3 Unstoppable Designers

Courtney Hilley Clothing (courtesy of Courtney Hilley)

Fashion empowers people to feel like a VIP and portray the image that matches who they are inside. The same is true for three unstoppable women designers: Momsquad, slow-fashion from Courtney Hilley’s and the Come Away With Me collection from Ruchi Thukral.


Momsquad (courtesy of Momsquad)

Amy Astrowsky is the founder of Momsquad Clothing, an athleisure company designed by a mom for moms in every stage of motherhood. The brand ethos is fun, functional pieces that work hard for the wearer because, as Astrowsky likes to say, “As mothers, getting through a day is a workout!”

Astrowsky’s focus is developing a line of clothing that is supportive, well-made, beautiful and on-trend at a comfortable price point for moms.

The Momsquad community connects with mothers to create a safe space to uplift one another, Astrowsky said. Each week, the brand posts on its blog about all things related to motherhood, such as honoring and valuing “mom bods.” The community comes together for talks on self-care and staying healthy during the holidays, when staying home can feel lonelier and more isolating than usual.

The leggings are made with technical fabric and support with luxury fabrics for all-day wear, from workout to story time. The outerwear focuses on layering.

momsquad.com (use LOOKINGGOOD20 for 20% off any purchase)

Courtney Hilley Clothing

Courtney Hilley Clothing (courtesy of Courtney Hilley)

Courtney Hilley is the designer and owner of her namesake line. The pieces are made in small batches with luxury-grade linen, carefully and ethically sourced in Ukraine. She intentionally designs each piece in Alabama for cool comfort, versatility and heavy use in the multi-seasonal Southern heat. This line was inspired by the culture and colors found on the coast of the Gulf of Mexico, where she lives.

“Courtney Hilley is a slow fashion namesake line of sustainable clothing,” Hilley explained. “I like to think of this line as a subtropical woman’s uniform that can be worn for years and years, not just 10 times.”

As well as linen pieces, the newest line includes raw silk Furoshiki bags that can be used as purses, reusable gift wrapping, hair wrap, kitchen cloth and more. Furoshiki originated in Japan almost 3,000 years ago. All silk is sourced by Hilley, and silk items are sewn by her too.

“These wraps are, in my opinion, a staple in any sustainable person’s wardrobe, and I think they are just gorgeous and incredible,” she said.

courtneyhilley.com (use Mann15 for 15% off)

Ruchi Thukral

Ruchi Thukral (courtesy of Ruchi Thukral)

Ruchi Thukral is a label that melds South Asian and Western influences so that the modern woman can holistically represent her multi-faceted identity and respectfully explore other cultures, no matter where in the world she may be. The line will debut this winter with the Come Away With Me collection, an experiment in taking seemingly contrasting elements of the luxe and the everyday,  the vintage and the modern, the Indian and the European.

“I have a degree in statistical economics,” Thukral said. “Starting my own label was something I hadn’t even thought of. Like other South Asian Americans, I grew up having to live between two vastly different worlds, never quite fitting into one or the other.”

As a child, she was inspired by her mother, who was empowered by what she wore. Thukral felt that fashion is also an incredibly powerful tool that can alter perceptions and open minds. 

“Surprisingly, designing the clothes wasn’t the hard part,” she said. “The process started in mid-2019, shortly after a beautiful trip to Paris, where I noticed a lot of similarities between French and Indian architecture. By the end of 2019, the samples for Come Away With Me, the debut collection, were finished.”

The brand will start orders in November, just in time for the holidays.

“While the world today is much different than the one the collection was initially designed for, I believe this winter we’ll have even more reason to take the time to embrace ourselves fully and to escape to a more fanciful world, even if it’s just for a moment,” Thukral said.

Daniella Platt is a concept to market strategist and author of “Looking Good: Be a Sales Rockstar & Fashion Startup Playbook.”  She can be reached at @lookinggoodyaya or lookinggoodyaya.com.