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Name: Diya Liu

Business: Stylish Sophisticate, workwear fashion and professional lifestyle publication

Industry: Arts & Entertainment, Clothes & Accessories

Location: New York, New York, U.S.

Reason for starting: I founded the Stylish Sophisticate because I did not know how to dress for the legal profession when I got to law school. Upon doing some research, I realized that there wasn’t much out there offering editorial guidance on what to wear to conservative work environments even though there are thousands of fantastic sites offering guidance on what to wear for every other situation. There also wasn’t any publications that featured the personal styles of females in non-creative fields. I wanted to create a publication that showcases the many facets and faces of success, and to create a site that aspiring young women across every field can turn to for workwear inspiration. I founded the Stylish Sophisticate to showcase females and let their voices shine through, rather than dictating what perspective should or should not be shown on our site. Instead of pulling clothing from showrooms for each WorkWeekChic shoot, we have the women photograph in their own clothes, in their own personal style. I hope to inspire the rising attorneys, founders, CEO’s, doctors, models, mothers, teachers of the world and get across the message that there isn’t one voice, one vision, or one definition of what females should do.

Related: Read about another female entrepreneur who created her own lifestyle publication here. 

How do you define success? I’m still working on that definition, but I think success does depend a lot on one’s self confidence. To be successful you have to think laterally, and to think laterally you have to be comfortable enough with yourself and uncomfortable enough with society’s status quo.

Biggest Success: Hopefully that’s yet to come! I successfully produced a fashion show with Marie Claire, LOFT, and Rimmel London while I was still a senior chemical engineering and biochemistry double major in college. I also managed to work with a variety of different other fashion brands, including an interview on E! News, with my previous fashion website. At Stylish Sophisticate, we have been lucky enough to feature top professional females in a wide range of industries: tech CEO’s and founders, entertainment lawyers, Supreme Court litigators, Fortune 100 managing partners, and animal rights activists. To get to personally meet many of these females in person has been the highlight of running my current venture!

Related: What Are You Wearing? (Better Question: Who Cares?)

What is your top challenge and how have you addressed it? Managing a team of content writers, photographers, stylists, makeup artists, graphic designers, and more while being a full time 3L patent law student. I also do pro bono legal work on top of everything else. Luckily, Stylish Sophisticate doesn’t feel like work. Also, having an amazing team who believes in the final product as much as you do helps immensely. We have figured out a work assignment system that has worked for everyone, and I’ve learned to delegate tasks more efficiently. I love fashion and I also tend to gravitate towards traditionally men-dominated fields… first chemical engineering, now patent law. As such, I’ve been subjected to the “either or” mentality that society seems to have that women either can be pretty or can be smart, either can love fashion or wear the pants. I feel like it’s time for something post-feminism, where the focus is on the individual female’s personal perspectives and goals rather than Hegelian theses and antitheses of feminine versus feminism. 

Who is your most important role model? My parents.

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