Wednesday, April 14, 2010
The Daily Northwestern
By Christina Walker
Published: Tuesday, April 13, 2010
Updated: Tuesday, April 13, 2010
Imagination lies simply at the touch of one’s finger at Vogue Fabrics, where an impressive assortment of beads, buttons and fabric cover the massive 28,000 square-foot space. The Evanston fabric store’s history has spanned three generations since it opened in 1945. But Vogue hasn’t always offered the seemingly limitless selection it does today. People once stood outside the store knocking on the window and asking to buy a single spool of thread. Now it offers designer-quality fabrics for virtually every occasion.
“That’s the unique thing about fabric,” says Sean Sussman, owner of Vogue Fabrics. “There’s no one thing or one dynamic that we cater to. We try to encompass everything.”
When Sussman’s grandfather finished his military term at the end of World War II, he started buying fabric from New York and selling it out of the back of his car. When he saw the high demand, he stopped selling solely to seamstresses and dressmakers. It’s been in the family ever since.
A vibrant sea of color lines the walls, offering customers rows and rows of high-end silk, cashmere, suede, faux fur and fashion, bridal and organic fabrics. While some fabrics are inexpensive, others are priced at over $80 a yard. Vogue’s specialty is the individuality of their pieces. Sussman travels to New York to buy from different cutting houses, often finding one-of-a-kind pieces as short as 10 yards.
Dale Elikan, an employee at Vogue for nearly 20 years, has witnessed the store’s growth, especially in the bridal department. She’s also seen very elaborate dresses, including one hand-adorned with 15,000 beads.
While Vogue Fabrics may seem a small chain in Chicagoland, it’s one of the biggest fabric stores in the nation. Its online store has helped it grow tremendously; now, its fabric is purchased globally. Vogue offers bridal experts, sewing lessons and even home decorating services. With little advertising, Sussman is a strong believer in word of mouth.
“Our success is because of our customers,” Sussman says.