Much ink has been spilled on the role of men in women’s fashion. Many of the top houses are designed by men (see: Gucci, Celine, Louis Vuitton), and even the ones designed by women likely have men in suits at the top of the corporate ladder. But the tide is starting to turn, as Sarah Mower pointed out in the July 2019 issue of Vogue: “A female culture runs far and wide across the landscape of 21st-century fashion. It’s there at the top of the canopy, in major Parisian houses; it pervades the uprising of young, self-made independents and generations of established entrepreneurs: a multifaceted critical mass of women steadily working to change an industry for the better.”
We have many of these women in mind today for Women’s Equality Day, which marks the victory of the United States women’s suffrage movement in 1919. A full century later, the occasion has come to represent a lot more than the right to vote: Women today are still fighting for gender equality, pay equality, and workplace equality. In fact, despite the significant progress from designers like Chanel’s Virginie Viard, Givenchy’s Clare Waight Keller, and Alexander McQueen’s Sarah Burton, the fashion industry can still be a tough place to succeed as a woman.
That’s why we’re highlighting the female designers Vogue editors are shopping and supporting today, from tiny upstarts to global talents. A few of them are leading the charge on sustainability, and many have women-centric missions built into their businesses, like Dôen, which supports Planned Parenthood and Room to Read. One thing they all have in common is the sense of genuine goodwill surrounding them: Buying from these designers doesn’t just feel like spending your money, it feels like a genuine show of support for someone and something you believe in. Leave it to women to inspire that kind of emotional connection! See all of our picks—and “vote with your wallet”—below.
Virginia Smith, Fashion Director
I support Gale Mayron’s Jao brand. All of the products are great (the hand sanitizer is a must for travel!), but if I could only take one beauty product with me on a desert island, it would be the Goe Oil. It’s great for skin, hair; it works as a makeup remover, etc. Gale was talking about using less and multi-purpose products years before sustainability was on everyone’s mind.
Nicole Phelps, Director, Vogue Runway
This Maria Cornejo sweatshirt has more going for it than just its groovy shape. It’s made with lyocell, a biodegradable fiber made from cellulose plants. It’s Maria and her women designer peers who are really pioneering the new category of responsible fashion.
Chioma Nnadi, Fashion News Director
It’s tough enough for female designers to hold their own in the world of womenswear, so I can’t imagine what it’s like navigating the menswear scene as a woman. Martine Rose is part of a new generation doing just that. And it’s partly what makes her so special. I, for one, am a huge fan of her brand. Her work also resonates with me on a deeply personal level. As a fashion-obsessed mixed-raced kid growing up in inner-city London, I rarely saw anyone who looked like me in fashion. It feels good to know that won’t be the case for the little black and brown girls who come after me.
Laird Borrelli-Persson, Archive Editor
Not all female designers create feminine clothing, but Alejandra Alonso Rojas does. I’ve always felt that since her first collection, Alejandra has assumed the role of designer as an assured but gentle best friend.
Steff Yotka, Fashion News Editor
Craft has become a buzzword in fashion, with plenty of male creative directors doing their best to promote handiwork. But craft has long been a woman’s domain, and no designer pays homage to the craftswomen before her quite like Simone Rocha. Her Fall collection drew from the work of Louise Bourgeois, touching on themes of the female body and its many abstractions. In her studio, Rocha works with a predominantly female team and has used her runway to showcase women of all ages, shapes, and sizes. Is there anyone more worthy of our funds and attention?
Anny Choi, Market Editor
My favorite brand run by the best gals is Dôen. Founded by two sisters Katherine and Margaret Kleveland, Dôen makes beautiful, feminine clothing by women, for women. Not only does the brand partner with Room to Read to promote literacy and gender equality each season, but they’ve also created a positive work environment for women that their customers can follow along with on social media. Whether it’s donating to Planned Parenthood or partnering with retailers that specialize in consignment, I love that I can feel a part of this family by shopping Dôen!
Brooke Bobb, Senior Fashion News Writer
Today and always, I am supporting two women-owned and -operated brands. The first is Carcel, which is based in Copenhagen, but all of the clothes and accessories are made by incarcerated women in Cusco, Peru; and Chiang Mai, Thailand. Founded by Louise van Hauen and Veronica D’Souza, Carcel employs these women in prison and pays them direct wages, which they can ultimately send to their families or save for when they reenter society. I also love to support a label called Oddobody, founded by Shira Wheeler and now run by her and her partner Abigail Gerow. They design beautiful, simple organic cotton underwear, and with every package they include material that helps educate other women about their vaginal health and wellness.
Madeline Fass, Associate Market Editor
SVNR is a small but mighty brand founded by Christina Tung right here in New York. Her jewelry pieces are made from reused and upcycled materials and are super chic. Tung tie-dyes an assortment of flattering slip dresses, too. Her latest handmade creation, a fishnet bag with shells and charms, was the result of joining forces with stylist Nasrin Jean-Baptiste of Petit Kouraj, and I couldn’t possibly think of a cooler female duo.
Elisee Browchuk, Editorial Assistant and Editorial Business Coordinator
I’m currently addicted to rainbow-colored everything, and Susan Korn gets it. Her beaded handbags and accessories are probably the most joyful, pretty little things in the world. Not only do Korn and her team make emoji-themed handbags look chic, but they also hand-bead every single one. As I transition my colorful summer wardrobe into my neutral-toned fall attire, I’ve been eyeing the patchwork styled Mini Ash Bag to pair with more monochromatic looks. Korn’s brand embodies happiness, and I will always support that!
Emily Farra, Senior Fashion News Writer
I’m a big jewelry person, mostly because you can wear it every day and every piece ends up having so much sentimental value. I only recently noticed that all of my favorite jewelry designers are women—to name a few: Emily Levine, whose pieces are handmade in India, Kenya, and beyond; Jess Hannah, my go-to source for timeless, yet interesting fine jewelry; and Azlee by Baylee Zwart, who makes my dream cigar bands and donates a portion of every sale to ocean conservancy projects. In terms of clothing and accessories, I’m also a huge fan of Tory Burch, who is a tireless supporter of women in business.
Originally Appeared on Vogue