We didn't think we could love anything more than Sofia's charming Gold Coast boutique — until we cast our eyes on its brand-new retail haven. Forced to evacuate due to previously determined retail developments on Oak Street, sisters Ashley and Allison Zisook literally packed up shop and moved one block south on Walton Street. We can safely say that in this case, change really is good. What can you expect from the grown-up Sofia? Here's what Ashley had to tell us.
What is the new decor direction and why did you choose it? Did you design on your own, or did you have the assistance of a designer?
"As we were moving to a new space, we had the opportunity to work with a blank slate. I was able to pick out the color of the wood, steel, and all of the fixtures. I was able to say, 'I want the cash wrap to go here, and a rack to go here, and a table here.' Floyd Davis used his amazing talents and took my vision and literally customized each and every part of the store. The new Sofia is more grown-up, more put together — it has matured...which is a direct reflection of both myself and our customers."
Any standout design elements?
"The cash wrap is definitely a standout piece...and the intricate details that you see throughout the entire store. Each of the table tops are made from hand-cut pieces of wood. It's just such a clean, fresh store. I love walking in every day — I still can't believe it's my store!"
What are the new, exclusive lines you are carrying?
"I just got back from my spring '13 buying trip, so we will have an even more exclusive designer list than we do now! But, some of the new fall lines that are exclusive to us in the city are Friend of Mine, Sarah Scott, Capulet, Rachel Zoe, Again, Nightcap, Shona Joy, Samantha Willis, and Jenny Bird. We are also launching a series of "Sofia Scents," four scents of candles and oil diffusers that are named after each of our locations: Malibu, Clark Street, Oak Street, and Walton Street!"
How do you go about establishing these amazing relationships to bring such exclusive merchandise into your store?
"I always follow the golden rule. I have developed super-close friendships with many of the reps we work with, so they are always telling me about new lines, which is great! We (Sofia) supports and believes in every single one of our brands, and vice versa for them with us. Designers and reps trust and believe in our brand."
How has the merchandise at Sofia evolved over the years and how has it stayed the same?
"Again, I think Sofia as a whole is just growing up. We now have more sophisticated lines, structured jackets, and we just added a sportswear section so people can get their workout clothes here, too! We will always have the butter soft T-shirts, hoodies, and sweatpants — but there will also be so much more!"
What lines have proven to be most popular?
"I truly believe in all of our lines, but the stuff that sells within two days of being on the floor will always be the amazing Daftbird tops, Blue Life T-shirts, Wildfox sweaters, and M2F jeans. There has been a wait list for Mara Hoffman coats since june! They were gone in one day!"
What is a must-have piece for fall currently in your store? "A really good jacket — we have so many amazing jackets in right now that are perfect for fall!"
Take a peek inside the grown-up Sofia!
Sofia Vintage, 100 East Walton Street (between Rush Street and Michigan Avenue); 312-640-0878
Photographed by Luhrs Heldrich