Jamie Hayes wearing one of her own creations; dress form and art by Paula Wilson
Jamie Hayes wearing one of her own creations; dress form and art by Paula Wilson Credit: Andrea Bauer

Jamie Hayes‘s apartment isn’t one you find perusing Craigslist—her landlady, Vicki Logan, typically only rents through word of mouth. Hayes was fortunate, though, to connect via a friend who was doing historical renovations to the building. And she established an immediate rapport with the space: Logan’s grandmother, who bought the building in 1939, was a seamstress and an activist in the International Ladies’ Garment Workers’ Union. Coincidentally, Hayes is a fashion designer and labor-rights activist.

She’s worked at the custom handbag company 1154 Lill Studio and done costuming for dance and theater companies, including Redmoon. Currently, she’s in the midst of starting her own business, Production Mode, which will feature “made-to-measure” clothing manufactured ethically in Chicago.

Her design work spills over into her Logan Square spot, which abounds with color combinations and textures. She’s decorated with a mix of midcentury modern furniture, thrift-shop scores, alley finds, and artwork by friends like local artist/musician Damon Locks and former Chicagoan Paula Wilson.

“I like pieces that have stories behind them,” Hayes says. Gesturing to a turquoise Acapulco chair she explains, “This chair is popular in Mexico. Everyone has them. It’s not considered anything high-design or special, but I fell in love with them when I was working in Mexico for a human rights organization. It actually splits in half so I brought it back on the plane.” The chair, as well as some of her other furniture, is transparent, giving an illusion of weightlessness. “I really like furniture that feels very light. Visually, it helps make me feel like there’s room for everything.”

Much like her fashion-design philosophy of self-expression and personal connection, Jamie believes in creating a home aesthetic that moves beyond the facade. “It’s not about the surface, it’s not about impressing somebody with how much wealth you have, but expressing yourself and creating something that’s inviting and beautiful.”