Diversity or even discrimination in fashion industry is one topic of conversation which is often brought up. Each season, we praise designers who feature more inclusive casting when it comes to body diversity or skin color. But today we don’t want to talk about obvious race problem in fashion. The International Women’s Day brought as to the less-asked question, that takes the conversation off the catwalk and focus more on the design studios and ateliers. In the world driven by the spending habits of women and fashion houses created for Women and by them – why aren’t more women running those houses?
In the 20th century the industry wasn’t saturated with designers, ideas, or an insane amount of collections. A few French Women, saw in this situation a room for creativity and innovation, and most of all room for making their own fashion. It was incredible how those ladies were able to find their niche in what the style world was lacking.
Jeanne Lanvin (1889), Coco Chanel (1909), Coco Chanel (1912), Elsa Schiaparelli (1927), Nina Ricci (1932), and Marie-Louise Carven (1945) – are considered as a pioneers. These women were tired of the clothing options available, saw a business opportunity, and decided to do it for themselves.
What is coming to your mind when you hear those names today? Lanvin, former creative director, Alber Elbaz? The same can be said for Nina Ricci and Guillaume Henri, or Vionnet and Hussein Chalayan. And of course Chanel and Karl Lagerfeld. It’s problematic that so many don’t even realize that these companies were, in fact, started by women. In less than every third fashion houses at this year Milan fashion week, is run by the Woman. In Paris – the same. Women are 70 percent of the workforce in the clothing industry, but only every fourth company is allowing Women to take managing position. Ladies maybe is time for change?