March is Women’s History Month. It’s a month to celebrate women’s power and their contributions to society, as well as the history and progress of the women’s rights movement. Today, women lead corporations and countries. They’re also at the forefront of human rights campaigns all over the world.
In celebration of women’s history month, we wanted to share with our readers notable female founders, CEOs and creative directors who have all made a substantial impact on their individual fields as well as the world at large. In fact, some of our favorite men’s brands were actually created by women.
These leaders are visionaries, creatives, entrepreneurs and influential businesswomen. Keep reading to discover some of our favorite brands led by women.
Sierra Tishgart and Maddy Moelis founded Great Jones in 2018 after struggling to find cookware that made them feel confident enough to try any recipe. Tishgart was a food writer and editor at New York Magazine before starting the company, and was motivated by a desire to own cookware that looked nice, lasted, and worked well. They both value making food yourself, and even named the company after Judith Jones, the cookbook editor who published Julia Child’s first cookbook way back when.
I’ve personally been drooling over their dutch oven, called “The Dutchess” that’s enameled cast-iron and one of the most IG-worthy pieces of cookware I’ve ever seen. The enamel finish makes it easy to clean and deglaze during cooking, and we all know how well cast iron handles heat. If you’ve got a few extra bucks to spend on a piece of cookware that’ll live on your stove and look like it belongs there, this is what to spend it on.
Away is a modern luggage brand designed to make the world even easier to navigate with high-quality luggage products. They’ve got everything from leather tote bags to their signature hard-shell suitcases, which include optional batteries for on-the-go power sources.
Away’s co-founders are both women, Steph Korey and Jen Rubio. They were colleagues on Warby Parker’s early executive team. Passionate about travel, the duo launched the company in 2015. After nearly half a decade of success, the company has reached a total valuation of $1.4 billion and has more than 150 employees.
This luggage brand is all about giving you everything you need and nothing you don’t. They’ve done just that with their simple, elegant luggage set and their carry on suitcases. This is the product that started it all for them, and it’s easy to tell why they’ve found such success.
The Away carry-on is sized to fit in the overhead bins of all major airlines. It’s also lightweight, easy to maneuver and includes the option to add a TSA-approved battery so you can charge your devices wherever you roam. It comes in a wide variety of colors and styles, plus you have the option to buy it without the battery if you prefer.
Woodford Reserve, the immensely popular whiskey distillery, has an Assistant Master Distiller who’s female and very well-known in the spirits space — Elizabeth McCall. She started off in her mother’s footsteps at the distillery as a sensory expert in the quality department, and now she works directly with the label’s Master Distiller Chris Morris on developing new products.
When it comes to whiskey, Woodford Reserve knows its stuff. In fact, it’s where the first batch of bourbon ever created was made in 1812, and the distillery itself is now a National Historic Landmark. This bourbon whiskey is their signature bottle, made up of over 200 different flavors that’s been honed using years of expertise. It contains notes of grain, wood, sweetness, spice, fruit and floral.
Miuccia Prada is the youngest granddaughter of Mario Prada, the founder of the modern fashion powerhouse. She has helped transform Prada from a modest family leather goods business into one of the world’s most well-known and influential brands.
Miuccia got her PhD in political science at the University of Milan before studying to become a mime and joining Milan’s Piccolo Teatro. She started with the family business in 1978 and has stayed there ever since. She currently serves as the brand’s co-CEO and lead Creative Director.
Her artistic visionary and business savvy has led to success outside of the label as well. She founded the womenswear line Miu Miu in 1988 which, in her own words, is all about “uniforms for the slightly disenfranchised.” She has also dabbled in menswear throughout her career and has received numerous awards and accolades for her work.
If you’re looking to add a touch of luxury to your accessories collection, this Prada belt is a classic basic necessity that’s high quality and will last for ages. It’s made of 100% genuine calf leather and metal and will class up any outfit. The uniquely shaped buckle adds a bit of personality to a basic look, and the name “Prada” is understated so you’ll exude elegance without being too flashy (we’re looking at you, Gucci Marmont belt).
Claire Waight Keller is the first female artistic director for the brand Givenchy, succeeding Riccardo Tisci in 2017. Previously, she was the creative director at the womenswear brand Chloé where she was praised for her 70’s feminine aesthetic. After getting her Masters in Fashion Knitwear from the Royal College of Art in London, she was hired by Calvin Klein and Ralph Lauren as a designer. She also worked along Tom Ford at Gucci as a senior designer.
In 2018 she won British Designer of the Year at the Fashion Awards at Royal Albert Hall in London. She also created a lot of buzz for designing Megan Markle’s dress for her wedding to Prince Harry in 2018, one of the most coveted fashion moments in recent memory.
If you’re looking to treat yourself, the Givenchy Spectre Sneakers are brand new and perfect for sporting a designer athleisure look. These sneakers toe the line between fashionable athletics and designer luxury perfectly. These sneakers have a lightweight white technical sole, black nylon, leather with suede paneling and a white GIVENCHY signature on the side. The laces wrap all the way around the shoe to the back with a red tie, a stylish and unique twist on your classic running shoe.
Bearaby’s founder, Kathrin Hamm, slept for a few hours under a weighted blanket and was instantly sold. She decided to set out on a mission to rid the world of plastic, synthetic weighted blankets that were bad for us and for the environment. Bearaby makes weighted blankets out of the high-quality, sustainable materials that help you fall asleep and stay asleep, without medicine or guilt.
