PINTO KICKS OFF A COMEBACK: Chicago designer Maria Pinto, who gained acclaim dressing Michelle Obama on the 2008 presidential campaign trail, has raised around $42,000 on Kickstarter, a platform she is using to stage her fashion comeback.

After enjoying the national spotlight, Pinto fell victim to the recession, shuttering her business in 2010, and then worked as women’s creative director for Mark Shale, a women’s and men’s retailer that closed its last stores in 2012.

This story first appeared in the September 10, 2013 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

“When I was curating the collections at Mark Shale, I realized that it was very hard to find pieces that were affordable but still had a high level of design, quality, and versatility,” Pinto said, noting that her new collection is priced $75 to $250.

Looking to raise $250,000 in 45 days on the crowd-funding Web site, Pinto is 10 days in and 17 percent toward her goal. The new line, called M2057 by Maria Pinto — which includes seven dresses, two jackets, a shrug, a wrap and two scarf styles — will move forward with or without the Kickstarter funding, Pinto said, adding that she plans to launch her own e-commerce site in October.

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