Out of the box | Street View | Chicago Reader

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Out of the box

Defying boundaries, two entrepreneurs mix business, community, and prints.

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When spotted at Garfield Park Conservatory, Maria LyVonne, 35, and Ashley Bassett-Parkins, 33, looked like they belonged in a fashion editorial—and they did! They were being photographed for the "lifestyle brand" they introduced last April, named LYV-ON (pronounced "live on" or "love on"). "We are on a mission to change the role the fashion industry plays in climate change, make sustainable fashion inclusive, and bring a more relatable and transparent approach to the industry," says LyVonne. Before they launch their first capsule collection next spring, LyVonne and Bassett-Parkins are focused on building a community "where real women with real experiences can come together, get inspiration, feel empowered to have a voice, and love and care for themselves."

While busy producing their very own garb, the business partners and longtime friends were sporting garments that represented their "mix-and-match" aesthetic: "I love emotional pieces, which is why I gravitate towards the mixture of prints and fabrics. I love pieces that tell a story and are inspirational," says LyVonne, who described the look she rented from Rent the Runway as "eclectic fall garden party." Bassett-Parkins, dressed in a "whimsical garden" theme, likes to mix leopard and floral prints year-round and favors a blend of femininity and masculinity with an edge. "Not one style defines me," she says. "I don't like to be put into a box, since I feel that everyone's style is constantly evolving and I like to push my limits."   v

For more about LYV-ON, check out lyv-on.com and @lyvonlife on Instagram.

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