The fashion world has seen many influential figures over the centuries, but it’s just as important to acknowledge the entrepreneurs as it is to acknowledge the designers of the fashion industry. Up-and-coming female entrepreneurs can (and should) look toward those that came before them in the industry; they can learn from one another and lift each other up in a world where female entrepreneurs still face bias when compared to their male counterparts.
Through the hard work, dedication, and perseverance of these influential female entrepreneurs, they’ve changed the fashion industry in ways that some people can only dream of. Because of this, it’s vital that aspiring fashion entrepreneurs look to them, their successes, and their failures to eventually lead to their own success.
Take Diane von Furstenberg, for example. In 1974, she designed the wrap dress at 27 years old and changed women’s clothes forever. Starting as a skirt with a wrap talk, Diane took the two pieces and pictured them combined into a dress. She saw it as an easy yet sexy clothing option for women’s wardrobes. Though she faced bankruptcy when the dress started going out of trend, Diane used the same dress to relaunch her brand in 1997, using her past mistakes to build a more sustainable business.
Universally flattering for all different body shapes and ages, the wrap dress is easy to make elegant with a few accessories. The dress can be worn on multiple occasions and changed women’s fashion for good.
Another inspiring women entrepreneur in the fashion industry is Sara Blakely, the creator of Spanx. She created the product while working as a door-to-door salesperson in Florida. The job required her to wear pantyhose, but she wanted to wear open-toed shoes, so she altered the pantyhose accordingly. Initially, Spanx was rejected by multiple hosiery mills, and Sara noticed that the mills were all run by men who didn’t use the products they created. The mill that took to Spanx was run by a man whose daughters liked the idea, and Spanx was sent out to the world.
Spanx is for more than just plus-size women. Women of all shapes and sizes can wear Spanx to give them more confidence in both their bodies and their fashion. By removing pany lines and muffin tops, Sara’s product was able to make fashion look better on everyone.
Meanwhile, Sophia Amoruso founded one of the fastest-growing e-commerce sites while living in her aunt’s basement. She started selling vintage clothes at 22 with an eBay store named Nasty Girl Vintage. By 2008, the store adopted the name Nasty Gal, and Sophia continued to sell retro, sexy, and original fashion through it.
Doaa Dashoush is an experienced businesswoman in the fashion industry. She currently serves as the President and CEO of GFASHION, a global luxury brand currently based in New York City. GFASHION prides themselves on their unique approach to the industry. They don’t follow trends set by others. The Luxury brand focuses on innovative design through their work with the top designers on collections that reflect the company’s craftsmanship.