Best Local Designer Making Something New Out of Something Old

Alma Wieser

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An avid researcher of fashion and art history, Alma Wieser takes classic ideas and translates them into original contemporary designs for her line, Renovar. She got her start back in junior high, when she altered vintage garments to suit her sophisticated taste, and currently offers a lower-priced line of reworked vintage items, but her latest high-end collection—inspired by legendary Vogue editor Diana Vreeland—also includes new items. Her aesthetic is "complex simplicity," clothes that seem minimal but have an elaborate construction. Prices range from $150 to $2,500, but if you're in need of a more affordable vintage fix, Wieser sells a well-curated selection of second-hand clothes, accessories, and jewelry at Heaven Gallery in Wicker Park, a nonprofit art space she runs with her husband, Dave Dobie. Don't be put off by the poorly crafted sign on the door: up those stairs you'll find the perfect pieces for that swanky event you have to attend.


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