25 Most Intriguing Chicagoans: Maria Pinto

Laura Hine | September 10, 2019 | People




That Maria Pinto is a well- known fashion designer isn’t surprising, but two things
about her do amaze. First, her career has been largely based in Chicago and not in a traditional fashion city like New York or Milan. Second, she started in an expected vein—designing couture and dressing celebrities (who could forget her designs for Michelle Obama?)—but her current success is due to having the guts to defy industry norms and use Kickstarter to launch M2057 by Maria Pinto (m2057.com). “In 45 days, not only did I raise $274,000; I had over 600 active customers, and I knew what colors they liked and what sizes they wore,” she says. “I had the foundation of a business in 45 days.” From that initial collection in 2013, M2057 has been a huge success with growth on the horizon. “We’re staying on our path, but we’re expanding in a meaningful way,” she says. She regularly launches capsule collections and is about to introduce a starter kit of core bestsellers that a woman can use to build an affordable foundation and then add to, piece by piece. “There’s an element to what we wear that tells everyone in the room something about us,” she says. “It doesn’t have to be complex; we make it easy to look great.”

Photography by: SANDRO MILLER