Urban Chic | Imaginary People
When I think of fashion, a sad looking model with subpar clothing, looking bored and unenthused is what comes to mind. This was far from the case when I discovered Imaginary People. Launched in 2009, the label takes a realistic, sexy, relaxed approach to fashion. The brainchild of designers Olivia Shanks and Telo Dunne, Imaginary People has made quite an impact and is currently expanding it’s reach throughout the country’s metropolitan hubs whether it be in fashion shows, specialty boutiques, print ads to television spots. What keeps the interest of city dwelling fashionistas that are enthusiasts of Imaginary People, is that their sleek & sass is synonymous with urban chic.
It is without question that these two innovators made the right move in working in the fashion industry. Imaginary People provides a comfortable, sexy and relatable way for women to express themselves. We look forward to their Fall/Winter 2012 line which will be full of splashes of color, sleek silhouettes and intricate patterns. Join us below in a conversation with Shanks and Dunne on their work and what’s to come..
L|T|M: What kind of fashion did you grow up with?
Olivia: The town I grew up in, in Indiana, wasn’t very large nor was it very close to any big metro areas so there weren’t a lot of places to shop. Tretorns, K-Swiss, Nike & Adidas always, Guess Jeans, The Gap, J Crew, Banana Republic . . . Thrilling! Towards the end of high school I started to experiment more with fashion, shopping thrift stores and caring much less about blending in.
Telo: I second what Olivia said. I spent most of my adolescent years trying to blend in which is especially funny because I was always about a foot taller than everyone. I went for trends all across the board from pegged Guess jeans, to Nike jackets, Adidas sweatsuits to skater influenced Blind Jeans, Vans or brightly colored Converse. Being from metro Detroit I also had a phase of being way into the super oversized look and loved the afro centric brand Cross Colours. It wasn’t until about 16 or 17 when I began to grow into myself and experiment with personal style.
L|T|M: What made you change from b&w /gray to using color in your line?
Olivia: I personally LOVE grey . . . and who doesn’t love black? But I like color too. I think it tends to be difficult to find clothes that are just the right shade of color for you and as well the right shape. But I think there is a desire for color. Fabric is super important to us. It’s got to feel right, hang right, and wear well. So we’re starting to experiment, but we’re really picky.
L|T|M: How do you use technology to market or create your line?
IP: We use standard graphic design programs like Illustrator and InDesign to do technical flats (drawings) of all of our pieces and as well to lay out our lookbooks. Our website is hosted by WordPress (www.imaginarypeopleonline.com), our online store is hosted by Big Cartel (www.imaginarypeople.bigcartel.com) and like most folks these days we have a Facebook page (www.facebook.com/ipeoplechicago), a Twitter account (www.twitter.com/ipeoplechicago), and an Instagram account (@imaginarypeople).
L|T|M: What are you favorite fashion eras? Why?
Olivia: I’m not tied to any one era. They all have their pros and cons, but if I had to choose I would say the elegant, swanky parts of the 70’s, Halston & YSL. There are some things I love going on now as far as general silhouettes go . . . long, lean, slouchy drapes and sexy lines.
Telo: I love so many elements from different eras. I was always attracted to the ease of 70’s flowing fabrics and lines. However, I also love the outrageous combinations of the earliest hip hop artists like Grand Master Flash and the Furious 5 with their furs, spikes, denim, fringe and slouchy boots. I also love the Vivienne Westwood driven era of British punk rock with its super skinny jeans, perfectly trashed t-shirts and combat boots…timeless. I can never get enough of anything with a perfect drape or anything that has that “I look effortlessly fucking awesome” look. Overall it’s always going to be about fit, fabric
and attitude for me.
L|T|M: Who are the last artists/DJs that you listened to while designing?
Olivia: My iTunes is like a minefield. I really need to update and clean house in there! I like to just press play and not have to constantly change the music while I’m working so I’ve been leaning on Pandora a lot. I have a lot of favorite artists and my taste covers multiple genres but while I’m working I generally like to keep it smooth so my most frequented channels are probably Pharcyde & Dwele.
Telo: I have been playing a lot of Led Zeppelin, Pharcyde and Metro Area stations on Pandora. Also Olivia and I recently discovered a female DJ / Producer name Maya Jane Coles that we love!
L|T|M: What can we expect for the Fall line?
IP: Expect to see an expansion of our Core Basics Collection with some lounge-y pieces. We like to make pieces that you love to live in and it’s also a type of clothing that people have grown to look for from us. We’ve also gotten our hands on some great new fabrics that are inspiring some athletic pieces and we’ll be releasing some accessories that we’ve been waiting a long time to add to the mix. Although we’ll continue to present a spring and a fall lookbook, we also plan to add to the collection by releasing pieces year round so make sure you check in to our online websites and store for new releases.
L|T|M: Favorite Muppet?