We all know the professional world can be stressful but developing your work wardrobe shouldn’t be. Work and clothing have always been complicatedly intertwined issues. The Lola Starter Kit strives to give women the confidence to continue to define what it means to be a modern woman in today’s changing world. To celebrate its launch, Maria Pinto has collaborated with five diverse, empowering women working to better their communities and five local, up-and-coming female photographers to create a photo essay that encapsulates everything the Lola collection stands for.
Amanda McLemore, sustainable food activist, chef (photographed by Jackie Robertson)
Passions: Sustainability, being compassionate, community and food, but that last one is a given. Current project: Nourish Thanksgiving, an online program built to create a more nourishing meal and community that are more sustainable and free of packaging. Sources of inspiration: My grandmothers and my mother. They knew and know how to dress and conquer the world at the same time. What fashion means to you: It is the expression of feeling comfortable in your own skin, being unapologetic about who you are. What you love about Lola: I love how comfortable it is and how the items don’t wrinkle. I often go from garden to kitchen to entertaining and these pieces are ready for all that my life throws at me.
Jen Giacchino, executive director/co-founder, Brave Initiatives Shot by Anna Heyward (photographed by Anna Heyward)
What drives you: I believe in a God who deeply loves and cares for humanity and that drives me to serve communities and girls who lack opportunity and face oppression. Current project: BraveCamp Expansion, which is on its way to becoming an international program, serving girls from Chicago to Santa Fe and across the ocean to Jakarta, Indonesia. How does fashion affect your mood: If I feel comfortable and free in my clothing, I am less distracted, and I can stay focused on the work I am doing. When I feel like I look good, it gives me the confidence to push through boundaries. What you love about Lola: I love that it is simple, versatile and most of all comfortable.
Casey Short, pro soccer player for the Chicago Red Stars (photographed by Gracie Hammond)
What drives you: My faith, my family and the opportunity to impact. Current project: Winning an NWSL championship for Chicago. What fashion means to you: Fashion is art and a way to express yourself. Style icon: Blake Lively. How does fashion affect your mood: Fashion gives me confidence, particularly when I’m going to an event or an interview. If I’m confident in my outfit, then it carries over into how I carry myself and I instantly feel more confident, interesting and creative. What you love about Lola: I love the sophistication yet comfort of the piece I wore. I also think the color is amazing.
Anna Russett, consultant/creator (photographed by Rena Colleen Naltsas)
Passions: Honesty, vulnerability, moments of human connection in a world in which many of us increasingly feel perpetually disconnected. Current project: I’m currently taking a pause from personal projects to take time to work on my mental health and my inner self, but I’m starting to feel the beginnings of exciting ideas swelling up within me. Sources of inspiration: YouTube videos with no views; nature; people who live life unapologetically and as vividly as possible; deep conversations with close friends. What you love about Lola: This piece is so incredibly comfortable and breathable, moves with my body, and makes me feel poised and put together but also still have the ability to run for a bus or climb a ladder to a rooftop in the city.
Hiba Bhatty, architect/comedian (photographed by Kim Kovacik)
Passions: I love problem-solving and realizing ideas through drawings, objects and structures; mentoring underrepresented students in the design field; sharing my experiences of a Pakistani-American Muslim through comedy; and sharing the beauty of Urdu (Pakistan’s national language). Current project: I just completed Convene at Citadel Tower; I am also writing, directing, and performing alongside my sister in a live rendition of our comedy duo "Unsibilized" at Steppenwolf Theater. Describe your personal style: Unapologetic, experimental, spunky, modest, eclectic, urban, nostalgic, and usually containing a trace of Pakistan. What you love about Lola: The collection is architectural, stunning, practical and effortless. Each piece has a unique element or detail that makes the piece strong enough to stand on its own but is collaborative enough that it can enhance the range of clothing I already own at home. The jacket gave me a presence that says, I am here, my ideas are valid, and I am a force to be reckoned with.
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