientele ranges from 6-year-old girls to thirty-something local professionals to seventy-plus transgender people. Chatzka added she believes in inclusion and its importance to fashion, adding that she's a feminist and that she is passionate about equal rights.

"I'm pro-people," said Chatzka. "I believe simply in making people feel good in their clothes, it's a pretty powerful feeling."

She described a time this past summer when she dressed an 80-year-old transgender man and how much she enjoyed that client and working alongside someone who was so expressive and free. She said this client only helped confirmed the notion that beautiful clothing is for everyone.

"This was an older client who first came to me as a man, and then as a woman. At the time, he told me that he really liked dressing in women's clothing, but he needed special sizes because of him being so tall," Chatzka recalled. "I thought that was so brave, and it was a great experience designing for someone who refused to conform and was just himself."

"I am passionate about making custom clothes and making people feel great in clothing," she added. "Nowadays, everything is mass-produced, and it's hard to find unique clothing."

Chatzka has been running her own business for five years, but prior to that she's worked with well-known designers such as Betsey Johnson. Recently, she was featured in Chicago Fashion Week's Trans, Media, and Fashion show, hosted by Fashion Bar Chicago.

Chatzka is originally from Detroit but finalized her schooling in Chicago. She was in her Wicker Park location for six years—but she said that what's in store will be even better than the last six years. She said she's growing her brand, and the evolution is necessary.

Chatzka said that many of her clients have said they can't wait to see what she has in store for future designs. She said that clients keep mentioning how they'll miss her cool window displays. It was the norm to see the window displays regularly change and reflect new collections and cool visuals. Every year, the boutique would feature an LGBTQ window display.

"One we did that I really liked one year said that love was genderless. It featured two mannequins in the same outfit. That was one of my favorite ones," said Chatzka.

"I think this is part of life and I believe in supporting all the people in my community. Why ignore it? We all wear clothes and letting people know that they don't have to fit into the stereotype of male or female is important and they won't be judged.

"I want to leave behind quality pieces, unique things—and not just clothing. I want fashion to be treated as an art form."

To learn more about Chatzka and her custom designs, follow her on Facebook and Instagram for her designs at Anastasia Chatzka. To checkout her sewing skills and learn about her sewing classes, follow her on Instagram at sewanastasia and on YouTube at Sew Anastasia.

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