In an industry which is driven by female consumers how much do we all know about the talented women in leadership behind it all?
The last year has felt like we have made some progress for feminism: this year the United Kingdom celebrated 100 years of voting rights for (some) women; the #metoo movement has begun to tackle sexual harassment in the workplace; women in Saudi Arabia have been given the right to drive; blockbuster films featured strong female characters; fashion campaigns featured gender neutral models; 100s of thousands of women took to the American streets to march and a passionate purple was named the colour of 2018.
For International Women’s Day 2018 I wanted to pay homage to women in the fashion industry with some of my favourite female led brands.
This British designer is possibly one of the best known in the fashion industry for her role in political activism, McCartney has campaigned for animal rights, breast-cancer awareness, against domestic abuse and famously her line of clothing does not use leather or fur in any of her designs. McCartney has managed to successfully create a brand for the conscious consumer which features all the latest fashion. McCartney’s latest collection features funky patterns and a great selection of blazers.
The Chanel brand probably needs no introduction - however did you know that Coco Chanel, the founder of one of the most influential fashion houses to date, was part of the movement of designers to open fashion houses in Paris during WW1 meaning the world refocused it's attention on Paris as a top destination for the fashion industry - it might be INTL Women's Day 2018 but we can still look back at our female successors! Chanel was one of the first fashion designers to use a more flexible jersey fabric for her designs which meant clothing was shorter and easier to move in - freeing women from traditionally tighter clothing. Today, we look to Chanel for the go-to glamorous items in your wardrobe, such as the bag, dress and classic no. 5 perfume.
CUSHNIE ET OCHS
‘Designed by women, for women’ is how how Cushnie et Ochs celebrated their 10 year anniversary at New York Fashion Week. This female duo have designed a collection of clothing to fit women and have catapulted into success through combining strength, softness and sexuality into the ready-to-wear collections. I first learnt more about this brand through celebrating Carly Cushnie’s contribution to talented black designers in the fashion industry.
REI KAWAKUBO x Comme des Garçons
Rei Kawakubo is the innovative designer and Creative Director behind Comme des Garçons, which she founded back in 1973. As Kawakubo never had any training in the fashion industry, instead in Fine Art, she never compromised her art and continued to produce a line of fun, innovative and outstanding clothing. The latest collection is quirky and stylish and includes deconstructed clothing, geometric shapes and raw creativity - the brand's collections also sit alongside some impressive brand collaborations over the years, where Kawakubo has been able to add a touch of Comme des Garçons to the style!
SARAH BURTON x Alexander McQueen
Can you imagine anything more magical than the opportunity and privilege to design a Princess' wedding dress? Now, imagine you are designing the Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton's wedding dress - one of the most watched weddings in the world. Sarah Burton is the female designer who received global recognition as the designer of the royal dress after many years of hard work at Alexander McQueen of which she is the Creative Director. Burton has been awarded an Order of the British Empire for her services to the British fashion industry.
The Olsen Twins x The Row
We’re back to basic with Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen and their luxury line of clothing. The clothing line The Row focuses on high quality staple items you would love to have in your wardrobe. Not only have the twins conquered celebrity world they have also been named CFDA womenswear designers of the year.
RHI RHI x Fenty
There have been many celebrity x designer collabs over the years - notably Beyonce’s Ivy Park - however how could I not mention this Queen as part of the women’s day celebration? Rihanna has also hadmany collaborations in her time, she started off in the in the fashion industry in partnership with Armani, but I believe her biggest success has been the FENTY range. Rihanna has been in partnership with Puma since her appointment as Creative Director of fashion sportswear in 2014 and it has been a huge success - a success which has taken the pair all the way to NY fashion week.
There are many talented female designers in the industry to talk about on International Women’s Day but let’s not forget about the up and coming non-binary fashion brands. One DNA, TILLYandWILLIAM, Rad Hourani, FLAVNT and many more are all brands that are working towards making fashion more accessible to everyone through their gender neutral designs!
We should also consider all the women and young girls who make your clothes. This International Women’s Day 2018 take the time to learn about the conditions which garment workers work in and what sacrifices have to be made to their education, childhoods and futures in order to do so. You can learn more about campaigns around this at Clean Clothes and Fashion Revolution and through checking a brand’s supply chain. Happy International Women's Day 2018!