There is so much creativity that surrounds the fashion industry. One may be very surprised to learn what the elements of fashion truly look, feel and sound like. Some are obvious and some complex. Some must be discovered and some must be ignited. One may also be very surprise to learn that the fashion industry is dominated by men. While it’s dominated by men the are plenty of women making fashion history.
March is Women’s History Month and we had to take a moment to celebrate the women in fashion, who sometimes go unnoticed because they enjoy flying under the radiator. We celebrate them simply for reason they give us so much to aspire to, be proud of, and also gives us all reasons to dig a little deeper.
Powerhouse Women Making Fashion History
Eunice Johnson was a not only the publisher of The Negro Digest, and creator of Ebony Magazine she was a Fashion Pioneer. In 1950 Eunice Johnson began producing the Ebony Fashion Fair, a traveling fashion show highlighting African American models and fashion for more than half a century.
“No Barriers.” Eunice Johnson (April 4, 1916 – January 3, 2010)
Vera Wang went from writing about designers to becoming one. She wanted to work at Vogue so badly she said she would even sweep the floors. And she did just that, she started out sweeping hair from in the beauty department and she later became the the beauty editor. Although she was turned down for the position of Editor In Chief at Vogue, Vera Wang is a fashion powerhouse. Designing her first dress at age 40, Vera Wang currently is living life rising above expectations. Vera Wang is the “It Woman” when women dress for their special occasions.
“Don’t be afraid to learn. It’s good to work for others. I worked for others for 20 years. They paid me to learn.” Vera Wang
Susan Taylor began her career at Essence Magazine as Fashion and Beauty Editor and later served as Editor In Chief for nearly two decades. Founded by Susan Taylor, Essence CARES, the National CARES Mentoring Movement is the fastest growing mentor-recruitment organization in the nation.
“Thoughts have power; thoughts are energy. And you can make your world or break it by your own thinking.” Susan Taylor
Dian Von Furstenberg entered the world of fashion in 1970 and by the 1974 she created the symbolic wrap dress. The wrap dress has been a staple in women’s closets ever since. Diane Von Furstenberg is commitment to empowering women is expressed not only through fashion but also philanthropy and mentorship.
DIANE VON FURSTENBERG
“I didn’t always know what I wanted to do, but I knew the kind of women I wanted to be.” Diane Von Furstenberg
Anna Wintour is said to be the most watched, most powerful and influential person in the fashion industry. She has been the Editor In Chief at American Vogue since 1988. She is also the artistic director of Conde Nast. American Vogue reaches 11.4 million readers in print and an average of 1.2 monthly visitors online; and Anna Wintour is arguably the most commercially minded editor ever.
Linda Fargo is among the most recognizable figures during Fashion Week. She is responsible for identifying and creating the trends that ultimately end up in one of the most important luxury department stores in the world. You guessed it. New York City’s Bergdorf Goodman! Linda Fargo is the Senior Vice President, Women’s Fashion Director and Store Presentation at Bergdorf Goodman. Her claim to fame? She has created over 1,000 window displays for Bergdorfs.
Jenny Fleiss and Jennifer Hyman’s are the Founders of Rent The Runways. They have redefined the fashion business, bringing high-end wear to every woman. Women want to wear something amazing for those special occasions like weddings and charity galas, but they don’t want to spend a ton of money on something they’ll only wear once. The business was an instant hit. Some department stores feel so threatened they’ve reportedly told vendors they will pull floor merchandise if it ever shows up on Rent the Runway’s site. Today the Rent The Runway is backed by $55.4 million in venture capital funding, and employs over 200 people.
JENNY FLEISS and JENNIFER HYMAN
Cheap and chic fashion would not be the same without Forever 21! Jin Sook along with her husband, founded Forever 21 in 1984 in Downtown L.A. inside a 900 square-foot-store. Today Forever 21 stores are everywhere from the US to Canada to Chile, and it is one of the most recognizable retailers in the world. Jin Sook Chang and her husband still oversee it all.
JIN SOOK CHANG
Francesca Amfitheatrof joined Tiffany & Co. as its first woman Designer Director in September 2013, but her career leading up to that was already pretty prolific. Just to name a few things on her resume: jewelry collections for Chanel, Fendi, and Alice Temperley, jewelry and accessories for Marni, and jewelry and silverware for Asprey & Garrard.
“I believe there is great power in simplicity.” Francesca Amfitheatrof
Sara Blakley is the creator of “body-shaping” underwear company Spanx. She turned a $5,000 start-up into into a multi-million dollar business. When she showed it to a representative of Neiman Marcus–by trying on and demonstrating the power of Spanx in the bathroom–the representative agreed to stock Spanx in seven stores.
“Trust your gut.” Sara Blakely
Annie Leibotvitz, need little introduction. She is one of the most famous photographers in the world. She began her career as a staff photographer for Rolling Stone Magazine and became known for her celebrity portraits. She is best known for her covers of Vogue. Some of the most notable shots are of Leibovitz. The list of her work is endless and highly respectable.
“A very subtle difference can make the picture or not.” Annie Leibotvitz
Natalie Massenet is credited with bringing high-fashion to the world. Launched in 2004 with her groundbreaking e-commerce site Net-a-Porter. 2004. Massenet realized her calling while working at Women’s Wear Daily and Tatler, observing that most consumers weren’t able to buy the collections of designers who showed on the runway. With that tidbit, Massenet created a website that allowed people to buy the products they coveted with just the click of a mouse. It was so ground breaking because at that time folks were barely shopping online at all. Natalie Massenet was the first to create such a platform for luxury goods and entirely reshaped the industry. She sold the company to Richemont for an estimated $80 million, although remains as Executive Chairman and an investor.
