Fashion and Lifestyle


Time to get inspired! Today Life Made Simple proudly features Chicago Fashion Designer Lara Miller. A Chicago native, Laura Miller attended the School of The Art Institute where she developed her niche for creating garments out of Eco-friendly materials. She conceptualized her garments to focus on versatility, and allowing women to “Wear it Your Way.” Lara’s focus is mainly on sweaters, but whatever the garment is, it can be wrapped, reversed, and flipped to reveal an entirely different look.

The Lara Miller line is manufactured in Chicago and her designs are strongly influenced by the city’s architectural and cultural landscape. An advocate to giving back to the community, Lara acknowledges the impact humans have on the environment.  By making clothes with Eco-friendly materials, Lara hopes to preserve and respect the Earth any way she can.

“I see my company as a way to support my community – not only by using organic materials while adhering to a “green” lifestyle and workspace – but also by manufacturing locally and working to sustain the sewn products industry in Chicago.”              

 

When she sketches, Lara uses recycled craft papers like O-tag paper, which is used for store tags on clothing or other products from companies like Henry Lee, who would normally throw away the surplus. During the design process, Lara draws the markers out herself onto scrap paper instead of sending her patterns off to be entered into computers and printed.  Lara donates the left over scrap paper  to Columbia College instructor Jamie Thorne to use in her paper making classes.

Lara Miller strives to use colors that are exclusively from low-impact reactive dyes in her designs, that use the least amount of petroleum by products and water possible. She has also been proactive in researching ways of using only natural dye sources, putting to practical use natural dying techniques that she learned in school.

View Lara’s Newspaper Dress for the do-gooder design project

Lara Miller incorporates organic cotton, hemp, vegan Ahimsa peace silk, organic wool, linen, lyocell, flax and soy fibers, hand-loomed bamboo and recycled organic cotton in her garments. Her favorite material to use is recycled cotton yarn that she gets from US-based company Jimtex. The yarn from this company is regenerated from post-industrial scraps from larger companies that make t-shirts and other cotton products. In re-using these scraps the need for growing more crops and using dyes is minimized and this significantly reduces the amount of waste that goes into our landfills.

“Being a ‘green’ company means much more to me than just using eco-friendly fibers. It means supporting the local economy and using the least amount of energy possible. It means using a local printer that only uses recycled paper and partially runs on wind power. It means giving back in every way that I can to my employees, my community, and the world.”

Lara Miller is an innovative pioneer who  is helping sustain our planet through her Eco-friendly designs. Life Made Simple acknowledges Lara Miller as “one” person making a difference and applauds her integrity, hard work and dedication to her community, fashion, and the Earth.

Information and pictures on Lara Miller retrieved from www.laramiller.net

Feature by Evie Pesheva

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This weekend I had the pleasure of working with Candy Kong, the International Manager for Lusan Mandongus, a bridal manufacturing company out of Hong Kong.  Candy is Chinese and has been living in Hong Kong and working for this company for almost eight years.  I have personally worked with Lusan Mandongus and Candy for about three years which is when the company started showcasing wedding gowns in the Chicago Bridal Market.  I model for the company annually usually in October for their Chicago and New York Bridal Markets, where I would showcase the bridal gowns to store owners from all over the world.  Through working for this company, I got to know the Bridal Industry and became close friends with Candy who exposed me to a side of the Chinese culture I knew nothing about.

I’m dedicating this post as a “shout out” to Lusen Mandongus in hopes of encouraging our readers to step out of the box and receive some knowledge on the marriage rituals of China, more precisely Hong Kong.

In Hong Kong Candy told us at LMS that weddings are anything but a simple event.  It’s a whole day celebration where women mainly get to flaunt their beauty by wearing four to five different dresses and “many many beautiful jewelry.” The dresses are anything but typical wedding gowns. Brides can wear anything from traditional white dresses for the ceremony, to red dresses that represent ‘good luck.’ All the dresses that a bride wears she picks on her own; family and friends opinions don’t matter. Candy being in the bridal industry knows this firsthand.  This interested me as I compared it to western society where we know that the parents and friends influence the kind of dress a bride wears.  A lot of times because perhaps the parents are the ones to pay for it.  Regardless we see in western society shows like Say Yes to the Dress that show us just how women pick their wedding gowns.  In Hong Kong, Candy states the fashion is very modern and women can wear one traditional wedding gown and the rest are beautiful evening gowns.

As we see in Hong Kong the jewelry that women wear on their wedding day is in many ways more important that the dresses they wear.  This is in part because the jewelry is real and quite valued as a representation of ones fortune and importance.  What is a more important day than a woman’s wedding day?  According to Candy, this is one day that women have to look their prettiest and and in a sense more is valued; four to five dresses to wear in one day and a lot of jewelry to put on.

Lusan Mandongus distributes their dresses in China, Japan, Greece, Germany, the United Kingdom and America.  In America they advertise through Brides and Martha Stuart Wedding magazines.  Having the personal experience of working with them in the United States, I see that their dresses are making quite an impression on store owners and are increasing in popularity every year.  Grace and Lace Bridal store in the United Kingdom carry Lusan Mandongus dresses and say that Lusan Mandongus is, “The Sophistication of Simplicity – This gorgeous collection of simple yet sophisticated wedding gowns characterise the clean and natural lines of the brides silhouette.”

At Life Made Simple we encourage you to step out of your comfort zone, broaden your horizons and don’t be afraid of the unfamiliar.  LMS welcomes Lusan Mandongus!