Until I was contacted about the STYLEMAX event, I had no idea what it was – for good reason. STYLEMAX is an event that is not open to the public, rather, just for retailers and buyers. Over 800 retailers and over 1,000 buyers descended on STYLEMAX in Chicago’s Merchandise Mart for four days. Their mission? Either to sell or buy clothing. The bulk of buyers were owners of small boutiques or online stores, looking to scope out the best trends for fall and spring.

These buyers set up appointments with the retailers there (there were endless rows on rows of booths where brands set up!) to go through their new collections and spend their budget on wholesale clothing to resell at their business. It’s the nuts and bolts of how fashion is run.

For the first time ever, STYLEMAX opened up a Blogger Bar and invited a select number of us to participate in the event. However, instead of buying or selling, we were scoping out the best new trends and newest hot brands. Take a look at my visual trip through STYLEMAX, including the newest brands you have to find (at a boutique near you!).

STYLEMAX at Merchandise Mart.
WCBC Blogger Bar
Spot yours truly!
All Black (1)
All Black AW15.
All Black (3)
All Black AW15. I’m obsessed with these shoes!
All Black (2)
All Black AW15.

All Black is one of my new favorite shoe brands. I hadn’t heard of them previously, but getting up close and personal with their shoes changed my mind! How fabulous is that tennis shoe?

BCBG Generation (2)
BCBG Generation.
BCBG Generation (5)
All Black AW15. Note the great fur texture on this bag.
BCBG Generation (4)
BCBG Generation.
BCBG Generation (3)
BCBG Generation.

I had a great conversation with the lovely ladies from BCBG Generation. As you can see, they have a lot to offer with their new collection – so be sure to find it in stores. One of the things we remembered is that almost every girl has a memory of their first BCBG dress. For me, and for many others, it was a highschool homecoming dress that first brought be to BCBG.

The biggest trend for fall and into spring is going to be textureRegardless of what kind of color you are wearing, neutrals or neon, the texture is going to set you apart.

Esley (1)
Esley Collection
Esley (2)
Esley Collection

I was obsessed with Esley Collection immediately, mainly due to their incredibly adorable booth space. Some of their tweed dresses and evening wear look very Jackie-O, which is what I’m always going for.

French Connection (1)
French Connection.
French Connection (4)
French Connection.
French Connection (3)
French Connection.
French Connection (2)
French Connection. Again – took at all of the different textures!

You’re going to be sick of me saying the word ‘texture’ before this post is over. The texture at French Connection was unreal – especially in this fringed, beaded dress and leather jacket with fur trim.

FRNCH. A fur hooded jacket without insane, figure ruining padding?! Sold.

FRNCH was one of my favorite brands of the entire day at STYLEMAX. Between the neutral color scheme and clean lines, they were a minimalist dream. I’m genuinely surprised that I hadn’t ever heard of them before – the quality of the clothing was incredible.

I really hit it off with the lovely men who were in charge of the FRNCH booth, and I highly recommend you keep an eye on this brand!

Lucy Paris (1)
Lucy Paris. This dotted and striped top was actually seen on Gigi Hadid!
Lucy Paris (4)
Lucy Paris
Lucy Paris (3)
Lucy Paris. Can I have an occasion to wear this top & skirt combo, please?
Lucy Paris (2)
Lucy Paris

Lucy Paris was another favorite, right up there with FRNCH, as one of my favorite brands of the day. Lucy Paris has actually been spotted on Gigi Hadid before, so it’s already queued up as sartorial perfection.

Their embrace of pattern was the most refreshing element, as they played with an overall neutral color scheme without being boring.

Nu Demark (2)
Nü Denmark.
Nu Denmark (3)
Nü Denmark.
Nu Denmark (1)
Nü Denmark.

Nü Denmark was potentially one of the most surprising finds of the day. Both editorially stunning and easy to wear on the street, the Nü Denmark brand was a new one to me!

The lovely agent working with Nü Denmark was able to walk me through the line, and immediately I was impressed with the range and quality of fabrics used. Instead of your traditional cotton or spandex blend, the wide variety of fabrics created texture, tailoring, and lines that made Nü Denmark an architectural dream.

Step away from the H&M – definitely be sure to check out some of these brands when shopping at a local boutique near you, or check them out online.