One of their most popular blankets, the Cotton Napper, is a knitted weighted blanket made from GOTS-certified organic cotton. It’s super soft, breathable and comes in five different cozy colors. You can choose between 15, 20 or 25 pounds for the weight, and it’ll keep you comfortable and temperature-regulated in all seasons.
Sarah Burton took over Alexander McQueen’s line in 2010 after the founder’s untimely death, and she has served as the Creative Director of the label ever since.
Her clothes are beautiful and she’s created one of the most aesthetically unique runway reputations in the industry through her “armor for women” approach. She brings people from around the world of all shapes and sizes to celebrate beauty in all its forms.
She also received buzz for her contributions to Royal Family fashion after designing Kate Middleton’s wedding dress in 2011 and Pippa’s maid of honor dress. She was honored with the Order of the British Empire in 2012 for her services.
Alexander McQueen was always a darker and more mysterious figure in the fashion world, and skulls adorn much of the brand’s pieces. This Skull Necklace is a piece of men’s jewelry from that’s perfect for making a statement alongside formal wear. It’s a long cable chain necklace with a skull pendant at the end. It was created with silver-toned brass in Italy.
Oars + Alps
Like all great businesses, Oars + Alps was born out of necessity. In the case of Mia Duchnowski and Laura Cox, the necessity wasn’t for them, but actually their husbands. Both were married to adventurous guys who were finding it difficult to find quality skincare that wasn’t expensive, bursting at the seams with chemicals or designed for women. The rest, well, is women’s history.
These days, Oars + Alps has expanded its offerings from just a few items to a vast array of skincare products ranging from bar soap and body wash to face washes and deodorants. For us, it’s all about Oars + Alps’ Originals Kit. For just over $50, you get a moisturizer, a facial cleansing stick and deodorant of the highest quality. And for those who love the outdoors and that adventurous lifestyle, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better bundle for braving the elements.
Ariel Kaye, Founder and current CEO of Parachute, was tired of mediocre bedding products, so she decided to create her own brand in 2014. With a background in advertising and brand management, Kaye saw an opening in the market and dove in. Parachute is her creation, and we’re thankful for it.
While Parachute has plenty of amazing offerings on their site, it’s their bedding bundles that seem to always do us in. But exercise caution when purchasing these sets; these sheets are soft. You may find it’s never been harder to get out of bed once these sheets, blankets and pillowcases are on your bed. Don’t say we didn’t warn you!
Like Mark Zuckerberg before her, Katrina Lake started Stitch Fix while still in college and grew the startup into a hugely successful global brand. In fact, she shipped the brand’s first order out of her Cambridge apartment. The idea behind the business is bringing personal styling to the world thanks to great taste, some fantastic stylists and a ton of clever algorithms.
Well, nine years have come and gone and Stitch Fix is only getting bigger and better. In 2016 the company debuted their men’s line and guys around the world are better off for it.
In order to get your fix, all you have to do is hop on their site and take their quiz. Stich Fix will run you through a handful of quick survey questions to determine your taste and budget. From there, they’ll send you regular shipments of men’s apparel tailored to your taste. You only pay for what you keep and send back the rest. And with each subsequent shipment, the stylists and algorithms get a better and better idea of what you like.
COMME des GARÇONS
Starting out as a stylist after graduating college in 1967, Rei Kawakubo tried her hand at designing her own clothing. Now a menswear staple, COMME des GARÇONS (which translates literally to “like some boys”), actually started out as a women’s clothing line. Nine years after formally creating her business, though, Kawakubo added a men’s line and has helped define men’s fashion ever since.
Among her many popular silhouettes and styles (of which there are far too many to count), our favorite at the moment is the often-imitated Stripe Slim Fit Long Sleeve t-shirt. It’s simple yet stylish, and it will always get nods of appreciation from the fashion-conscious thanks to that oh-so-subtle CdG branding.
Started by Eunice Byun and David Nguyen, Material was a response to the lack of affordable, beautiful and functional kitchenware in the market. Sure, you can buy top-of-the-line stuff, they argued, but why spend that much if you’re not a top-of-the-line chef? Likewise, why did everything affordable have to look so, well, affordable?
With their combined efforts, Material was born. They sell sleek and elegant kitchenware products designed for the everyday cook. Whether you’re a parent, a busy bachelor or even a professional chef, you’ll come to love and appreciate the elegance and precision of Material’s kitchen tools.
And while we can (and do) drool over every option and set available on Material’s site, it’s their Fundamental’s set we felt we had to share. The set comes with seven different pieces of kitchenware, ranging from knives and tongs to spoons and spatulas. If you were to move to a new home or apartment and could only bring one set of kitchen tools with you, this is the set you’d want.
BarkBox is a monthly canine subscription box filled with themed all-natural treats, toys and other goodies for your pup. It was started in 2012 through the combined efforts of dog enthusiasts Matt Meeker, Carly Strife and Henrik Werdelin. They all came together with a passion for dogs and a desire to fill the product discovery gap that they saw in the pet retail market.
Carly Strife is a co-founder of the brand, which has served over two million dogs, supporting a network of pet owners looking for convenience and personalization for their furry friends, and is leading the company’s newest venture, BARK Eats.
With BarkBox, you choose your dog’s size and subscribe for $22/month. Each month after that you receive a box with two unique, high-quality toys, a bag of all-natural treats and a specialty chew to match that month’s theme.
A few of their previous monthly themes include “Australian Outback,” “Snowbound Hounds,” and “Shakespeare in the Dog Park” among others. If you’ve got a pet you care about and want to show them a little love, and support a female-led startup, subscribe to BarkBox using the link below.