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In a serious blow to Chicago's growing credibility in the fashion industry, Maria Pinto has closed up her West Loop retail shop and is apparently dismantling her design business as well. The Sun-Times, in an odd bit of passive voice, reported that "it was expected that Pinto would seek protection in a bankruptcy filing early this week."
That's got to be daunting for local designers who don't yet have her level of name recognition or high-end clientele. We don't know the details of what happened—other than that the economy is still flatlining and a lot fewer folks have the cash for extremely expensive clothes—but if she can't make it here, the inevitable question is, who can? And what will the city say now to entice its fashion program grads to stay in town?