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Q&A: CHICAGO PLAYGROUND

Chicago Playground is a clothing line rooted in classic garment construction yet fueled with innovative energy. Founded by Rodnell Harris, Chicago Playground is a standing metaphor for the multitudinous avenues to success the "land of the go" is known to have. The brand represents expression that seeps through generations, and it goes further to praise the city via artistry.

Chicago Playgrounds signature styles are collegiate style letterman jackets and sweaters. Reinventing these classic silhouettes is a key in the brands development. These memorable molds are based on ancient principles of unity, passion, and excellence. The brand strives for inclusivity,aims to inspire an appreciation of the arts, and is a segment of designs molded for striving future leaders.

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AMFM: You used to be captain of the basketball team back in high school and are now designing a line inspired by your love of the game, how did you get into designing and why did you want to pursue creating your own sports inspired brand?

CHICAGO PLAYGROUND: Being a student of the game of basketball, I’ve always been a fan of the letterman and varsity jackets and the concept of how they represent one’s accomplishments along one’s journey; whether it be through high school or college. I got into designing 10 years ago by being inspired by how fashion moves on emotion based upon style. Going into building Chicago Playground, I wanted to build and create a brand that had substance. With the varsity and letterman jackets, I love how they tell a visual story amongst whomever is wearing the garments. It’s what I like to call a “conversation piece.”

AMFM: What is it about the letterman jacket or varsity sweater that holds value to you? why did you want to create this level of prestige available to everyone?

CHICAGO PLAYGROUND: The value in the letterman and varsity sweaters are the mere fact of how they represent what an individual is about, represents or is affiliated with. Having this style of clothing available to everyone was essential during its beginning stages of creativity, because again, it’s the average person who has a story to tell. I wanted to open the portal of one being complete when given the opportunity to design a piece which represents thyself.

AMFM: What did you learn playing sport that has helped you in running your own business or brand?

CHICAGO PLAYGROUND: What I’ve learned from playing sports in relation to running Chicago Playground is the aspect of having an undeniable “work ethic” toward the art; from the preparation, to execution. Being creative is another aspect I took from the basketball court to the fashion industry.

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AMFM: Your items are based on the principles of "unity, passion and excellence," why are these virtues important to you and how do they impact your work?

CHICAGO PLAYGROUND: Unity, passion and excellence are great virtues that I carry along thy journey. Leading toward success, having unity is essential because of the union that shall be created when organizing a team. The passion is the fuel and fire that leads to the experience of being creative; which is followed by the excellence of one seeing thy dream come into reality. This has proven the fact of how when the different talents of art come together, the sky is the limit, creating a masterpiece of whatever thy endeavors take one.

AMFM: What is the inspiration behind naming it Chicago Playground? What specifically about Chicago inspires you?

CHICAGO PLAYGROUND: Chicago Playground originated its name from the metaphoric aspect of seeing the city of Chicago as a “playground” within itself. A city where many talents are originated; back to when we were children having several different talents on the playground, and now as adults, we still possess those talents of art. Being I’m from Chicago, it’s more embedded in me, the different aspects of influence the city holds, whether it be from the likes of sports to music, and culture.

AMFM: Where do you like to "play" in Chicago metaphorically speaking? What are some things or places you like to go that you consider your playing grounds of life?

CHICAGO PLAYGROUND: My Playground is wherever the spirit leads me to connect with the “like-minds” along this journey...It starts from “within” thyself, which, I consider to be my playground. Because from “within” is where the truth lies of one being great and learning thyself through ones talent of art.

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PHOTO CREDITS: CHICAGO PLAYGROUND