Miss A Columnist

Frances Bridges loves adventure, so when she graduated from Purdue she packed everything she owned into her Jeep and moved to Chicago. An aspiring journalist, Frances came to Chicago in search of good food, and interesting people and places to write about. You will usually find her drinking coffee or a cocktail while writing for her blog or reading one of the gazillion books in her bag. Besides reading and writing Frances loves playing with her furry friends at PAWS Chicago, watching Purdue sports, getting lost in Chicago, travelling, and trying to run marathons. If you have a Chicago charity, or cultural event, exhibit, restaurant, concert, speaker, or festival you would like covered on Miss A, please contact Frances at fbridges10@gmail.com.

When Chicago Met Sally…Schwartz: Founder of Randolph Street Market

Photo Credit: Carol Fox & Associates


People like Sally Schwartz aren’t usually nice.

She is the creator and executive producer of the Randolph Street Market and Modern Vintage, both now Chicago fashion institutions. They have been called, “one of the top three vintage shows in the country,” “the mecca of cool,” and “the Barney’s of vintage,” according to her web site.  Stereotypically, her personality should be between a Blair Waldorf and a Miranda Priestly- a dictator of taste with an ego as tall as Hancock tower and a stiletto-sharp manner. But in an industry full of celery-stick personalities, Sally is a cinnamon roll.

“I’ve always loved fashion, and jewelry, I’ve always loved shopping,” said Schwartz. “I went to flea markets in other cities but there were none in Chicago. Why did we have to go to some cornfield for good vintage things? That’s what started Randolph Street Market.”

When people become trendsetters they usually leave  Chicago for New York or LA, but Sally stayed, and like any good Chicagoan who’s worth the salt our sidewalks need, she thinks the Chicago shows are the best.

“I think the Chicago shows are better because they have the range and the quality. We have people who go into estates, we collect vintage dealers, they are the ones that are the pickers they are also the ones who are the repairers, they take such good care of the pieces they present. There are pieces that are expensive, but there are pieces that aren’t. Buyers from other vintage stores come in, they’re buying to resell- and you know the prices are damn good when vendors are coming in to buy and resell.”

Schwartz is a very loyal Chicagoan, but gushes at the possibility of expanding her business, “You know what? That’s a good question! I’ve been thinking about it and I think it could work in other cities, it would be really cool to do it in another city,” said Schwartz. “I don’t know if I want to tell you where I want to do it yet! It’s not going to be New York or LA though.”

No one has to twist Sally’s arm for tips, she spills out fashion advice like it fell out of her purse- there’s always one more thing. “One thing, I would try it on, see how it fits. I would also look at the lining amd see how it works on the inside, and I would bring cash. When you have cash in hand, it’s always handy,” said Schwartz. “Oh also be sweet and gracious. Because people who sell vintage clothing are really nostalgic and sentimental. If you’re nice, they want you to have it.”

The Randolph Street Market Festival is right around the corner! For dates and time click here.


Season Opener:
Saturday, May 28, 2011 10:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m.
Sunday, May 29, 2011 10:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m.


Regular Season Market Address is 1350 Block West Randolph and 1340 W. Washington Street between Ada & Ogden The event can be accessed via two gates: Randolph Street gate, and Washington Street gate. Both gates are bordered by Ada Street on the East and Ogden Avenue on the West.


1. Free Street Parking around the perimeter of the event and side streets
2. Valet Parking Service right at the Randolph Street gate, $10 per car
3. You can park at Water Tower Place and take the Free trolley. The trolley is only operational for the May through September indoor/outdoor markets — see departure times below.


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