how ‘designing women’ is tackling fashion’s boy’s club
Dior, Versace, Saint Laurent, McQueen: all of them design visionaries who have revolutionized the ways women dress. All of them men.
Of today's ten highest grossing womenswear brands, only two are helmed by female creative directors: Prada and Hermes (and that's only as of July, when Nadège Vanhee-Cybulski succeeded Christophe Lemaire). Even when celebrating fashion's female pioneers like Chanel, Kawakubo, and Philo, it can't help but feel as though the industry remains a bit of a boy's club.
'Designing Women,' a series of talks at the Museum of Arts and Design hosted by Garmento editor and i-D contributor Jeremy Lewis, is taking exactly this issue to task. "I was inspired by Valerie Steele's Women of Fashion, which is all about the impact of women designers. It seems obvious but really I don't think the idea is discussed enough," Jeremy told us of his motivations for organizing the series. "Male designers get so much of the attention despite the fact that it's a business built on women's lives. I think fashion can often miss that...So, I figured I should probably talk to some women about it."
Over the course of four evenings, 'Designing Women' hosts conversations with four female womenswear designers. Laura Cramer and Starr Hout of Apiece Apart, Mona Kowalska, Rachel Comey, and Ryan Roche will all discuss their design philosophies, approaches to running a business, and their experiences as women. Comey kicks off the series tomorrow night. "The designers in this series are women who I admire and respect, whose philosophies I relate to, and who my girlfriends all love and adore," said Jeremy.
Where many other luxury labels fashion women's experiences as lush and untenable fantasies, Jeremy hopes the series will help cut through this discourse: "A lot of fashion is about artifice and posturing and these designers don't bother with any of that. The strength and confidence that requires is probably what I love the most about them."
For tickets and more information about each discussion, click here.
Text Emily Manning
Image via Apiece Apart