It’s International Women’s Day on March 8 and there is no shortage of ways to get involved, band together and show your support. Here, we’ve highlighted the female-founded brands worth getting to know. From the nurturing to the ethical, empowering and genuinely inspiring, here we celebrate some of our favourites and salute the incredible women forging their own creative paths.
1. Blake LDN
Who: Alice Ashby
What: A Central St Martins graduate, Alice worked as a knitwear assistant at Rag & Bone in New York before founding her own contemporary label in September 2012. House signatures include an all-year-round essential crew neck in 100% superfine wool, and a sleeveless knit – which is perfect for layering over shirts right now. Each piece is embroidered with their signature logo – adding extra unique value. In the spirit of sisterhood, Alice also recently collaborated with London-based female artist Laetitia Rouget of Shoopy Studio, creating a selection of colourful slogan knits that marry both brand aesthetics.
2. Sunday Archives
Who: Tracey Curran
What: New kid on the block, Sunday Archives is a black-owned womenswear brand which launched just last week, and is already selling out. Inspired by vintage style, founder Tracey eschews seasonal trends in favour of celebrating strong and spirited women through beautiful effortless pieces. Everything is crafted from meticulously sourced soft modals, as well as organic cotton and silk. The brand offers luxury pieces designed to empower and uplift. Tracey is definitely one to watch for 2021.
Who: Barbara McMillan
What: After working as a stylist for 10 years, Barbara McMillan has an intimate understanding of what women want. She was, and still is, “completely in-tune with the shape and quality” of garments. Spotting a gap in the market for luxury-feeling pyjamas at fair price point, she launched Honna London in 2019. The brand offers the softest cotton PJs in an a range of beautifully coloured stripes – all considerately manufactured at a family-run factory.
4. With Nothing Underneath
Who: Pip Durell
What: An ex-Vogue and Tatler editor, Pip applied her fashion expertise to WNU, a brand that champions sustainability and social responsibility. Inspired by men’s tailoring, but ‘perfectly adjusted’ for women, they focus on one humble wardrobe staple, the boyfriend shirt. It comes in cotton, a cotton mix and linen, and is available is classic colours as well as varying pinstripes. Meghan Markle is already a fan of their perfected-style.
Who: Jessica & Sidney
What: This creative duo grew up in Antwerp with families in the diamond trade. Frustrated by the lack of transparency in the industry, they came up with an idea that combines their heritage with a modern mindset. The result is a collection that aims to cut out the middlemen, offering a transparent supply chain, they use lab-grown diamonds alongside 18k recycled gold. Their Unity necklace – pictured – is top of our wish list.
6. The Underargument
What: The Underargument is a play on undergarment and argument, as founder Maïna believes in the power of individuality and arguing against the norm. In 2015 she set up a platform that could be both a content sharing site and a lingerie brand, and by 2018, the first lingerie collection was introduced. The brand has since grown an incredibly loyal following for its inclusive and unique approach. Each lingerie piece – think peek-a-boo knickers and pretty bralettes – is named after an empowering quote to remind the wearer to embrace their individuality. Also, it’s worth noting that every women featured on the site is selected because of a story they choose to share – not their size or appearance.
7. Aaks Bags
Who: Akosua Afriyie-Kumi
What: Akosua founded A A K S with the goal of introducing the world to her favourite weaving techniques. Crafted by the women of Ghana, the brand creates sustainable jobs within Africa. The bags all represent the spirit – and durability – of their ancestral counterparts. Expect natural weaves, bright colours, tassels and pompoms. We love an authentic label with ethical values, and A A K S is exactly that.
8. We Are Nomads
Who: Jane Badu
What: Passionate about both interior design and travel, Jane combined these two worlds when she launched We Are Nomads. It’s an online store and interior design studio which showcases carefully sourced homeware alongside collections designed by Jane herself. Everything is influenced by her travels to Africa and beyond, and brings together and eclectic mix of soulful pieces for the modern home. The concept offers pieces and craft that are full of life and that tell a story. There’s plenty of colour and pattern evident in the store, with one-of-a-kind ceramics, planters, prints and throws.
9. Partnership Editions
Who: Georgia Spray
What: Partnership Editions is a curated platform which connects would-be collectors with emerging artists. It’s a place where we can all shop affordable art. After a career spent working at leading art institutions including White Cube Gallery, Christie’s and the Auction Room, and tired of the elitism of the art world, Georgia launched Partnership Editions in 2017. Through this, Georgia is able to shine a light on emerging and established female artists – Camilla Perkins, Lisa Hardy, Rose Electra Harris and Hester Finch are just a few of the names we love.