Troubling times often lead to self-reflection. In this complicated election year, designers Laura Cramer and Starr Hout have thought about the message they want to put forth as a company. A few of the key values they’ve landed on include collaboration; bringing together talented women; breaking constraints, and aspiring to an ideal and then letting go to enjoy where you are, to name a few.

They’ve launched an effort called “Women Together” with other women-owned companies and designers — Ulla Johnson, Maria Cornejo, Rachel Comey, among others — to donate proceeds to Planned Parenthood. It’s a way to use their reach to make a difference with the product they’re creating in the current social and political landscape.

As an extension of these messages, their latest offering was one of softness, in both design and idealism. Their brand of cultivated ease was shown with feminine flair through ruffle-adorned, easy silhouettes that transition occasions. Striped knit dresses, second skin tops and flowy dresses speak to house codes, while masculine shirting, long sleeve T-shirts and ruffle tops tie back to denim. An off-shoulder ruffle top tucked into matching white jeans was the perfect example of relaxed refinement. Practical fabrics like cotton and gauze were super washed down for a light and airy touch, along with a sense of comfortable dressing.

More than the physical aspect, though, Cramer and Hout want women to show strength through compassion. “This collection was very much the idea of a woman holding both good and bad and still going forth — fear and courage, strength and weakness, vulnerability and still going forth,” Hout said at a preview. “It’s the idea of bravery, not that you’re not scared of what’s going on, but you go forth anyway and go forth with softness.”

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