Sarah Ryan 2014-11-27 23:31:48
IT'S A BRANDNEW BAG BRIDGET MCDERMOTT'S 84ROCKWELL LAUNCHES WITH A LOCALLY MADE, EDGY LOOK. Bridget McDermott, founder of new Chicago company 84Rockwell, is not afraid to make a statement. Take her debut bag, the Xrossover ($395): Not many might boldly launch their brand with a belt bag (she avoids the term "fanny pack," she says, like the plague), but there is more to this piece than meets the eye. The convertible bag can be worn three ways-on the hip, across the back or slung over the shoulder-and it definitely stands out, which is exactly what McDermott intended. "I wanted 84Rockwell to be known for this bag, something hands-free with organized compartments that would embody my brand's goal-to simplify the complex woman," McDermott says. And the complex, busy woman is something McDermott knows well- the mother of three held a demanding production position at Oprah prior to starting 84Rockwell. McDermott has taken cues from her former boss, delving into every aspect of her new business ("If I could tell every girl coming out of college to work for Oprah and learn from her, I would," she says emphatically). From sketching to choosing the leather and hardware to testing each prototype, McDermott does it all-in fact, she inspects each bag personally before sending it out. "I'm all about quality because I would want that quality," she says. For McDermott, 84Rockwell-named for her childhood home's cross streets on the South Side-was an opportunity to help grow Chicago's fashion scene by producing her bags locally. "It is more difficult to produce here than it is in New York or L.A. But I've been in love with Chicago my entire life, and I'm a huge proponent of creating industry here," she says. Eventually, she would like to have her own manufacturing facility that would have space for others trying to launch fashion ventures. McDermott's mission and 84Rockwell are fitting right in, it seems, with the bags already stocked at fashion hot spot VMR, Runway in Deerfield and Juniper Boutique in Northbrook, with more to come. McDermott believes the bag and the brand suit the city. "The Chicago woman is who she is and owns it. And if you are wearing this bag on your hip, you are flowning it," she says. "My other products will never be too conservative or too structured. They will always [have] a coolness and an edge." She's right-that sounds just like us. 84rockwell.com LOCAL LUXURY From top: 84Rockwell founder Bridget McDermott is building her brand in her beloved hometown; McDermott's first handbag, the Xrossover ($395), can be worn three ways.
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