Friday, September 17, 2010

My Booth, Myself

Renegade 2003
Renegade Craft Fair as an infant.
via faythelevine

The Renegade Craft Fair hit Chicago last weekend and - ever the supporter of local retailing events - STUDY was there in full force. Actually, we weren't selling anything so I guess I should say Andrew and John were there sans our vintage retailer disguises. Can you believe its been EIGHT years that this thing's been happening (photographic evidence of Renegade's humble beginnings above) and that it's now in FIVE cities? Opinions aside about the Renegade "brand" - this one little festival has done a lot of the heavy lifting when its come to advancing the DIY, entrepreneurial spirit that's taken hold in the last decade.

The Vintage Bazaar II at The Congress Theater
via avoision
Being a vendor at a similar, albeit differently-focused event - The Vintage Bazaar - it's hard to have a terrible amount of perspective about what it means to be a part of a community or that community's farther-reaching influences when you're crazy hustling to find quality product, arguing about what's crap and what's gold, and then sweating your balls off during load-in and setup... it's all real grueling... but ultimately worth it in countless ways. Still, when the dust settles and you've had time look at how TVB has grown in less than a year, well it's all very inspiring.

I know we'd love to see TVB achieve as much success and have as big an impact as Renegade has had - all while doing it in its own unique way. I guess for the time the time being we'll wait for Katherine and Libby's next press release outlining TVB's plan for world domination.

But back to Chicago Renegade 2010.

Good Points:

- Fewer owls.

- More professional looking booths (better signage, cases, etc.).

- More printmakers!

- Less all-around Holly Hobby-looking BS.

- Fantastic DJs from Reckless Records.

Bad Points:

- Lots of antlers (real, resin, cardboard, stuffed, stitched... let it go already).

- One or two retailers who seemed like they got lost on the way to the East Lakeview Festival of Fine Crap Arts (I can't believe my tax dollars supported this schlock-fest for four years).

- Kind of nasty food options - like a carnival plopped down in the middle of Division St. - and I'm sorry, which retailer wants people walking around eating funnel cake COVERED in powdered sugar? What, so you can come fondle my handmade felt pillows? Gross.

Overall a great event and good times had by all. A few of our favorite picks:

- Tugboat Printshop

- PLY Textiles

- Delicious Design League