Eye-catching threads aren’t just for coastal towns because Wisconsin is proof quality fashion labels are cropping up around the Midwest. Whether upscale activewear, lake attire or urban garb is the desired #ootd, there’s a local business to match the vibe of any occasion—and savvy fashionista’s personal style.
Founder Grace Wang’s adorable pup Beni is the muse for this pet- and advocacy-themed clothing line. The apparel is donned with sassy sayings like “Dogs Don’t Discriminate” and “Vaccinated, but still dogs only” because that’s who Beni is. He also enjoys “the luxurious things in life like his mother” which is “how the unique packaging came into play,” Wang says. The vibrant labels, bags and stickers also visually represent the positive force of collaboration—a reality she is building into her brand from the ground up thanks to a partnership with Eisenhower IKE Center, a nonprofit based in Milwaukee providing vocational support for disabled adults.
Fair Indigo’s focus on sustainability propels them to design styles with serious mileage by building timeless wardrobe pieces you’ll love wearing for years instead of chasing the latest fast-fashion trend. Because they use super-premium organic Pima cotton, the pieces hold up for years even with regular use (without looking worn or shabby). The brand’s thoughtful color selection process relies on testing new products in safe colors like black, then expanding after it’s a proven hit. For example, two of last year’s most popular new products were their Minimalist Dress and Knit Jumpsuit. This year they’re introducing both in Fatigue—a great “seasonless” neutral.
Giltee Apparel is a community-inspired clothing brand. Keeping style, comfort and Wisco living at the forefront of the design process, the result is “simple, yet creative, and highlight life in the Midwest, Wisconsin and the unique communities within,” says co-owner Lisa Gilson. “Our goal is for our apparel to be what you want to wear all day every day–whether you are on the go or lounging at home. We love this state. That’s why, at Giltee, we’ve set out to celebrate it and wear it on our sleeve.” Their current look book includes classic wardrobe staples like muscle tanks, sunglasses, slouchy pullovers and cozy joggers.
The state motto “Forward” was the inspiration for Joe and Kelly Leschsin’s company Forward Apparel Co. Like true Wisconsinites, they love to cheer on their favorite teams, drink beer and eat cheese. But the Leschsins also believe “if you take the time to explore, the state offers so much more!” They love to travel as a family and discover new experiences throughout the state, later drawing upon these adventures at the design board to further expand their “true Wisconsin lifestyle brand” with unisex apparel and when welcoming customers to their storefront KELLA in Mount Horeb.
Give a shout out to your native ‘hood with City Apparel’s collection of cropped crew fleeces, jersey tanks, leather flasks and more. Apparel can currently be ordered to express an affinity for Green Bay, Milwaukee or Wisconsin in general. And dog owners that reside in MKE can even order a matching “Milwaukee Home” T-shirt for their canines. The biz is hoping to launch custom ordering in the coming months, but in the meantime, shoppers can also keep tabs on new product releases at Harley’s Co. located in Milwaukee’s Third Ward.