Attorney turned fashion designer uses talents to help others

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CHICAGO -- Divorce is a difficult and life-changing experience for most people, but family law mediator Mark Roscoe uses a therapeutic approach to help his clients make a smooth transition.

"I spend my days helping people learn how to get through this process in a healthy way," he said. "Oftentimes, I see why cases don’t get resolved. It’s because attorneys get entrenched in the fight, versus the healing process."

He learned that process from his deceased dad, who gave him a piece of advice 15 years ago after Roscoe completed a contentious divorce hearing.

"He said, 'You did absolutely nothing to help them heal.' He said, 'This isn’t about your ego, this isn’t about your fancy car or house or the suit you wear to court. This is about helping people in a way that other people can’t,'" Roscoe recalled.

This was Roscoe’s epiphany, and from that moment on, he decided to dedicate his life to helping others overcome hurdles -- not only in the courtroom, but in his personal life as well.

He got a chance to do that with his own mother, who was dealing with some tough issues.

"I felt badly every time she came home, literally in tears, because she didn’t have anything in her hands to share from the shopping trip. Because designers don’t spend a lot of time on that segment of society," he said.

Roscoe’s late mother was plus-size, and found it difficult and depressing to find clothes to fit her.

"So I purchased a sewing machine and taught myself how to sew, and I started making clothes for my mom,” he said. "Once you start feeling good on the outside, you start feeling better about yourself and taking better care of yourself. At that point I realized everyone should have the opportunity to look as good as they can.

That’s when Mark Roscoe, the clothes designer, was born.

While it started out as a small project to help his mother, it has blossomed into quite the business. He’s legal eagle by day, and a couturier by night.

He designs one-of-a-kind pieces that are highly sought after by A-List celebrities to strut on the red carpet. Some of his dresses sell for up to $5,000 a piece.

Although his business is successful, he remains humble, giving all the credit to his mother and father. He gets choked up just thinking about them.

"They always taught us to take the higher route and help people when we could. So I would thank them for teaching us those core values, and thank them for what a difference it has made in our lives, especially to be able to help other people.

Roscoe’s mother died from cancer. He saw what the illness did to her, and he uses his talent to carry on her legacy and fight the horrible disease that took her life.

He’s teamed up with cancer survivor Dr. Sandy Goldberg and her Silver Lining Foundation, auctioning off personalized couture gowns and donating all the proceeds to the cancer fighting organization. The dresses bring in thousands of dollars.

"To be able to have someone such as Mark, Emmy-winning Mark, believe in what we do, and believe in our mission and understand the need for individuals to be able to access free breast health testing in this challenging health care environment, means the world to us," Goldberg said.

"People think that having money or prestige makes you feel better. I am the happiest when I am the poorest and helping people out. I can’t explain it any other way," Roscoe said. "It’s a feeling like no other to bring a smile to someone’s face or to comfort them in some way, that you’ve been a part of easing the pain in some way."

Mark Roscoe. He’s one of Chicago’s Very Own.

Fundraiser event information:

Treasures for the Holiday

A Silver Lining Foundation benefit featuring Mark Roscoe

Wednesday, December 9

5-7pm

Jellyfish Restaurant

1009 N. Rush #2

Chicago, IL

For more information on mark roscoe design: http://www.markroscoedesign.com/