Kyrie Eleison Couture creates custom pieces that incorporate the customer’s cultural influences, said Esmeralda Lole.
Lole works closely with individual customers and draws colors from flags and patterns from their countries of origin, she said.
“Everyone has a different love language and my love language is acts of service. So for me, to be able to create a piece to make someone else feel beautiful, makes me feel good about myself,” Lole said. “So this is kind of like my way to love on the community and to love all of my clients. Just to make their vision come true and make them feel beautiful, makes me feel even better about myself.”
Kyrie Eleison Couture — meaning “Lord have mercy” in Greek — provides a way to talk about faith, if customers do inquire about the name, said Lole.
“Basically, my clothing is my ministry. Although I don’t want to be labeled as a Christian designer, I am a designer that’s Christian,” she said. “As a Christian, you incorporate God into your everyday life and I incorporate him into what I do. He’s blessed me to be able to do this as a living, so I want to give back by telling the world about Him.”
Lole found the “Kyrie Eleison” phrase in the Beatitudes, she said, and reading it gave her a vision for the culturally-focused clothing brand.
“It just talks about, you know, ‘blessed be the poor in spirit’ and things like that, and that name came across and that’s how it all started,” she added. “I was interested in clothing before that, but I was, at the time, considering giving that up to pursue something that I thought was a little bit more stable. When I heard that phrase [‘Kyrie Eleison’], it just inspired me to keep to keep going.”
Lole hopes to eventually open a boutique showroom where customers can physically see her pieces on a daily basis, she said.
Lole will again be participating in Kansas City’s Kritiq Fashion Show — her second consecutive appearance at the show, which is entering its fourth installment, she added.
The event returns Nov. 18 this year at the Grand Hall space at Power & Light, she said, noting the show is where high fashion and street fashion meet.
“I love to participate in it because it feature designers who are still starting out and who are kind of in between starting out and reaching that New York or Chicago Fashion Week,” Lole said. “I definitely think that [the Kritiq] is on its way there. Each year it keeps getting bigger and bigger and it definitely incorporates the culture. A lot of the people who run it are from the inner city and so they always give back during their shows as well.”
Though many fashion designers like Lole move to fashion centers of the world at this stage of their careers, she said, Lole is determined to stay based in Kansas City.
“It’s my home and this is what I know: I love the city and I love the people in it,” Lole said. “I do get a lot of people who tell me that I should move, but I really don’t believe that’s what God has for my life. I believe that he has me here for a reason, but I do want to be a designer who travels.”