17 Female-Owned Fashion Brands You Should Know About


Why is International Women’s Day important to you?

IWD is a day when women’s issues are at the forefront of people’s attention, as a reminder of the progress we’ve made and to celebrate how far we’ve come. But also an opportunity to see how far we still have to go, socially, economically, politically and culturally. Just like with many holidays, these are concepts that we would ideally think of all year round. However, if we have a specific day each year, we can measure what we have achieved since the last day.

What made you start your brand?

Since I was very little, it has been a dream of mine to be a fashion designer (and a doctor and a model!). But as I grew up I started to believe that it was impractical, too difficult, too risky. I pursued a career in fashion PR that felt more logical given my skills, but I continued to dig into creativity on the side and tried my hand at ceramics (very challenging!) And watercolor (I have a side project called @idrawpets). One rainy weekend, I decided to take apart old jewelry that I no longer wore and turn the pearls into earrings. I did some for my friend who posted a picture on Instagram. Since she works in sales, she immediately received DMs from buyers and other industry representatives on where and how to shop. I thought why not name the pieces and take some photos to email some editors because that was my job after all? Vogue reached out a hand in five minutes, and of course I had to take a walk around the block before attempting to answer.

I love creating art and wearable pieces, but I think what actually led me to start the brand, take it seriously and offer it to the public was the interest of the industry. Without the help of editors and buyers, I would still be making jewelry, but on a personal level. The main reason someone would need to turn something into a business is to recognize a market interest, be it from buyers, editors, or ultimately customers.

How do you think the fashion industry can better advocate for women?

As a capitalist society, the fashion industry is built on awakening the desire and need for consumption in women in order to be viewed as attractive and thus to maintain relevance for society. Manipulate what’s natural to stay youthful, strive for a specific body type, change our hair. Representation is important. Supporting diversity – race, age, body, ability – helps normalize and show appreciation for all people in the hope that the consumption does not result from trying to feel complete or worthy, but from a place to support brands they stand for problems that you believe in. If you advocate a slow fashion agenda and reduce the speed at which trends are driven, it will not only reduce the amount of waste, but hopefully it will also reduce the psychological pressure women feel when consuming goods.

What advice can you give other aspiring entrepreneurs?

1. Create a product or service that is proven to be desirable in the market and preferably useful in society.

2. Refine the business model further so that it is economically and environmentally sustainable.

3. Do your research and understand your production, marketing, and sales strategies – specifically, margins, profit projections, overheads, and sources of income. You run a business!

4. Build up a sufficient profit margin so that you can pay your employees fair wages!

What other brands started by women do you enjoy supporting?

Nomasei, Giovanna, Abacaxi, KkCo, YanYan, Nikki Chasin, Labucq, Nicole Saldaña, Susan Alexandra, Mara Hoffman.


Melinda Martin