When fashion is used for good, the opportunities it can create are endless. Today, we recognize our brands who are either led by remarkable women or are using fashion to uplift and empower others. Over the past year we have interviewed so many incredible women designers and CEOs in our featured designer series who are controlling their own destiny, producing beautiful designs and inspiring the future generation of women leaders, entrepreneurs and fashion designers who look up to them. Whether brands are uplifting and empowering women or are run by them, we are proud to lean in with them.
As a fashion designer interested in workers' rights and fair trade, Zoe realized that she could make a big impact on the world through her business decisions, so she started 4 All Humanity with her husband Joshua. Together, they work with artisans around the globe, from India to Uganda to Peru and Thailand. Their clothing is made in a cooperative in Northern Uganda, their accessories and jewelry from cooperatives in India, Thailand, Mexico and South Africa. While Fair Trade is a staple of the brand, 4 All Humanity is committed to many facets of sustainability including using recycled materials and vintage fabrics and leathers. With a mission to offer customers beautiful clothing and accessories, while providing their artisans safe working environments, more than living wages and access to global markets, 4 for All Humanity is quickly becoming a leading brand and model for the incredible and positive impact that the fashion industry can achieve. Through responsible sourcing, quality craftsmanship and beautiful design, 4 All Humanity is proving that smart is beautiful and sustainability is smart.
Brazil is a South American country known for its beautiful women, sense of style, seemingly endless beaches and dense rain forests filled with colorful hummingbirds, known in Portuguese as “Beija-Flor.” For this company, name “Beija-Flor” represents the “inherent beauty and style of Brazil and her indigenous selection of hummingbirds that grace her countryside.” And what better way to honor the country’s beauty, than by creating a jeans that help protect it. Inspired by the figure-flattering designs of Brazil, this mother-daughter team created this line of jeans to work with women's curves and support the earth. These fabulous repreve colored jeans are as sustainable as they are chic. Each pair is made from 8 recycled water bottles and made using ethical labor practices. Beija Flor is proudly made in a factory where their employees aren’t just paid fair wages, they are given food and provided with medical care.
Indigo Handloom was founded by Smita Paul, a former journalist, in her two bedroom apartment in Brooklyn. It has a threefold mission: creating low-impact (carbon footprint) jobs, preserving the handloom craft and reducing environmental damages of the fashion industry. They create jobs in rural India in areas with little or no reliable sources of energy. By making handloom or handwoven fabrics the average weaver can earn a living for herself or himself and support up to eight family members, while maintaining an average carbon footprint of 1.19 tons per year (the average American's is 48). Indigo handloom is concerned with preserving cultural heritage of the regions they work in, supporting ancient techniques like khadi, batik, and jamdani.
Indego Africa supports women in Rwanda through economic empowerment and education. Their goal is not only to provide jobs, but to provide women with tools to grow their businesses, hire other artisans and provide for their villages. Indego Africa serves to connect its artisan partners to the international export market, increasing both their opportunities and exposure of their craft. To date, Indego Africa supports 400 women artisans who run nine for-profit cooperatives that produce the crafts that are sold by Indego. As one artisan, Domitille, testified, “I am now a well-to-do woman. I can eat what I want, wear what I want. I am confident, independent, and self-sufficient. I think back to what I was like only a few years ago and I do not recognize myself. And that is a good thing.”
Nur-E Farhana, the founder of Knotty Gal, has a very historic connection to her brand. She was inspired to found Knotty Gal after a visit to the Bhandari Girls' School in Bangladesh, which her great-grandfather founded in 1962. Overwhelmed by the overcrowded classrooms, lack of educational materials and an urgent need for more resources, Nur-E knew something had to be done about this school's condition. Nur-E and her mother joined forces to create an accessories line that donates 10-15% of its proceeds to this school. Since its founding in 2013, Knotty Gal has raised enough to
partner with BRAC,, the world’s largest NGO, to provide computer education training to all 1200+ students at Bhandari. Additionally, the school has been able to outfit three new classrooms with 150 benches, reduce classroom sizes and lower the student teacher ratio.