How One Woman’s Learning Issues Inspired Her to Launch an Apparel Line

Entrepreneur Allison Levy believes in empowering women. But feeling confident hasn’t always come easily to her. Levy has a language-based disability and struggled in school. Now as an adult, she’s celebrating her learning differences with the launch of a clothing line that’s inspired by her challenges.

Levy and her mother, Carol, are launching The Parallel Connection, a legging brand for women of all shapes and sizes. The line will be produced at a small women-owned factory in the Garment District in New York. It features different kinds of leggings that are named after Levy’s favorite motivational quotes.

“We’ve been working on this for two years now,” Levy tells Understood. “I always loved inspirational quotes and wanted to embed that in my love for leggings.”

In addition to choosing motivational names for their collections, like “Dare to Dream” and “Be Inspired,” the Levys said the company name has significance. “We like oxymorons, and we thought the name Parallel Connection was fun,” Carol Levy says. “Parallel lines cannot connect and that refers to our individual journeys, which is essential to the brand.”

To fund her business, Levy and her mom had a Kickstarter campaign. In a video, Levy says a percentage of their profits will be donated to Understood to support the 1 in 5 who have learning and thinking differences, just like Levy. “Our hope is that as the word spreads, we will continue to develop new print patterns and styles and be able to donate to the cause we are supporting.”

Aside from launching a business, Levy and her mother say their ultimate goal is to promote positivity and encourage people with learning challenges.

“I’m hoping I can help encourage kids who grew up like me,” Levy says.

“And to feel successful, because that’s an important message for everyone,” adds Carol Levy, “whether you have a learning and thinking difference or not.”

Learn how a sensory-friendly clothing line went mainstream. And find out why this Girl Scout is on a mission to get free assistive technology to kids.

About the author

About the author

Tara Drinks is an editor at Understood.