Powerful Women Week: The Fashion and Beauty Edit

What does powerful mean to you? Who do you look up to for your daily inspiration? Are they financially successful, independent, body positive, sure of themselves and their priorities, not afraid to tackle difficult subjects, or all of the above? The crux of it is, powerful means something different to everyone, depending on what you want to get out of life and what kind of person you want to be.

It’s a whole other kettle of fish when we come to think about what makes a powerful woman, predominantly because the discourse of success and power is undeniably masculine. This has led to numerous articles, despite their advising aim, merely express the need to adopt more masculine traits. What’s worse, a plethora of negative, stereotypes about powerful women are still being circulated, perpetuating the idea that women are unfit to be in positions of power. I mean, how sick are we of hearing that every time a woman manager gets her period, somewhere a company falls apart?

 

You get the idea… It's no groundbreaking discovery that in the top positions of many different industries (ceo’s, or managing directors in finance, business, healthcare etc) men chiefly dominate. This can surprisingly be seen in the fashion industry too. Although women make up more than 70 percent of the total workforce, only 25 percent hold leadership positions in top fashion companies despite the fact that women are undoubtedly the main consumers. This gives us all the more reason to champion those that have worked against the grain and defined success on their own terms. The very nature of fashion and beauty embodies this flexible approach to definition as they mean so many things from one person to the next: a means of self-expression, empowerment, political statement or to bring out ones fun and frivolous side. Here is just a glimpse into the lives of inspiring women that are shaking things up and winning at life in the fashion/beauty industry. 

The Business of Fashion: Alexa Chung

My need to suppress the urge to fan girl over Alexa Chung is a daily struggle; she is undoubtedly one of the most influential figures in the modern fashion world. Her positions as designer, author, ambassador and co-founder of the fashion app Villoid leave us spellbound as to how she balances it all! Among the things I love about her is her distinctly personal style, her ability to not take herself too seriously (think about her book IT and how she constantly plays with the concept of being labeled an IT girl) and her engagement in many different platforms within the industry. Her YouTube series on The Future of Fashion not only acts as a goldmine of visual insight for breaking into the fashion world, but an documentary sparking discussion about making fashion more ethical, relevant to society and the vital importance of diversity.

Modeling and beauty standards

One of the biggest skeletons in the closet that the fashion industry has grappled with throughout the years is the issue of beauty standards. There exists a constant dynamic between idealizing specific body types, most plainly seen with models stretching from high-fashion runways to high-street campaigns, and fashion/beauty being a universal language that all women can take part in. Winnie Harlow is an inspiring example amongst many questioning and breaking the boundaries of what is considered beautiful. She first appeared on the scene after winning America’s Next Top Model and has vitiligo, a skin condition that causes pale white patches to develop on the body. Instead of letting this deter her from perusing her passion, she embraced her wonderful uniqueness to make a rightful impression and to show the world what she is capable of. She continues to use her platform in the industry to inspire self-love and confidence not only to people who also have the condition, but to women of all shapes, skin colours and ages.

Victoria secret is a brand that is infamously known for setting impossibly high body standards for its increasingly teenage consumer demographic. Plus-size model Tabria Majors took matters into her own hands and completely transformed a number of her favourite looks from Victoria’s Secret's lingerie line. The result: a breathtakingly sensual and downright badass compilation of photos! You can read more about her ultimate statement of self love here.

I hope these optimistic examples of defiance and determination inspire you to embrace your unmatchable uniqueness, inspiring you to aim high in whatever passion guides your undoubted intelligence, thoughtfulness and endless amount of awesome!