From the “Working Journal” an ongoing exploration of the lives and endeavors of everyday people through photographs and their handwriting- Sarah LaPadula, wedding dress designer, New York City. “ I am a designer, but I am also a storyteller. Each design symbolizes a part of a scene like a piece of evidence that a magical world does exist if you can just find the right wardrobe to enter. I have been drawing dresses as early as I could hold a crayon but my decision to become a designer stems directly from women today. As a college student I worked at a local wedding dress shop and the brides that came in had such long lists of insecurities, physical and otherwise. I remember one woman saying ‘I know I’m not going to look amazing, but I’m hoping to look OK’. That broke my heart. I said, “ No, we can do much better than ‘ok’. “You will look amazing because you already are“. Incredibly, I don’t think this woman realized she was beautiful and lovely until that appointment. As a woman, that realization is validating and liberating. It is powerful. Helping to facilitate that realization is an acutely reciprocal experience. I want to help women internationally who are facing make or break challenges. Refugees, war crimes survivors, assault victims, and those who directly support them are true heroines in a not so magical world. They inspire my designs which are bold, even protective at times, and though these women usually fall outside of my commercial targets, they are at the forefront of my ambition. I want to use my abilities to eventually contribute to them in a measurable and enduring way. My goal is to acknowledge and celebrate the strength of women, strength that perhaps even they have yet to realize.”