Chicago’s Newest Men’s Shop Redefines ‘Custom’ Gear

CONSORTIUM is 100% bespoke, from clothes to bags to cologne

The word “custom” gets thrown around a little too liberally in menswear circles these days.

Futzing around with a digital color-palette tool and thowing a monogram on the heel of a sneaker alone is not custom. But the goods you’ll find at CONSORTIUM — which just found a Chicago home in Lincoln Park — are.

The bespoke conglomerate was born in NYC in 2017 with the goal to “democratize customization, and make custom products accessible to everyone.” Their latest business channel achieves that by partnering with bespoke companies and offering a revolving rotation of their quality goods from a single storefront.

The Chicago branch of this venture is located inside Lincoln Park’s custom leatherer Laudi Vidni, making it CONSORTIUM’s first permanent partner store. It’s a different setup from the New York location we previously covered; CONSORTIUM only takes up a small corner of the Laudi Vidni storefront, and featured brands are displayed on tables and clothing racks.

The result is the kind of place you’d expect Tom Haverford and Donna Meagle to either own, or shop at. There are fine leather travel goods by Saintly, custom denim by Jeanuine (pronounced Ginuwine) and a build-your-own-scent station by Olfactory NYC (Dennis Feinstein be damned!).

And even if you’re not catching the Parks and Recs references, there’s still reason to stop in and TREAT YOSELF. (Last one. Promise.)

Consortium Custom Store Chicago (2 images)

Why You Should Go

Laudi Vidni and CONSORTIUM have partnered for the holidays to create a sort of one-stop shop for custom-made gifts. If you aim to give quality pieces but also crave efficiency, you’ll find items for everyone on your list in a single place, which is conveniently located in your new favorite leather store (don’t sleep on Laudi Vidni: they released their men’s line last year and the products, process and prices get it right).

Not concerned about holiday shopping but are the type of person who wants a hand in the design of the things you wear and carry? This men and women’s bespoke marketplace is perfect for you.

Keep in mind that if the current roster of custom options isn’t quite what you’re looking for, watch the space for new offerings. CONSORTIUM has already partnered with 10 brands (including shoes and watches), and plans to build that up to 50 over the next year, so expect the Chicago location to swap out labels in a few months.

Consortium Custom Store Chicago (2 images)

How to Shop

Appointments are not required for the Chicago shop.

While I was in the store I witnessed a business traveler stop in, identify a dopp kit he liked, pick a color and pay in under 10 minutes. For the more sartorially inclined, process lover or perfectionist, it could take you closer to an hour to pore over your options and make final selections.

And be aware that with custom pieces, production time is always a consideration. The current four brands require the following lead times:

  • Olfactory is bottled in the store, same day
  • Saintly ships within 2-3 weeks
  • Jeanuine ships within 4-6 weeks
  • Laudi Vidni ships within 3-5 weeks

In the custom game, slow and steady very much wins the race.

All images via CONSORTIUM

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