It’s no secret that personal style bloggers have completely transformed the fashion space. Leading the pack is Aimee Sing of Song of Style Blog. She began blogging in 2008 while studying architecture in San Francisco. When she uploaded a photo of herself wearing an outfit she’d picked out for a job interview, it gained a great deal of traction, and that was the beginning of Song of Style Blog. The site now covers everything from fashion to home decor, and attracts an astonishing 3.7 million monthly page views. With 1.6 million Instagram followers, large media companies wonder how.
Miuccia Prada is the Co-CEO and Creative Director for Prada. She first grace the fashion world in 1985 with a collection of black nylon handbags and backpacks. Many decades later, Prada is still at the top, and fashion trends often begin and end with what this Italian trendsetter. Prada is not only brand trendsetting, they are moneymakers, bringing in over $4.6 billion in revenue each year.
Sharen Jester Turney is Victoria’s Secret President and CEO. Sharen Jester Turney joined Victoria’s Secret in 2000, and by 2006 was named President and CEO. During her tenure, revenue has risen from $4.5 billion to over $6.6 billion. Victoria’s Secret continues to be the largest retailer of intimate apparel in the world. In fact, in 2013, Bloomberg named her the fourth highest compensated woman executive in the United States, proof that she is one of the most in demand business women in the world.
SHAREN JESTER TURNEY
Ashley Olsen and Mary-Kate Olsen have certainly earned their title has fashion Moguls. From child stars to fashion icons! Their The Row and Elizabeth & James lines are contributed to much of their success. After winning the fashion industry’s top trophy, the CFDA Award for Womenswear in 2012, with past winners including Proenza Scholouer and Marc Jacobs, they fully and unapologetically cemented their status in the fashion industry, making them two of the most successful celebrities turned designers, “possibly ever”!
ASHLEY OLSEN and MARY-KATE OLSEN
Amber Venz began her blog VENZedits.com in 2010. Once she realized that she wasn’t able to easily profit off the product recommendations that she was making, she began to rethink things. This was something many, many bloggers faced at the time, and led Venz to develop RewardStyle. She is currently the Co Founder and President of RewardStyle, which provides fashion, beauty, and lifestyle bloggers with relevant product links for items they are featuring. These links then allow them to get paid in a similar fashion to the way personal shoppers are compensated offline. The simple yet, genius idea has allowed many bloggers to become big businesses with big bank. Women’s Wear Dailyreporting this year that top bloggers can make $1 million a year just from affiliate links. RewardStyle continues to grow, and the company has even developed a platform for shopping content from Instagram.
Pat McGrath is offen referred to as the most important makeup artist in the world, despite not having “formal” training. Pat McGrath has worked with everyone from Jil Sander to Prada to John Galliano to craft runway best beauty looks. In 1999 Giorgio Armani called on her to design his beauty line, and in 2004 Proctor and Gamble named her the Creative Design Director for its cosmetics lines, including Max Factor and Cover Girl. Claim to fame? McGrath is known for not using makeup brushes, instead preferring to use her hands. BAM!
“Creativity is your best makeup skill, don’t be afraid to experiment.” Pat McGrath
Carine Roitfeld is nothing short of a fashion legend. Carine Roitfeld is the former editor of Paris Vogue, the Founder of her own magazine CR Fashion Book, has recently been appointed Global Fashion Director Harper’s Bazaar AND Tom Ford’s “ideal woman”, is the star and subject of a new documentary. Mademoiselle. She was also a key consultant for Tom Ford during his days at Gucci and Yves Saint Laurent.
“I like to surprise people. I try to take risks.” Carine Roitfeld
Rachel Zoe is a stylist and designer that has single highhandedly, redefined what being a “stylist” means today. Rachel Zoe became a household name when a reality show focusing on her business launched on Bravo in 2008. She parlayed that success into a line for QVC, a daily Newsletter, The Zoe Report, and in 2011 even launched an eponymous contemporary fashion collection. Rachel Zoe is best known for working with celebrities, fashion houses, beauty firms, advertising agencies, and magazine editors. She is described as “Hollywood’s most powerful fashion player.”
“Style is saying who you are without having to speak.” Rachel Zoe
Sophia Amoruso started selling women’s vintage clothes in her eBay shop from her Aunt’s basement. She decided to open Nasty Gal online boutique in 2008, selling vintage inspired looks at affordable prices. Sophia Amoruso is a #GirlBoss, created one of the fastest growing e-commerce sites in the country and has opened her second retail store. Sophia’s book #GIRLBOSS became a New York Times best seller and and has been recently names “Fashion New Phenom” by Forbes.
“Here’s one thing the fashion industry wont tell you. Confidence is more attractive than anything you could put on your body.” Sophia Amoruso
Venus Williams transition easily from the court to the design table. Venus Williams has a fashion degree from The Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale and is currently working on her MBA. She has collaborated with Ralph Lauren and Diane Von Furstenburg for Reebok and owns an interior decorating company based in Jupiter, Florida. Venus Williams is also 21-time Grand Slam champion, ranked 86 on Forbes Celebrity 100 list, which ranks the most powerful celebrities in the world. She earned an estimated $13 million last year, thanks largely to tournament winnings and endorsement deals. To add to her that be sure to look for EleVen, her fashionl line, it has hidden messages of “Bring IT On” water marked inside. EleVen can be found in pro shops and sporting goods stores.
“Come to win. Always come to win.” Venus Williams
written by Simeaka Melton, Editor In Chief