Laura Lein won two awards in 2016: Chicago’s DCASE Individual Artist and a grant from an anonymous donor. With the achievements, she immediately created her first-ever socially conscious women’s fashion collection.
The Chicago designer made headlines with the To Primp a Butterfly collection which she said was inspired by the movie and music from Straight Outta Compton.
“The black and white fabrics symbolize the current struggle and racial conflict, with the undertones of the butterflies and nature offering hope and unity—a rallying point for all of us,” she said at that time.
Lauren has won numerous awards, mentored interns, and served as president for three years in a row for the AIBI (Apparel Industry Board of Illinois). More importantly to her, she has worked to build self-esteem of young and older women alike, who often do not feel good about their bodies or appearance.
“The fashion industry often focuses on a certain body type that is proclaimed as beautiful, when in fact all women have beauty,” she argued.
Lauren has also donated time and money to organizations that help women who are sex-trafficked in Chicago, the state of Illinois and globally; five percent of To Primp a Butterfly proceeds go to TraffikFree.org.