Long days of classes, cliques, and the awkward pubescent stage of life don’t leave much to miss about high school. But Chicago Playground, a clothing line started by creative designer Rodnell Harris, proves that the nostalgia and comfort of varsity jackets, collegiate sweaters, and a trusty pair of jeans will never go out of style.
Harris, who started the company back in 2008, brought Chicago’s casual-but-edgy street style to New York’s Style Fashion Week. Designs ranged from jersey-like tops reminiscent of his days as captain of the basketball team to patterns exploring African heritage. The appeal of each seemingly familiar piece lay in customization. Varsity jackets and collegiate sweaters are nothing new, but the personalization, bold coloring, and unique designs in Chicago Playground’s spring collection made typical outfits stand out. It also made them versatile. A few bomber jackets featured leather sleeves, transitioning easily between formalwear and street style like so many brands in 2017 are trying to do.
Vintage yet modern in a uniquely good ‘ole days way, Chicago Playground’s new collection continued the brand’s legacy of retro varsity Americana and African design. Maybe high school is worth revisiting, if only to raid that dated closet.
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