For Dana Hamblen of Chicken Lays an EGG, Northside is Cincinnati’s “vintage capital,” but Chicken offers residents and visitors to the neighborhood more than simply vintage clothing and housewares from the 1950s-90s. The shop has, like Hamblen herself, an eclecticism that draws on fashion, performance art, and installation. Chicken is, in many ways, a shop like no other.
A Cincinnati native, Hamblen is a self-described “dabbler” in the local music scene who named Chicken after a music video she wrote about a young hipster couple. (“Chicken” is slang for a cute or sexy young boy or girl.) Although now in Northside, Chicken began as a Saturday only fashion gallery in Camp Washington; Hamblen says of the shop in its new location that the storefront has “amazing display windows” – ideal given Chicken’s unique niche and presence among Northside vintage shops.
Perhaps you’ve seen Hamblen and her Chicken team at the fourth of July parade in Northside or at the most recent Northside Summer Streets festival. Likely a product of her interests in styling, fashion shows, and performance art, Hamblen proudly acknowledges Chicken’s reputation as a “creative visual spectacle” at neighborhood events and encourages residents to “express [themselves], be creative, [and] don’t be afraid to stand out or be ridiculous.”
Hamblen and her staff certainly don’t shy away from creativity and expression; for Hamblen, it is Chicken’s aesthetic that she has worked to maintain, with a “brand video” in the works within the next three to five years. Other goals for the shop include an online store, continued work on Chicken’s participation in the fourth of July parade, and “more collaborative fashion shows.” Hamblen is clear that despite Chicken’s niche among vintage shops, shop owners in Northside are a “unified front” and are supportive of one another’s businesses. Hamblen went on to say that she is “eager to send out-of-towners to check out Casablanca and NVISION.” It is no surprise given their collaboration as shop owners that Hamblen desires to have fashion shows more inclusive of Northside’s diverse vintage scene.
Hamblen’s collaborative spirit and pride in Northside are evident in her goals for the neighborhood as well. Not only does Hamblen urge residents to shop local, but she also encourages them to “support the neighborhood [and] be nice to each other.” What Hamblen wants for Northside, ultimately, is for residents to “build a better place to live and grow in our neighborhood.” Residents interested in helping to grow Chicken can visit the shop Wednesday-Saturday from 12-6, on Sunday from 12-4, and on Second Saturdays until 10 PM.
For More Info:
Stop In: 4178 Hamilton Avenue
Call: (513) 834-9268
By Alisa Balestra