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Meet Lindsay Siwiec of Project Style, NFP in The Loop

Today we’d like to introduce you to Lindsay Siwiec.

Lindsay, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
After receiving my bachelors degree in fashion merchandising and then going on to graduate school at the Fashion Institute of Technology, I focused my career on climbing the ladder in fashion PR. During this time, volunteering and philanthropy was also a big part of my life – my father and sister both had careers in the non profit world, and volunteering was something that brought me joy outside of the stresses of the fashion industry.

I always wanted to find a way to merge the two. I volunteered for an organization that managed clothing drives for young students and loved it, but I always noticed how apprehensive so many of the girls were when it came to trying on clothing and feeling confident in front of their peers.

Knowing the effects that the fashion industry has on women of all ages – starting at a very young age – I wanted to expand on just offering disadvantaged girls the clothing that they needed and go beyond to educate them on how fashion and self-esteem intersect. My hope is to flip the script on how impressionable young women perceive the fashion industry and media. At Project Style, we teach girls to embrace their uniqueness and give them the tools they need to discover self-love and acceptance, and to help them grow into confident young women.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Starting a non profit definitely creates some challenges. We’re still in our first year since our founding, so there have of course been some learning curves every step of the way.

We’re still working on creating awareness of the organization so that we can grow our number of volunteers, student mentors, and donors in order to expand our programs into more schools. Our programs are completely free to the schools that we work with, so keeping up with demand is something that we’re continuing to work through.

The Project Style team and board is an amazing group of women and men. Everyone resonates with the mission so strongly that the benefits and reward of working with the students outweighs any challenge.

Please tell us about Project Style, NFP.
Founded in 2017, Project Style, a 501(c)3 organization, uses fashion as a tool to engage and empower disadvantaged youth at an age when confidence is most critical. Project Style hosts in-school workshops that educate girls on how fashion and self-esteem intersect; teaching them the link between confidence and personal style, the difference between expression and objectification, and how to find and embrace their authentic selves. The girls can take what they learn in the workshops and put it to use as they shop for free from donated clothing pop-up boutiques that we temporarily construct in their school twice a year.

Your style and the clothes you choose reflect and affect your mood, health, and overall confidence, while also altering how you approach and interact with the world. Self-esteem is one of the leading causes of low attendance rates amongst adolescent girls. Over 70% of girls ages 12-17 avoid normal daily activities, such as attending school, when they feel bad about their looks. The students who face these issues with low self-esteem are at a greater risk for poor academic achievement and engagement.

Our full-year curriculum is designed to increase feelings of self-worth amongst students, and ultimately academic success rates to make college the norm and more available for students and families in low-income communities.

What is your proudest moment?
The best part of Project Style is working with the students. Seeing them come into the room during our first workshop and how they change and open up over the course of just the first two hours with them is an incredible feeling.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Erik Marthaler, Project Style

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