May 16, 2019
November 21, 2018
Wetzel, a Chicagoland native, has more than 30 years of hands-on retail sales experience and merchandising experience. This ranges from specialty to department stores; for brands from Gap to Gucci. Lawson, a native of Denver, Colorado, is an attorney. In New York, he worked with brands such as American Express and theWalt Disney Company.The pair are also domestic partners. From 2004-2010, they conceptualized and ran Jake, a group of designer specialty stores in Chicago, with annual revenue topping 6 million dollars. Since the Spring of 2010, the duo have successfully run SPACE 519.SPACE 519 opened in 2010 as the first fully integrated, European-style, concept store in Chicago. For over seven years, owners Lance Lawson and Jim Wetzel have traveled the globe to assure that SPACE 519 continues to serve as the 'go-to' destination for savvy clients who appreciate fresh takes on the everyday.
Within SPACE 519 is The Lunchroom, a 40-seat lunch and brunch restaurant, with an all-day café, serving local favorite, Metric coffee, along with house made sweet scones, gourmet savory muffins, and pastries from Chicago bakery, pHlour. The Lunchroom menu features locally-sourced ingredients and focuses on vegetable forward, California style cuisine. The Lunchroom represents the final piece which brings a fully integrated European style concept store and restaurant to Chicago.
October 30, 2018
JW: Soyun, we are so beyond excited that you are coming to Chicago and bringing an amazing selection of goods. One reason I believe we have had so many years of success with SOYER is that it is a knit collection that really embraces a sexiness that feels modern and chic. What is your inspiration behind SOYER and the woman that you design for?
SS: I am SO excited to visit Chicago and meet the amazing clientele of women you’ve helped to make SOYER fans.
My inspiration behind the brand has always been simple-to make a woman feel an internal sense of confidence and a tactile feeling of coziness. She is sophisticated, smart, well-traveled and understands that luxury does not need to be about a label, but is a state of mind.
JW: One of the strengths of SOYER is the art of layering. What is your advice for the client that is just getting her feet wet with this sophisticated styling?
SS: The concept of 'knitwear dressing’ may be an unfamiliar one for a lot of women but the way I like to present the collection each season is to show how versatile the pieces can be. I keep the soft cashmere styles to be worn closest to the body and from there, offer layering options like cardigans and sweater jackets that build up the look. It's the ultimate way of modern, luxurious dressing. The ‘luxury' aspect is simply in that one can feel totally comfortable while knowing that she looks very chic, very put together.
JW: Being from Los Angeles, do you have a different take on sweaters and how women on the west coast dress for the seasons?
SS: In LA, a cardigan is considered the “LA jacket”. I think with the warmer weather in the west coast, women don’t always need ‘outerwear’ so to speak but still want to have that statement piece to finish their look. I like designing for that, a fully- fashioned cardigan that is designed to look like a ‘peacoat' for instance that may be perfect for the west coast woman, but, in the colder regions like Chicago, that sweater ‘peacoat' becomes a statement layering piece over and under something else.
JW: What are you excited about in your trip to Chicago, and meeting you client base in the Midwest?
SS: I’ve never been to Chicago, so I am very excited, not only to see this historical city but truly engage with the client base that SPACE 519 has cultivated. I’m curious to know who they are, what they love, what they get excited about.
As a designer, it’s essential for me to not only understand how the line is received and worn by the end clients but also to discover who they are individually and how each of them feels about her signature style, what makes her feel confident and elevated.
JW: Another brilliant moment of SOYER is that it works for many body types across the board. Is that something you take into consideration when you design?
SS: Absolutely! Women are very aware and know their bodies, what silhouettes work for them and make them feel confident. It’s absolutely essential to offer a variety of cuts and silhouettes within a collection, not only for a body type but simply for a mood. Somedays call for a great, oversized boyfriend cardigan and other days a sexy, feather light cashmere pullover.
JW: What are you really digging in Los Angeles?
SS: LA is really opening up as a city. It’s finally becoming a very walkable city, especially Downtown LA. I love how so much of the old historical buildings are finally becoming occupied with really, really good restaurants, underground bars and the occasional cool but elusive speakeasy, art galleries, actual brick and mortar retail shops that stay open past 2 pm… these are all things that may sound typical to Chicago or New York, but here in LA, especially in the last 5 years, it’s quite new and novel to us Angelenos.
October 26, 2018
SPACE 519’s own Jim Wetzel, co-owner and style guru, talks about one of the biggest trends in ready to wear—the matched set.
