Introducing: NorthernGRADE Chicago

For as long as there’s been a NorthernGRADE, I’ve been a fan of it. Launched back in 2010 by Pierrepont Hicks and J.W. Hulme, the Minnesota-based event has grown from an intimate gathering of American-made-o-philes to a full-on menswear mecca. And now, it’s coming to Chicago. I’ve had the great privilege and pleasure of working directly with PPH to co-produce the Chicago premiere of the pop-up, and if I do say so myself, it’s shaping up to be quite an event.

We’re holding it on Saturday, October 27th at Open Secret Studios, a new event space in the city’s West Loop neighborhood. There’s going to be a solid mix of local and national brands, and every single product there will be guaranteed made in the USA. A full breakdown of our vendors is below. In addition to the brands / stores listed, we’re also going to have beer from Half Acre and coffee from Stumptown. If you’re in the city, or nearby, it would be great to see you there.


One of the city’s best spots to get your grown man on, Haberdash is a Chicago menswear staple, and we’re proud to have them not only as a vendor, but as a sponsor too. Also, rumor has it they’ll be serving food from local restaurant Pecking Order in their booth.


If you live in Chicago, and you care about clothes, then you’ve been to Penelope’s. One of the city’s most beloved boutiques, and NGCHI’s other beloved sponsor, the store is just as much of a go-to now as it was when it opened almost a decade ago.


A new name in the US-made menswear game, Inland is a Chicago-based online retailer that specializes in – get this – affordable American clothing. And yes, he will have a re-up of those Bartlett Yarns sweaters ya’ll went so crazy for a few weeks back.

Sir & Madame

One of the few brands that’s not only based here, but also makes here too, Chicago’s Sir & Madame will be on hand with their new FW12 collection. No word on whether or not they’ll have their ridicu-cute kids with them too, but fingers crossed they will.

Winter Session

Good friends, and makers of some of my favorite bags ever, Chicago’s Winter Session will have their just-released FW12 range in tow. And trust me when I tell you, that’s something to be very excited about.


Of course, we couldn’t do a made in USA event in Chicago without Independence, the city’s only 100% all-American-everything store. Not only will Independence be there, but so will the store’s founder’s other brand…

Oak Street Bootmakers

Oak Street Bootmakers. That’s right, we’ve got a George Vlagos double-feature, so come early to beat the crowds.

Field Notes

The paper goods company of choice for heritage-heads, design-nerds and pretty much everyone else who cares about what the things they use look like, Field Notes makes notebooks that are almost too handsome to write in.


NorthernGRADE’s “in-house” denim brand, Tellason has been a NG fixture for a few years now. If you have yet to go hands-on with a pair of the label’s jeans, which are without question some of the best on the market, this’ll be a great opportunity to finally do so.

Stormy Kromer

Known for their iconic headwear, Wisconsin’s Stormy Kromer has recently expanded their line to include rock-solid outerwear and accessories, and they’re going to be bringing all of it to Chicago.

Archival Clothing

What initially began as one of my favorite blogs, is now one of my favorite bag makers (and sweatshirt makers, and belt makers, and hat makers, and – you get the idea). I can’t say enough good things about Archival Clothing.

Heritage Bicycles

The good folks from Chicago’s Heritage Bicycles will be providing complimentary valet bike parking for all cyclists. They’ll also have a number of their handmade-in-Chicago bikes with them, as well as coffee from Stumptown.

MidNorth Mercantile

MidNorth Mercantile is a vintage merchant that specializes in all things Americana. Expect drool-worthy pieces from Woolrich, Pendleton, L.L.Bean, and a number of other OG brands.

Corter Leather

Eric Heins, aka Corter Leather, is as inspiring as he is affable. A modern day Midas, the twenty-something wunderkind continues to top himself with each new release. Not only will he be at the event, he’ll be set-up to custom size belts on the spot.

Portland General Store

Makers of the best smelling shave products I’ve ever used, Maine’s Portland General Store will have their full line-up of shave creams, colognes, soaps and myriad other grooming goodies.

Red Wing Heritage

A brand that needs no introduction, Red Wing Heritage has been a part of NorthernGRADE since the beginning, and we couldn’t be happier to have them keeping the tradition alive in Chicago.

Locally Grown

Iowa’s Locally Grown offers an array of state-centric logo tees, every one of which is designed and printed in the USA using eco-friendly inks.

Drift Eyewear

Drift Eyewear is new brand from Chicago that makes luxury eyeglass frames out of reclaimed wood. And according to the brand’s devotees, of which there are many, every pair is a work of art.

Pierrepont Hicks

And of course, what NorthernGRADE would be complete without event founders Pierrepont Hicks and their stunning neck and bow ties? If you’ve been ogling their new fall collection (I know I have), this’ll be a great chance to grab a piece (or ten) in person.

Open Secret Studios is located at 401 N. Racine Ave. Doors open Saturday October 27th at 10:00 am. I hope to see you there.