1101 W. Fulton (entrance on Aberdeen)

312-243-4754 or pivotboutique.com

Just as they are with food, people are becoming more curious about where their clothes come from and how they’re made. And as the market has expanded–largely on the Web–environmentally responsible processes and sustainable materials have lost their association with scratchy fabrics and shapeless silhouettes. Jessa Brinkmeyer says she opened her new boutique, Pivot, to show Chicagoans firsthand how nice eco-wear can be. “People really need to touch the fabric, try things on,” she says–like the soft and strong fabric made from bamboo, for instance. It reportedly has antibacterial and antimicrobial qualities, too, and doesn’t need to be washed as often as cotton. It’s used in, among other things, a dark denim skirt with white trim and embroidery by Undesigned by Carol Young ($230). Pivot also carries plenty of pieces in organic cotton. One stunner, a gray dress by Beau Soleil, incorporates a single wide adjustable (and removable) shoulder strap and rosette made from recycled leather ($325). Accessories include bags and wallets made from old leather jackets or skateboards and jewelry made from bike parts. Brinkmeyer points out that the lines are by “small designers creating quality pieces,” which accounts for the prices–although really they’re no higher than what you’d find in any higher-end boutique, and some jewelry can be had for as low as $15. –Heather Kenny

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo by Mireya Acierto.