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Keeping Everything Uniform

Designer Cynthia Rowley cooks up a chic new look for United employees.

Author Sarah Horne Photography Roger Davies

Image – Roger Davies

WHEN CHICAGO-BORN DESIGNER Cynthia Rowley presented her spring 2010 runway collection, critics couldn’t help but notice that the winsome frocks she sent down the catwalk weren’t exactly your grandma’s tea dresses. With hues straight out of a box of watercolors, the dresses had a feminine touch, but they were anything but girly. The hard little details in black remind you that Rowley is a tomboy at heart. In fact, her menswear line earned a nod from the prestigious Council of Fashion Designers of America. Says the designer, who loves chasing waves in Montauk, Long Island, as much as she adores peacocking down Manhattan’s fashionable Bleecker Street near her flagship boutique, “I like to balance pretty with an edge.”

It’s a look that’s earned her collaborations with Target (she was the first major designer to team up with the megastore) and Roxy, the funky surfwear brand. Now, the talented thrill-seeker is hooking up with United to design new uniforms, which will be seen on that other type of runway starting in September. Working with the airline has her beaming with hometown pride. “As the saying goes, you can take the girl out of the Midwest, but you can’t take the Midwest out of the girl. I still like to go back to my Chicago roots, which made it even more fun to collaborate on a project with United.”

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