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5 Women We Have to Thank for the Fashion World

In the wake of Women’s History Month, there is no better time to recognize the amazing fashion designers who helped pave the way for the fashion industry. Today’s fashion continues as a male-run business, which makes it so important to identity the females who have created historical change for the industries.

Designers should be the focus of fashion, but oftentimes we don’t know the faces behind infamous patterns, trends and silhouettes. It’s why I’m paying tribute to five female designers who deserve the spotlight.

Coco Chanel

Coco Chanel pioneered and established the household name “Chanel.” It trademarked the tweed coat with gold button embellishments, the little black dress and the classy cocktail necklace. The designer elevated her brand during World War I by using a jersey fabric—often found in underwear—to manufacture most of the items in her collection. We have Coco Chanel to thank for the liberation of clothing. She strayed from the tight corsets of the early 20th century and established shorter length and free-moving pieces. And we cannot talk about Chanel without mentioning the infamous Chanel No. 5 perfume, which makes any woman feel fabulous.

Rei Kawakubo

Rei Kawakubo presented her first collection in 1981 in Paris. This collection is what we now know as Comme de Garçons. After watching the fall ready-to-wear collection, Kawakubo continues to play with geometric shapes and splashes of color. She challenges the norms of fashion and epitomizes haute couture. Before she became the brand, Comme de Garçons, she worked for other women. Now, Kawakubo paves the way for modern fashion and attracts celebrity attention from the likes of Rihanna.

Robyn “Rihanna” Fenty

Although Rihanna designed Fenty Beauty for inclusivity of richer skin tone (and Savage X Fenty caters to all body types and styles), I’m referring to the Fenty clothing line. Rihanna, part-time artist and part-time CEO, has found the time to create yet another brand, which falls under the LVMH name, a world leader in high-quality products. LVMH features designer names such as Kenzo and Marc Jacobs, to name a few. Rihanna became the first female and designer of color to join the label.

Betsy Johnson

The queen of cotton candy colors and eccentric accessories has left her mark on the fashion world. Betsey Johnson founded New York street fashion during the late 1970s and forever excites her audience with her closing cartwheel to every runway show. Johnson reminds us to have fun with the way we dress and ignites our inner child.

Stella McCartney

As an ethical advocate, Stella McCartney always uses vegan leather and fur within her collection. Through her sustainable fashion, she proves that high-end designers can prioritize the planet and appeal to the everyday woman and fashion enthusiast. In her most recent fall collection, McCartney dressed her models as animals and connected it to her Instagram page stating, “What the fox,” and “My coat looks better on me.” McCartney campaigned for cruelty-free and sustainable fashion before it became a widespread issue, and other designers have looked to her in developing their own ethical models.

Kalia is currently a journalism major at the University of Florida. She loves getting involved in all things fashion, jamming out to house music beats and traveling to new places. She is currently an active member of the Black Student Union and spends her leisure reading, sketching and working out. You can keep up with all the things she's involved in through Instagram @k.a.li.a.
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