Award-winning Chicago fashion designer Lauren Lein wins two grants, creates a controversial socially conscious fashion collection, and challenges environmental concerns with her brilliant first-ever digital butterfly print used to create To Primp a Butterfly.
Lauren Lein won Chicago’s DCASE Individual Artist Grant & a grant from a donor who wishes to remain anonymous. She wasted no time in creating her first-ever socially conscious women’s fashion collection, which not only has a strong, current social message, but also a very timely message about the environment and butterflies. The collection recently premiered at the progressive Heartland Café in East Rogers Park. Owner Tom Rosenfeld introduced Lauren to the boisterous crowd. Rapper Monotone of Elephant Rebellion provided provocative entertainment, and said, “This is an important collection that directly ties fashion, art, and current social themes together.”
If anyone believes fashion is just about ‘looks’, Lauren Lein begs to differ. “To Primp a Butterfly was inspired by the movie and music in the movie, 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.” For the Heartland Show Lauren used models from ages 12-75 from the community, embracing diversity of body type and ethnicity.
Lauren’s next collection, EndangerUS will focus on environmental issues that she is also excited to draw attention to through her wearable fashions.
A 25-year veteran of Chicago fashion, Lauren recently sold her home (Straight Out Of River North) moved her office to two new locations in Rogers Park and Michigan Avenue, and is eagerly looking at bringing her winning collections to high-end stores and boutiques—where she was in the past, along with providing her global private clients with unique custom suits and gowns.
Lauren has won awards, taught 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.” Lauren has also donated time and money to organizations that help women who are sex-trafficked in Chicago, the state of Illinois, and globally; 5% of To Primp a Butterfly proceeds go to TraffikFree.org.