4 Fashion Brands Built by Women, for Women

There’s something to be said about supporting your fellow women, and clearly these brands are doing it right. From donating proceeds to female-centric organizations to practicing gender parity in the boardroom, these companies celebrate women every day — even more so during Women’s History Month. Here, get to know some of the female-led and -operated fashion brands that have long been championing women both in the executive suite and through the very products they sell.

1. Sam Edelman

Helmed by power couple Sam and Libby Edelman, the longtime industry-favorite shoe label has been a staunch supporter of women’s rights. It most recently hosted a special in-store event at its NYC outpost on Spring Street last month to bring attention to the UN Women for Peace Association, an organization against violence toward women and girls. Following the conversation moderated by the brand matriarch herself, guests were given a sneak peek at Sam Edelman’s latest denim collection, with 10 percent of sales going to the cause. “If we can help and use our voices to talk about what’s going on in the world, we can make a difference,” said Libby, SVP and co-founder at the company. “It’s all about education, and we take it for granted. I’m learning so much, and I’m really proud to be part of this.”

Sam Edelman Libby Edelman UN Women
The brand’s fans gathered at its Spring Street store to take part in the event.
CREDIT: Courtesy of Sam Edelman

2. Stella McCartney

The first in the fashion industry to earn this title, Stella McCartney has once again been given EDGE certification — essentially the LEED of gender parity certifications, with a rigorous standard for five departments: recruitment and promotion, leadership development, equal pay, flexible working and overall company culture. Not only does the brand boast a sustainable attitude through its ban on leather and fur, it fosters a balanced workplace throughout its offices in the U.S., the U.K. and Italy. “We have a high percentage of women across the business in all functions,” Abigail Lerman, global HR director for the brand, said in a statement. “We pay particular attention to the promotion of women into management and leadership positions.”

3. Keds

It’s no surprise the iconic canvas sneaker brand has made it to these rankings. After all, its very foundation lies in empowerment — “in allowing both our female consumers and our team members to ‘be who they want to be and go where they want to go,'” said company president Gillian Meek, referencing one of its core taglines since it got its start more than 100 years ago. Keds has also launched its own Ladies for Ladies collection, a product partnership with female accessories designers like Alice Saunders and Alaina Marie, as well as introduced its collaboration with the nostalgia-filled Little Miss series — a playful spin on the childhood cartoon with whimsically styled sneakers in the likes of Little Miss Sunshine, Little Miss Bossy and more “that speak to the many roles we play as women living in the modern world,” the brand added in a statement.

Special Keds sneakers for International Women’s Day.
CREDIT: Courtesy of brand

4. Tamara Mellon

The designer introduced her chunky-heeled platform sandal called the Kaleidoscope — aka FN’s Shoe of Week ahead of this year’s International Women’s Day — which took its inspiration from the early women’s movement spearheaded by political activists Gloria Steinem and Angela Davis. The message Tamara Mellon wanted to share through the shoe’s bold ’70s retro style? Honor the individual beauty and brilliance of all women. “I believe women are complex — our identities are fluid,” she said. “Most days I’m polished, but some days I want let out my inner hippie. We defy style quizzes and algorithms. And we reserve the right to change our minds or our shoes whenever we want.” To Mellon, her line of work is more than just about selling sandals. “I’ve always said that my job is to design shoes, but I care more about the women who wear them,” she said.

Tamara Mellon
Tamara Mellon’s Kaleidoscope sandal, plus a vintage scarf she found in L.A.
CREDIT: Joshua Scott

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