First, can you clarify what a modern matched set is?
Two pieces that are made out of the same fabrication that are worn together. People immediately think suiting, but it’s not. Think of a beautiful peplum top with a long skirt, a blouse and wide leg pant, or pajama dressing with a matching top and bottom.
It can go many different ways, from menswear inspired to the modern lady.
Why do you feel that now designers are showing matched sets?
There is a throwback to the 50s, especially with the European designers like Prada and Delpozo. Designers are reminiscing about a more ladylike moment, for example Clare Waight Keller for Givenchy, she took the brands edge back to a softer silhouette.
What about the matched set, is the modern woman drawn to?
The matched set provides a lot of diversity. The pieces of these matched sets can be broken apart and the blouse can go with a jean-that’s a great weekend outfit. Or, the skirt can be paired with a cashmere sweater and boots.
Matched sets also lend themselves to a woman on the go. When you are traveling you have this beautiful put together outfit, but you can quickly break it apart, add two or three pieces at the most, and you have a multidimensional travel wardrobe.
How are you styling this new trend?
If you have a matched set in a solid color, then it is begging for statement accessories. You can take a great earring, or statement necklace, and pair it with this long column of color.
Or, if you are doing a print set that is matched or unmatched, to break it up, a wide belt at the waist would be beautiful.
Then, it is fun to play with shoes. You are already set with the two pieces, no pun intended, to do a statement shoe, and it makes sense. Even if you are doing pattern on pattern, because you don’t have all of these different elements fighting. A floral blouse and skirt, which reads like a dress, paired with a statement shoe is on point.
Tibi Pre-Spring 2019
At SPACE 519 what matched sets are you looking forward to and why?
We always have a ‘set’ moment at SPACE 519. But for Pre-Spring in particular, which is arriving any day, there are a handful of lines that come to mind.
Asceno, based out of London, does the pajama dressing trend very well. A heavy gauge silk set, paired with a pointed high heel, feels so elegant and effortless. In the past these set have sold out almost immediately and have become a staff favorite.
Another master of the matched and unmatched set is La Double J. Often times La Double J will pair crazy patterns together, but we will go in and pull the same pattern to pair together-a paisley secretary blouse with a matching full skirt to make a dramatic set.
La Double J Pre-Spring 2019
Tibi also does a great set in a very modern way. Solid pieces on top of each other; but what makes it interesting are the shapes. The top might be oversized with and angled shoulder and the skirt might be a draped, a more body conscious skirt, but all in the same fabrication.
Tibi Pre-Spring 2019
Apiece apart is getting into the match game by doing a wide leg trouser with a matching long sleeve printed blouse.
June 20, 2018
Sitting down with Jim Wetzel, co-owner of SPACE 519, we talk about one of the biggest shifts in ready to wear fashion right now, denim. We talk styles and washes and why buying quality denim is worth your while.
After your market appointments, what are the new trends that you are seeing in denim?
After our last buying trips in Europe and New York we are certainly seeing a shift in denim to a wider leg and a higher rise. There is definitely a reference to the 70s American Sportswear movement a la Lauren Hutton.
Are there any cuts that you see fading out this season?
Super skinny and legging type jeans are feeling really forced, even a slimmer straight leg seems a little more dressed. None of the cool new designer denim lines are offering true skinny fits anymore.
But does the ‘not so skinny’ jean trend work on the average American woman?
The fit works on even more body types than a skinny fit because it emphasizes the smallest part, the waist, and helps to camouflage the thigh.
How are you styling this new trend?
We are seeing a ‘chic French’ blouse and jean moment. The rise is high, the tops are tucked, and the fabrics are softer; like a light wool crepe or a silk. For a shoe, in Paris, I definitely saw a wider crop jean with a pointy toe; weather it was a pointy toe flat or heel. For evening, women were wearing a great statement shoe in the vein of Gucci or Balenciaga; the wide leg of the jean tempers the extreme of the shoe.
At SPACE 519, with this new trend in mind, is there one style that is a good option for all body types?
Khaite has a new style called the Raquel that really works well across a lot of body types. The Raquel is very constructed, with a slim, cropped bootleg; this is a great way to do a modern denim without being restrained, like you would in a skinny jean. All Khaite jeans are made from Japanese denim which is higher quality, it holds it shape without stretching, and launders better so it is a great investment piece.
In this new trend do you favor a certain wash?
For summer we focused on a really light cream, versus an optic white, which is a little softer and a little more sophisticated. The light cream is a color you can take you into the Fall season, which makes it a better buy.