In celebration of IWD, we look at the women in fashion making a difference for people and the planet.

International Women’s Day is a global holiday celebrated annually on March 8th empowering women and their achievements and is always a firm date in our diary.

Scroll down to see how 10 women are striving to make a change in the fashion industry, from pioneering sustainable practices to advocating women’s rights. This is who to support this year.

 

JO WADDINGTON

Jo Waddington founded pre-loved fashion platform StyleSwap last year, after finding shopping sustainably uninspiring and slow. Her goal was to bring new levels of ease and innovation to shopping pre-loved fashion whilst positively contributing to the much-needed change in the fashion industry, and like a sustainable personal shopping service online, StyleSwap has created a brand new way to connect you to killer pre-loved fashion pieces and stylish wardrobes. Powered by your personal preferences you set in your fashion quiz and AI, StyleSwap saves you the time and hassle of endless scrolling with personal recommendations.

 

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VENETIA LA MANNA

Venetia La Manna is a broadcaster, slow fashion campaigner and co-founder of Remember Who Made Them which helps to energise a new solidarity economy in fashion by centring health and wellbeing of workers over corporate profits. The organisation cares about the social and environmental impact of the clothes we buy and builds power in the communities where our clothes are made. By donating to the Remember Who Made Them Patreon your money will go directly to garment worker groups, collectives and unions in support of building worker power.

Throughout her social platforms, Venetia challenges fashion brands who are costing the earth and calls out retailers on their unethical practices in the fashion supply chain.

 

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ANNA FOSTER

Anna is a fashion stylist and the founder of sustainable denim brand E.L.V. DENIM. Taking everything she has learnt across her styling career, plus the common sense of everyday sustainability, E.L.V repurposes vintage denim into new modern, sophisticated styles. All designs are produced in East London using local factories and ateliers keeping the carbon footprint to a minimum and supporting local communities.

 

 

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PARA HAMILTON 

Para is co-founder of Ninety Percent, a London-based sustainable fashion brand that shares 90% of its profits with those that made them. Para’s business model is based on the ethos “planet comes first” with a garment manufacturing facility in Bangladesh that puts planet and people before profit. As a consumer, you can choose the cause you want your money to go to, using the unique code found in your garment’s care label.

 

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NOELLA COURSARIS MUSUNKA 

Noëlla is an international model, philanthropist and founder of Malaika, a nonprofit organization empowering Congolese girls through education and health programs and creating the next generation of changemakers. Noëlla started her career modelling for top international brands and magazines from Vogue to Vanity Fair, but as she travelled the world, she wanted to share her passion for human rights. She uses her profile to raise awareness and ‘model with meaning’, to speak up on behalf of those who cannot. Her position in the fashion industry has brought partnerships including THE OUTNET x Roksanda Ilincic in 2019, with a percentage of proceeds from the capsule collection’s sales donated to Malaika.

GEMMA STREET

Founder of luxury womenswear resort brand Hester Bly, Gemma Street launched Hester Bly Historymakers in 2021, an initiative in partnership with the Village Community Foundation in India. Its aim is to help to empower women through education, mentorship, and skill-sharing. Core to this initiative is the Hester Bly Historymaker Scholarship, which provides University funding and mentoring support for a female student who is the first in her family to ever go to university. The initiative also supports young girls through online speaker seminars, useful “How To” toolkits and creative problem-solving competitions to inspire students, help build confidence and create opportunities.

STELLA MCCARTNEY

Stella McCartney is a pioneer in the world of fashion, continually introducing new and innovative ways to grow as a responsible, honest and sustainable brand, through material and supply chain innovation, partnerships and more. A lifelong vegetarian, she has never used leather, feathers, skin or fur in any of her designs since she first launched her eponymous brand in 2001 and only uses sustainable materials to make her products. Stella McCartney is an iconic figure in responsible fashion and commits to animal welfare.

 

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AYESHA BARENBLAT

Ayesha is a social entrepreneur with a passion for building sustainable supply chains that respect people and the planet. With over 15 years of leadership promoting social justice and sustainability within the fashion industry, she founded Remake – a community of fashion lovers, women’s rights advocates and environmentalists on a mission to change the industry’s harmful practices. They make sustainability accessible and inclusive across three pillars of work: education, advocacy, and transparency, encouraging consumers to demand a more transparent and accountable fashion industry.

 

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ORSOLA DE CASTRO 

Orsola de Castro is internationally recognised for her work in sustainable fashion. Her career started as a designer with the pioneering upcycling label From Somewhere, which was in operation from 1997 to 2014. Her designer collaborations included collections for Jigsaw, Tesco, Speedo and Topshop, all using repurposed pre-consumer textile waste. In 2013 she co-founded Fashion Revolution – following the Rana Plaza Dhaka garment factory collapse in Bangladesh – a global campaign with participation in over 100 countries around the world. The activism movement works towards creating a sustainable fashion industry by raising awareness about human rights and environmental issues. 

 

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AJA BARBER

Aja is a writer and fashion consultant who brings to light the intersections of sustainability and the fashion landscape. Her work builds heavily on ideas behind privilege, wealth inequality, racism, feminism, colonialism and how to fix the fashion industry with all these things in mind. She helps companies identify inequality at personal, societal and corporate levels and suggests ways to change that, building a better business for the fashion industry going forward.

 

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