The offbeat accessory is Flair’s specialty. The recently opened Logan Square store’s inventory is dominated by pins featuring figures from Prince to Audre Lorde and patches with generally woke sentiments such as “Fuck the patriarchy” and “We will outlive them.”
“My focus is supporting small business by marginalized people, whether they be people of color, LGBTQIA, or women makers,” Flair owner Melissa Elliott says. To that end she stocks her shelves with locally made goods—by such brands as Nyxturna, PinChe Loca, and the Found—and with merch from outside labels including JB Brager, Gaypin’ Guys, and Peace Prospects. She also offers customers a carefully curated selection of vintage clothing and hosts periodic art shows and events in the space. Local vegan bakery Pie, Pie My Darling will have a pop-up on Friday, December 15, from noon to 4 PM (though they may sell out before).
After “testing the waters” with a storefront on a side street, Elliott moved to her current location on Fullerton—but not without considering the impact her presence could have. “I’m a San Francisco Bay Area native, and I’ve watched communities of color and creative communities suffer from the influx of tech and the rapid gentrification. When I moved to Chicago, it was a priority not to displace anyone as I was displaced in California. With both storefront locations, I worked with the rental company to make sure there were no locals interested in the spaces. It disgusts me when people move in to what realtors have deemed ‘up-and-coming neighborhoods,’ displace locals, and then don’t even bother to be involved in the local community.” To help foster a connection, Elliott invites her neighbors to the opening receptions of all Flair’s events. “I take care to speak with neighbors, get to know the people and the dogs, and not just be a white person colonizing a neighborhood.” Now if only she could fit that in a patch.
Flair 3415 W. Fullerton, facebook.com/FLAIRChicago, instagram.com/flairchicago.