What Does It Take to Be a Truly Feminist Fashion Brand?

Today is International Women’s Day. But what does that mean? In short, it’s a worldwide celebration of all women and their achievements, and also a time to shed light on how far we all still can grow to create equity in our society. As a fashion editor, though, I can also tell you that it often equates to a slew of pitches in our inboxes from brands sharing news of initiatives, pledges, and products that all seemingly benefit (often through proceeds of its sales) women everywhere.

So in 2018, when the word feminist—literally spelled out on T-shirts, handbags, etc.—is as ubiquitous as any other major trend sparked from a fashion week runway, can you blame us for being a little skeptical of what it really means to be a feminist fashion brand?

This question sparked a bit of investigation and inspired us to look closer at those brands that have often been associated with supporting women’s rights, championing inclusion, and using feminist phrases or symbols in their designs. However, instead of speaking to the women who founded these brands and whose recognized names appear on the labels, we sought out those who are behind the scenes.

Coming with expertise in design, marketing, customer service, and leadership, the nine women we spoke to are integral members of the teams operating, producing, and doing business that’s not only lucrative but also esteemed within the industry itself. The below are their perspectives on what it means to work for a feminist fashion company—and, for the rest of us, what it ultimately means to support one today and beyond.

In looking for what qualifies a fashion brand to call itself feminist, the biggest takeaway is that feminism doesn’t just have one definition. In fact, like all other factors that play into your decisions to spend money (for the brand name, for the quality, for the ethical practices, etc.), the decision to support a brand comes down to what values matter most to you.

The above examples are but a few brands who walk the walk not only for the press but, as expressed by their employees, for their internal teams. Should this make you more so inclined to stock your closet full of these designs, so be it.