Ukrainian Village's April Francis shows off her impeccable style.
April Francis started Haute Closet in 2006, and soon became the person to call for individual styling needs—or complete closet overhauls—with her slogan, “Life is hard. Looking good isn’t.” Then, in 2010, the fashion fiend since childhood founded Dose Market. Today the bazaar invades River East Art Center once a month with vendors boasting locally made fashion, artisan eats, home goods, and more, all curated by Francis’ trusted eye for style. Here, Francis shares on her Ukrainian Village neighborhood, and more.
How would describe the style of Ukrainian Village residents?
APRIL FRANCIS: We're an eclectic mix: we've got fashion personalities, starter families, established vaqueros, chain-smoking hipster coffee-drinkers, tail-wagging puppies, and proud small business owners. Pretty much everyone has a smile and a laissez-faire attitude.
What are your go-to lunch spots in the area, and what do you order?
AF: My favorite is Chickpea (2018 W. Chicago Ave., 773-384-9930) for the thoom [a vegetarian whipped garlic-lemon puree]. I love the little patio in the back. I’m also partial to Birchwood Kitchen (2211 W. North Ave., 773-276-2100), particularly the grilled cheddar and out-of-this-world chocolate chip cookies.
You have an eye for good style and design. Where do you shop in the neighborhood?
AF: Very Best Vintage (1919 W. Chicago Ave., 312-226-5530) is one of my favorite secret spots for great vintage on the cheap. I love having Sprout Home (745 N. Damen Ave., 312-226-5950) a stone's throw away, [also] The Painted Lady (2130 N. Damen Ave., 773-489-9145) and Post 27 (1818 W. Grand Ave., 312-829-6122).
What is one of your most recent finds?
AF: The Erie St. Market bodega sign—it reminds me of my time spent in Toledo, Ohio and my family there.
If you are leaving Ukrainian Village, where are you headed?
AF: I will always venture to Chalk (2611 Prairie Ave., 847-424-0011) in Evanston, and to The J.Parker [rooftop of Hotel Lincoln] (1816 N. Clark St., 312-254-4747)—what a view
What Dosers have been scouted from your own neighborhood?
AF: This side of town is rife with talent. We've got Tara from Sprout Home Chicago, Jesse at Star Lounge/Dark Matter, Autumn and Brian from Sir and Madame, Angela from Post 27, Jessica whipping up gelato at Black Dog, Emily from Sweet Cakes, and Mariano and his crazy-cool collection at Agent Gallery, just to name a few.