Black BizFashion & StyleTrendsetta

TrendSetta: Closet Hippie – Girl Power In Business And Fashion

Cora’s Closet owner Norel Austin poses with one of her boutique’s fashions

The Lacuna Art Studio Lofts were all a buzz on October 13th with the weekend buzz of business. From hair salons to music studios, art and creative flowed through the hallways and floors of the maze-like mall for urban hipsters. Among the community of businesses is the grand opening of Cora’s Closet, a new woman’s boutique in the University Village area of Chicago, IL. Owner and stylist Norel Austin invited me to the event and I got a chance to learn about how this young sistah got her business off the ground.

Austin studied Finance in school, but like many in the fashion industry, styling and clothing have always been passions of hers. Friends and family would always come to Austin asking for fashion advice and then the stylist within her blossomed. “I love bringing life to people through [fashion],” says Austin “I’m not a designer but I can help people put looks together.” Her goal? To dress every woman.  The jewelry and clothing/accessories in Cora’s Closet range from $8 to $69, making it affordable for the young and budding fashionista to the seasoned primadonna. One of the popular pieces is a two piece tweed blazer and short set, totaling under $100.

“I want customers to feel at home in their closet,” says Austin. The boutique, named after Austin’s grandmother, is intimately spaced yet fun to be in and Austin’s energy and passion make the experience for all shoppers a positive one. The grand opening event featured Chicago style house music, wine and sweets for attendees. The stylist/owner loves to style women with pieces that are easy to transition from day to night, work to after 5 set, etc. Her recommendations for fall trends are: faux leather everything, houndstooth, and spikes, all three trends available in Cora’s Closet.

Tiffany Carter of Hippie in Me poses with her paintings

Austin shares her space with family friend and fellow entrepreneur, Tiffany Carter, owner of Hippie in Me art gallery. Friends for over 10 years, the pair collaborated on art and boutique style shopping for a one of a kind experience. Carter’s paintings, portraits and other graphic pieces decorate the walls of the boutique, reminiscent of popular culture of hair products to Harold’s fried chicken. Carter is also talented with fashioning handmade earrings and jewelry pieces from painted leather and other mixed media for unique and dramatic statement accessories. It’s a great thing to see black women support each other’s business goals and artistic dreams.

Blogger’s favorite: burnt orange and faux leather top with cut-out in the back

For a look at what’s new at the boutique, go to or Follow on Twitter and Instagram: @Coras_Closet. You can follow the creative art and jewelry of Tiffany Carter through Instagram and Facebook: @hippie_in_me

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Tatianah Green

Tatianah Green