Meet Empowering Workwear by Lydia
Empowering Workwear by Lydia (Instagram) is atrademarked fashion label which I (Dr. Lydia Kostopoulos) created out of frustration with the lack of functionality in women’s workwear. From the lack of pockets which is a fashion grievance from women across the globe, to the intestinal chocking waists of workwear pants that are incompatible to a human who eats and sits, to the impossible proportions women are meant to align shoulders, bust, waist and hips to (to name a few issues). The result? An additional and unnecessary discomfort in the work place.
Since 2015 I have been making bespoke suits and testing out all kinds of functionality features for women who disrupt #Manels, women who like to travel with their passport on them, women who have credit cards and feel better when they are in their pockets, and women who have business cards they like to smoothly pull out of a pocket, instead of fumble in a purse for while others wait.
As a national security professional working in the realm of emerging technologies and warfare I had no idea about how the fashion industry works however I knew that I wanted a “made to measure” solution where each woman would have her size instead of a standard size that is a “best fit” given poor options available. True to my eco-conscious, supply chain conscious generation I embarked on a research journey into the ethical and environmental aspects I needed to consider throughout my supply chain. This led me to the fascinating eye opening course “Fashion and Sustainability” jointly created by international luxury group Kering and London College of Fashion at the University of Arts London. I learned that the fashion industry is one of the most polluting and unsustainable industries in the world. To which my first thought was → this places fashion (particularly fast fashion) in an unlikely part of environmental national security, and wondered how many people thought about its impacts.
This course combined with my experiences talking to other women about my initiative gave me cause for pause and I decided to launch a purpose driven business with an agenda. My plan is to get Empowering Workwear (EW) to market slowly, sustainably and with the following agenda in mind:
What started this all was the lack of functionality and so one of the goals in the design will be to design in deliberate functionality that empowers women, whenever and where ever possible.
🔗Transparent Supply Chain
After doing the Fashion and Sustainability course I look forward to supply chain journey and to presenting it to the customer. It takes time, however this effort is part of the “slow” fashion movement and I’ll be taking my time to learn about where the raw material was sourced, to the conditions it was weaved and to the place where it gets custom stitched.
💪Campaign for Change
Empowering Workwear (EW) is not meant to solve the systemic functionality problem across the fashion industry. It is a global problem, but one that can be fixed through spreading awareness to fashion designers and letting brands know that change is wanted and needed. EW hopes to encourage and campaign for change in the fashion industry to incorporate women’s functionality needs in workwear designs.
Given the dynamic social activity across the world, and the change that is demanded on a multitude of fronts, the clothes we wear are an opportunity to tell a story. In this sense EW pieces aim to tell a story through the design of the clothing from the fabric design, to the pattern, to the accessories.
This is the plan, the idea and the hope of Empowering Workwear by Lydia.
I hope you will support me by spreading the word as I share new updates!
Dr. Lydia Kostopoulos consults on the intersection of people, strategy, technology, education, and national security. She addressed the United Nations member states on the military effects panel at the Convention of Certain Weapons Group of Governmental Experts (GGE) meeting on Lethal Autonomous Weapons Systems (LAWS). Formerly the Director for Strategic Engagement at the College of Information and Cyberspace at the National Defense University, a Principal Consultant for PA and higher education professor teaching national security at several universities, her professional experience spans three continents, several countries and multi-cultural environments. She speaks and writes on disruptive technology convergence, innovation, tech ethics, and national security. She lectures at the National Defense University, Joint Special Operations University, is a member of the IEEE-USA AI Policy Committee, participates in NATO’s Science for Peace and Security Program, and during the Obama administration has received the U.S. Presidential Volunteer Service Award for her pro bono work in cybersecurity. In efforts to raise awareness on AI and ethics she is working on a reflectional art series [#ArtAboutAI], and a game about emerging technology and ethics called Sapien2.0 . She is the founder of Empowering Workwear by Lydia — a functionality conscious fashion label specializing in workwear.