Priding itself on carrying unique, handmade clothing and accessories, Milk Handmade is the product of owner and native Chicagoan Hallie Borden’s childhood dream. The new Andersonville store opening Tuesday is filled with pieces from local Chicago brands including Mohop, Nicki Jean, Nicolet Candles. Designs sent even from Australia and Rome round out Milk Handmade’s collection of one-of-a-kind treasures. I met with Hallie this past weekend to discuss the store’s opening, the distinctiveness of handmade and her favorite place in the city. Read on for the full interview.
How did Milk Handmade come about?
It was a childhood dream of mine. I always wanted to open a clothing store. I started knitting a few years ago and selling on Etsy, so I got really familiar with the handmade community and all these amazing handmade clothes, but I couldn’t buy them, because I am someone who always has to try on everything. I figured that other people felt like that too- they would want to try things on and have the shopping experience with handmade.
What is special about handmade clothing?
The thing about handmade is that from the design to the execution to the shipment- it’s all done by the same person, and I think that keeps the designs really body conscious. If it’s a female designer, she’s designing something that she would want to wear, that her friends would want to wear. When she’s making it, she’s making tweaks on it until it is perfect, so that everything just fits and hangs beautifully.
Why the name Milk Handmade?
I wish I had a great story for this. I thought it represented a connection with nature and the essence of femininity, not to get too graphic. It lends itself well to puns and my gift cards are milk money. I just thought it would be a fun name.
Is nature an inspiration for the theme of the store?
I guess it’s getting back to the roots of how clothing was originally made by one person and a needle and thread or one person and a sewing machine. So not necessarily nature, but back to basics. [The pieces in the store are] still chic and fabulous things. They’re just handmade.
What is your favorite piece in the store?
I just got this one today, and I am so psyched about. It’s really delicate and made by Katie Jean. It’s the only one ever made. I’ve got the only one here, and I was tempted to steal it for myself, but I am going to leave it on the floor for a bit.
Since we’re acityinthemidwest, what is your favorite place in the city?
The Lincoln Park Conservatory. I love all the flowers, and I’m always cold, so I love that it’s always like 90 degrees in there. Have you been to Marguerite Gardens flower shop down the street? Best flower shop in the city. They’re amazing.
The grand opening of Milk Handmade is this Tuesday, May 1st at 11am. Free milk and cookies will be served.