Coffee: The Unofficial Fashion Accessory

By Amanda Harth

Illustrations by Alanna Zaritz

I drink my coffee black. Occasionally I’ll add cream and sugar, but I prefer not to disrupt the natural flavor of the bean. I read an excerpt from an article written by a physiologist about people and coffee. They said people who prefer their coffee black are more likely to become serial killers. Clearly they’ve never worked with anyone in fashion.


Coffee is a unique consumptive sort of science that will always be in season. It’s a casual drink that’s accessible to multiple social classes, but if it’s brewed properly is a different matter. This drink is synonymous with hard work and early risers. Growing up the only coffee I knew of was Folger’s and I didn’t learn until recently how much my father loved coffee. At his previous job he ran a coffee club and brought in different roasts for his co-workers to try throughout the day. Over centuries of conducting experiments it has been discovered that coffee beans can be brewed in different ways to bring out different flavors in the bean. It has sense evolved into an unbranded global phenomenon and a drink of choice that can be costly at times. For a great cup of coffee, like fashion some people will spend a pretty penny for the best out there.

Coffee is the unofficial fashion accessory for our lives. This staple piece is associated with the people of fashion frequently. It’s all about pace in this industry and traditionally you have to keep up to eventually get ahead. As a designer you’ll spend hours reworking and evaluating a detail on a garment to ensure this is the right direction you want to go. Photoshoots can take hours to set up because the lighting has to be done right. Not to mention hair and makeup are not things that can be rushed if you want it done correctly. Fashion weeks around the world cycle through the same group of selected models for that season and that can be up to eight days in each city. Then there’s another fashion week to follow.

Don’t worry Starbucks is right around the corner and they open at 6am, right?


The pairing of fashion and coffee should be obvious, they’re both very old industries working to create and discover what will people be interested in next. That can take a lot of time. In February Ralph Lauren presented his S/S 19 collection in Ralph’s cafe-it closed two years ago and was reopened Fall 2018 to celebrate 50 years of the Ralph Lauren brand. Coffee was served as well as light treats for guests to enjoy while watching the fashion presentations. They presented the collection as a way to attract the next wave of Ralph Lauren customers. This drink has always been a part of our everyday, but over the past 10 years it’s been some sort of surge in coffee culture. In Chicago alone you could probably name three local coffee brands that you’ve either heard of or tried at some point. Then there are the blogs and social media influencers that have built their platform on their love for style and caffeine.


Is coffee vital to our lives? I don’t know, but I usually drink at least 3 cups during the week and that doesn’t include my pour over coffee I make at home on the weekends, so. You don’t need caffeine to see what’s next in the fashion, but a boost is always nice to help push your search a little longer.

Let’s continue the conversation on Saturday, April 13th! Join us at Big Shoulders Coffee at their Loop location for a coffee tasting from 11:00am to 2:00pm.

Amanda Harth