AGE: 22. ORIGINALLY FROM: West Humbolt Park. LIVES IN: Logan Square. CLAIM TO FAME: Designer of local streetwear brand Goodsinners (Goodsinnersco.com), which launched in 2015 and debuts its latest collection this month. TWIST OF FATE: A student at Monmouth College, Bell was on track to make basketball a full-fledged career when he got word that his grandmother was killed in a car accident. He dropped out of school and came home to Chicago’s West Side to be with his family. “Basketball wasn’t playing out for me the way I thought it would,” he says. “My mother pushed me to try something else and see what happens.” So with more time on his hands, he started designing, working with local manufacturers to create a small brand. “Eventually, I began putting out samples and making clothes for fun, and I got a great response.” WHAT’S IN A NAME: “Coming from a really tough neighborhood in Chicago and going to a Catholic school, I got to see both sides of society, and I drew negatives and positives from both. You have to embrace the good even in the worst people in the world, and understand there’s bad even in the people who have it all.” IN STORE: The fall collection boasts T-shirts, flannels, jackets, joggers and hats, all hand-washed and treated for a worn-in vintage look. The line will also feature varsity letterman jackets, with patches dating back to the ’40s. It’s a true Chicago company: Bell works with a seamstress in Logan Square and buys materials from Fishman’s Fabrics in Printer’s Row. “It slows down the process, but I just want to be true to Chicago,” he says. SOCIAL INFLUENCE: Bell attributes much of Goodsinners’ success not only to his small team — which includes a photographer, graphic designer and a few brand ambassadors — but to social media, where he’s grown a fan base of nearly 13,000 followers on Instagram (@goodsinners). “It’s helped us connect with people all over the world,” he says — and he’s had orders from as far as Japan. Influential followers of the brand include artists like Sean Kingston and rapper Lil Twist. DREAM AWAY: “I want to grow Goodsinners to be one of the biggest streetwear brands to ever come out of Chicago,” Bell says. “I want a million people to have a Goodsinners shirt in their closet. It’s kind of a stretch, but I think it’s possible.”
Photos by Ramzi Dreessen; Shot on location at WeWork, 332 S. Michigan
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