Maria Pinto: Evolution To Success

She’s dressed some of the most important women in the world including former First Lady Michelle Obama. Her fashions define the strong, sophisticated women who wear them. She’s Chicago born-and-bred designer Maria Pinto. And I’m proud to announce she’s the second profile in my on-going web series Heavy Hitters.

Maria Pinto’s background

Maria Pinto didn’t come from a background of designers. In fact, her family was well known in Chicago for several restaurants they ran over the years. But as a young girl, Maria was influenced by Women’s Wear Daily and started sewing clothes. Despite her passion, she didn’t seriously pursue design as a career path until the age of 30, and it all started at the Art Institute of Chicago.

Michelle Obama in Maria Pinto design

Former First Lady Michelle Obama gave Pinto a national stage by wearing her designs.

What impresses me the most about Pinto, isn’t just her creative and elegant designs but her philosophy on life. I left the interview inspired by her tenacity and her approach to challenges. The fashion industry, like so many others, can be fickle.  She opened and closed her retail businesses not once — but three times. Yet, as an entrepreneur she never looked at any of her ventures as failures. She also tells me she never lets the rollercoaster ups and downs of business define who she is. As you’ll see during the interview, the word “failure” is not in her vocabulary. Neither is the word “reinvention.” Pinto calls her experiences an “evolution.”  They are things she needed to experience to get to where she is today.

Where Pinto is today

Pinto is a successful designer who has evolved into someone who is meeting the needs of the fashion world by giving women what they want NOW. She opened her doors to her newest shop after raising money on the crowdfunding platform, Kickstarter. It was said to be the most successful women’s wear campaign at the time.

Chicago is proud to call Maria Pinto one of its own. She was recently honored with a retrospective of her work at the historic Water Tower on Michigan Ave.

When I asked her what she  attributes her success to she replied, “I’ve always done what feels right.” Apparently, what feels right has worked.  Her love of art and fashion and bringing these two together have made her a designer women want to wear and an entrepreneur that many will not only learn from, but want to mimic.

I hope you enjoy her story, Heavy Hitter: Maria Pinto. And by the way if you would like to see us profile anyone special on Heavy Hitters, please contact us. In the meantime, click below to watch Maria’s Story.

About Heavy Hitters

Heavy Hitters with Sylvia PerezThere are so many interesting people out there that we see in the public eye but we often only see one side of them. This is the chance to learn more about the other side and to allow these people to tell their story in their own way. It’s a personal, inside look into what makes them who they are. If you have a suggestion for a “Heavy Hitter” you would like to know more about, I’d love to hear from you. Please leave a comment below or email me at

Sylvia Perez

About Sylvia Perez

Sylvia Perez is an Emmy Award winning broadcast journalist, news and health reporter, and major market anchor. Her expertise in revealing the personal side of headline stories and drawing their impact into “news you can use” viewership is now the foundation of Sylvia Perez Productions, a multi-faceted company specializing in video production and event planning for non-profits.

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