Woman's clothing line stands up to work, style needs
February 3, 2009
BY CAROLE SHARWARKO staff writer
You've never seen a runway show like this before. At its next meeting on Feb. 11, National Association of Women in Construction introduces the Chicago-based Doe Work Wear Corp.
Lauren Bartkowski created D.W.W., a fashion line for female laborers. The Oak Forest resident worked for Walsh Construction through college. And though she worked in the office, she said she tired of wearing oversized, bland-colored work wear.
Doe Work Wear, a fashion line created by Oak Forest resident Lauren Bartkowski, was featured in the Chicago Is…Red Hot 2008 Fashion Show last fall at Northerly Island in Chicago.
See the Doe Work Wear line
Ladies, join women from around the area for a special one-night-only show of D.W.W. clothing, beginning with dinner at 6:30 p.m. Feb. 11 at Nickobee's, 10301 Southwest Highway, Chicago Ridge. The cost is $35. There will be a raffle for clothing and gift certificates.
Reservations are due to Julie Tiu by Feb. 7. Information and registration is with Tiu at (224) 616-1257 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
"I was always getting free hoodies and jackets from companies," Bartkowski said. "Even when I'd order the women's stuff in small sizes, they were always too big. I ended up giving the stuff away."
When she went out with friends after work, Bartkowski said she always "looked frumpier" than women who had come from offices, wearing slacks and high heels.
Armed with a business degree and a lifelong desire to be a fashion designer, in 2006 she began organizing her thoughts and creating a business model. Then she started designing.
"I don't want it to be over-the-top feminine," she said. "It looks rugged and feminine at the same time."
D.W.W. products offer a design that incorporates functionality, safety and style for female laborers. The company said its products will stand up to the most demanding labor tasks, yet are designed for the female body.
These women can toss their oversized and uncomfortable menswear. D.W.W.'s collection comes in feminine silhouettes and colors, with simple patchwork and piping details. It's just enough to be feminine, but not enough to interfere with the physical labor these women do every day.
"The fit is unmistakably female. The fabrics are outdoor fabrics – twills, cargo canvas, heavy deck material – but we've done them in lighter colors like pistachio and lighter gray, with pink and purple linings and contrast colors."
Though the line is made for women in the construction, industrial and blue collar trades, the clothes are also great for home project "do-it-yourselfers" and even die-hard gardeners.
Bartkowski is also an owner of a specialty contracting company, Bartkowski & McDonald Firestopping Services. She said the intention of the line reaches past style and function.
"It's important to me that whatever careers women choose, even if it's unconventional, that they know people are out there to support them," she said. "The main message is: We have to stick together."
Carole Sharwarko can be reached at email@example.com or (708) 633-6872.