Chicago style cannot be defined but it’s undoubtedly recognized. It encompasses Chicago culture, and artistic flare that can only be found from the streets of the city itself. Since 2013Taylor St. has been the home of Mint, a clothing store that has been making a name in the Chicago scene. I was able to interview Mint owner, Marco DiPaolo,to find out what Mint was all about, and its contribution to Chicago fashion.
Tell us about yourself! Who are you, where are you from?
My name is Marco DiPaolo. I’m 20 years old and I’m from Taylor St. in Little Italy. I went to Saint Ignatius across the street and have always lived and worked in the neighborhood
What made you want to open Mint?
I was in college for a bit majoring in business but I didn’t really enjoy being stuck in a classroom all day. I felt like I was capable of more than what my grades were, so I decided to drop out to start my own business. My brother helped me out a lot throughout the process; we started as a custom t-shirt store and then got into retail. I’ve always been interested in fashion and making t-shirts, so that’s what keeps me motivated. I was never interested in history or science or math, so it was hard for me to put effort in school towards something I didn’t care about. Since I like what I’m doing it really doesn’t feel like work.
How is Mint different compared to other clothing stores in Chicago?
Mint is different than other clothing stores because of the wide range of brands we carry. A lot of street wear stores only carry their own brand or a few others. I think people like Mint because theirs a wide variety of choices. There is also a lot of art and color in the store, so I think people like the layout of the store as well.
Do you design any of the clothing?
I do design our in house brand Mint but I have some really great graphic designers who actually turn my ideas into virtual art.
What brands do you carry?
We carry around 30 brands, the more popular ones we carry are Mitchell & Ness, DBM, Crooks and Castles
What is the vibe you want Mint to give off?
A creative spot for creative people. I’m really into design and want the store to reflect that. I want people to walk into the store and say there is not another spot that looks like this. We want to bring styles of clothing back, and make stuff that reflects our culture. We have had art shows, mixtape release parties and music videos at the store, we want this store to be a place where people are free to express themselves.
Do you have a favorite item or brand in the store right now?
I really like our in house brand hoodies the most. Some were designed by me, some were made by our graphic design team.
Where do you see yourself and Mint in the next 5 years?
Well since the business is two parts, retail and custom apparel, I see them both growing over time. We have already expanded a bit since we first opened in July. We do a lot of work with schools, fraternities, sororities, clubs, churches etc. So within the next 5 years I hope to have expanded the custom apparel side of the business while also getting the brand out there.
Click HERE to check out more of Mint’s apparel and follow Mint on Instagram @mintclothing