With the peak of award season behind us (see you next year, Oscars!), you are probably tired of watching red carpet specials and hearing the following question: What are you wearing?
Of course people, especially women, are not simply the sum of their clothing, but it is a popular question nonetheless, as fashion continues to be a topic of popular interest. Because of how little non-fashion buffs know about the few female designers there are – a list entitled the “Top 50 Best Fashion Designers” features, shockingly, only 19 female designers and even fewer women of color, representing a problem within the industry as a whole – NYMM decided that it is time to shed light on some of the women who have dominated the fashion scene.
As Miranda Priestly told her notoriously fashion-clueless assistant in The Devil Wears Prada, “That blue [sweater you’re wearing] represents millions of dollars and countless jobs. It’s sort of comical that you think you’ve made a choice that exempts you from the fashion industry when, in fact, you’re wearing the sweater that was selected for you by the people in this room from a pile of stuff.”
Regardless of your personal opinion about the importance of the fashion industry, it impacts our lives daily: in what we do or do not wear, how we style our hair, and often in how we craft our own self-expression. Fashion is a hidden source of vitality in all of our lives, so it is time that we celebrate the women within the field.
Perhaps best known as the wedding dress designer, Vera Wang has for sure made her mark upon the fashion industry. Recently, Wang was awarded the very prestigious French award, the Légion d’Honneur. In the following video, she explains her love for Paris, stating, “I guess deep down inside something always beckoned me: a desire to express my own vision of women.”
Vera is more than just a designer who makes ethereal wedding dresses, which oftentimes break traditional conventions. She’s been a source of inspiration and advice for women all over the world. In an interview with Vogue, Wang stated, “I encourage all the young women who write me for advice to get a job with someone they admire. You have to learn skills, technique. It’s only from there you can become a rule breaker.”
Prada is a household name, but, perhaps, Miuccia is not. Miuccia Prada is the youngest granddaughter of Mario Prada and took over the family company in 1978. From there, she transformed it into a “modern fashion powerhouse.” As Harper’s Bazaar states, “With a Ph.D. in political science, Miuccia has spearheaded the vision of intellectual and complicated references in fashion.” She even launched her own collection within the company called Miu Miu in 1992.
In an interview with Vogue, Prada stated, “It’s important for me to make clothes for broad groups of people … Opening your gaze to the rest of the world, to their unforgiving taste, is a challenge I am up for.”
“We are in an industry driven by female consumers, but sometimes it doesn’t feel like females have the power they should. So I put my strength and anger into my designs,” said Simone Rocha in an interview with Vogue.
Rocha’s designs seamlessly mix both feminine and feminist qualities to create something that is magical. Her most recent design awards include the 2016 “British Womenswear Designer Award,” as well as Harper Bazaar’s 2016 Designer of the Year.
These women are breaking ground and continue to push barriers in a male dominated industry. Hopefully, they can inspire women from all walks of life to do the same and to be just as daring and groundbreaking in their own fields.
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