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International Women’s Day
Did you know the first International Women’s Day took place in 1911? As we live in a mobile first world, we undoubtedly are inundated with IWD content all over our social feeds and in our inboxes. But what is it, exactly? Well, according to the official website, IWD is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity.
Each week at Directory, the agency is filled with women from all over the world who are looking to get a foot into their fashion careers. Some are local or international students studying at one of the many top schools with London. Others are professionals who are wanting to leave more corporate careers and enter the business of fashion. Everyone has their own story about why they are now at a place where they want to start working immediately and begin making their dreams of a larger than life fashion career into reality. The fashion industry has always been a place people from any background can find a sense of belonging. For International Women’s Day, we are sharing 5 inspiring women who made their fashion dreams into reality in their own unique way. We hope it inspires you to do the same. Enjoy!
Image: Victoria Beckham at Selfridges Pop Up via Instagram @victoriabeckham
FROM SPICE GIRL TO STYLE ICON
Victoria Beckham: from Spice Girl to Style Icon. “VB” as she is universally known to those who know her and those who do not know her at all, has risen to the iconic status within the fashion world. She entered into the world of fashion to a lot of skeptics. She came into the industry with no formal training and her personal style was questionable for many years. But sheer determination and hard work has led her to be one of the most respected women in the fashion industry, She currently has a Pop Up in Selfridges until 14 April along with her own stand alone boutiques. The designer says she always dreamed of a career in fashion. She’s a perfect example of what happens when you say yes to an opportunity that isn’t part of the plan but ends up leading you to your plan. As the matriarch of her uber famous family, she is practically a lifestyle brand.
Image Credite: Moncler via Instagram. Simone Rocha via Irish Times
THE DESIGN DISRUPTOR FROM DUBLIN
Simone Rocha: Dublin born Simone Rocha debuted at Fashion Week in 2010 after studying at the National College of Art and Design in Dublin and doing her MA at Central Saint Martins. She is the epitome of designer as artist as she collaborates with brands, most recently her notable design collaboration has elevated Moncler to into a category of its own. She also curates windows, does shop-in-shops and has her hand in every detail from sculpture to in-store furniture. To get a hit of inspiration and a peek inside what it must be to fall inside the rabbit hole of this inspiring designers creative mind, visit her shop on Mount Street in London as well as get a hands on see-touch-feel experience of her designs for Moncler.
Image Credit: Laura Weir via ES Magazine
THE SOCIALLY ENGAGED EDITOR
Laura Weir: One of the most inspiring career’s in fashion journalism has to be that of ES Magazine editor Laura Weir. Previous experience at Sunday Time’s Style and working at the fashion bible known as British Vogue as Fashion Features Editor before landing the top job at ES Magazine, Laura Weir has injected a much needed breath of fresh air into the publication. She has that quintessential quality of everything we have come to love about Brits, the self-deprecating humour, the confidence to present her glam editor style and her hung over struggles having to parent a bit too early the morning after the night before on her Instagram account.. She has embraced the power of social media, giving readers of ES Magazine a guided tour of each week’s issue via her IG Stories. For anyone who is interested in pursuing a fashion journalism career, her account is one to follow. A loud and proud SE Londoner whose recently moved house, we expect to see her self proclaimed hashtag #HouseOfWeir trending soon.
Image via: Instagram @adwoaaboah
THE MODEL WITH A MISSION
Adwoa Aboah: London born model and activist Adowa Aboah may have been destined to be in the fashion industry. Both her parents worked in fashion as a photographer agent and location scout. Having graced the covers of countless magazines and having been cast in some of the most high-profile fashion campaigns and runway shows, as well as having worked as a stylist and creative director. We love her most for blazing a trail around mental illness by co-founding Gurls Talk. She has been vocal about her struggles with depression and anxiety which led her to create a safe space for women to discuss their own struggles with depression, sex and the pressures they face from social media. Adwoa Aboah proves it is possible to turn your passion into a purposeful career. Most recently, she has added making the #Forbes30Under30 list in Europe under the category of Art & Culture. We celebrate her for unabashedly forging into every venture as her authentic self, proving to herself and the industry there is space for diversity and disruptors who make the industry more inclusive for those who come after them.
Image: Maria Grazia Chiuri via Instgram
THE DESIGNER AS ACTIVIST
Maria Grazia Chiuri: Italian fashion designer and feminist Maria Grazia Chiuri holds the ground-breaking honour of being the first woman to become the artistic director for the house of Dior. She has worked her way up to the highest echelon of luxury fashion by first working as an accessories designer at Fendi then going to Valentino where she partnered creatively with Pierpaolo Piccioli as co-creative director, where the duo are credited with making the brand relevant again and a must have on the red carpet. The designer admits in a Vogue interview, she never reflected on feminism when she first started working in fashion, stating she had no idea how important feminism could be in the lives of women. Since then, every follower of fashion has seen her iconic t-shirt design emblazoned with “We should all be feminists”, the designer has integrated using her position at Dior to herald in a new era for women and bring in a more feminine and contemporary feel to the brand where she masterfully ditches fashion dictatorship for fashion dialogue around the issues that matter most to her. The most important being, women empowering women.
The list of inspiring women in the fashion industry is endless. We have chosen five who stand out to us to demonstrate how many different entry points and pathways there are to ones dream career in the fashion industry. What was once a business ruled by men for women, and still largely is, these five women are changing the landscape for other women to step into an arena and not have to feel their personal story needs to be omitted from their professional one, but rather it is exactly that which makes it their journey so much more inspiring and appealing.