International Women’s Day, or IWD, is taking place on 8 March. Stemming from the socialist feminist movements of the early 20th century, the event was officially adopted by the UN in 1996 and now serves as a worldwide day of acknowledgement (and celebration) of the plight of women.
It not only notes how far we’ve come in terms of equality but recognises that women still face daily struggles with issues including the gender pay gap, patriarchal structures, family planning, period poverty, domestic abuse and countless more.
This year, IWD is encouraging us to #BreakTheBias, recognising the day-to-day discrimination and stereotyping that still goes on and calling it out whenever we see and hear it. And as always, some of the biggest brands, charities and companies are getting involved.
In the UK, only one in three entrepreneurs are female. This is further echoed in size too, as businesses with women at the helm are on average around a quarter of the size of male-led companies, according to The Alison Rose Review of Female Entrepreneurship. To mark International Women’s Day, we’ve rounded up a range of female-led fashion and beauty brands to have on your radar, in order to to shine a light on the women breaking the mould in business.
Whether you’re looking to treat yourself to something new or just fancy taking a peek at the names behind the labels, our directory is a great place to start.
Many of you have probably used, heard of, or at least recognise nail polish brand Ciaté, but you may not know that the female founder, Charlotte Knight, is somewhat of a serial entrepreneur. Founding not just one, but three beauty brands – Ciaté, Lottie London and Skin Proud – she is definitely working to raise those aforementioned stats.
Founded in 2009, Ciaté no longer just specialises in nail polish but has grown quite the make-up range too. We included the dewy skin foundation (£13, Ciatelondon.com) in our best foundation round-up, and the dewy cheek blush (£19, Asos.com) blush came second in our best cream blush article too. And of course, the brand’s sun switch nail polish (£7.80, Feelunique.com) also featured in our round up of the best too – it is what it’s best known for after all.
It’s hard to go online without seeing Trinny Woodall pop up right now, and Trinny London is of course her namesake brand covering beauty and skincare. Known for its easy stackable make-up products, and recently breaking into skincare, Trinny really does seem to be taking the beauty world by storm. Just take a look at our best Trinny London products round-up and you’ll understand why everyone is raving about it.
Moving over to fashion, Kitri is certainly a brand to put on your radar if it isn’t already, and founder Haeni Kim has quite an inspiring story. After interning in her twenties for fashion brands including London Fashion Week staple Julien Macdonald and starting up an antiques shop with a couple of friends, Kitri was born in 2017 as a combination of love for art and fashion.
Stocking everything from dresses and jumpsuits to jewellery and jackets, Kitri is a go-to for high-quality designs. You may recognise the brand from our wedding dress, summer dresses and Christmas Day outfit round-ups. It’s safe to say we’re quite smitten over here at IndyBest.
Possibly one of the most well known female-founded beauty brands, Kate Somerville has been around for a while and has gained quite the following. After opening her first Skin Health Experts Clinic in Hollywood back in 2004, it didn’t take long before one of Kate’s celeb clients asked for her products to be bottled, and that was the start of the brand’s journey.
With key products such as the blemish busting EradiKate (£24, Katesomerville.co.uk) deliKate cleanser (£38, Katesomerville.co.uk) and the newly released ExfoliKate body scrub (£48, Katesomerville.co.uk) it’s quite the range. Have a read of our review of the KateCeuticals anti-ageing range to see what all the hype is about.
Visit Katesomerville.co.uk now
Leaving school at 17 may not be most parents wish for their kids, but Morgane Sézalory, founder of fashion brand Sèzane, is here to show that sometimes following a different route works out just fine. Or in this case, rather well indeed. Starting out altering and selling vintage clothing, Morgane quickly developed her own style, and Sèzane was born. Known for feminine florals, timeless designs and French girl chic, you may have spotted the garms in Netflix fave Emily in Paris – we certainly did.
You may not have heard of Westman Atelier yet, but the luxury beauty brand has make-up fans quite excited right now. Founded by editorial make-up artist Gucci Westman, the brand focuses on clean beauty – nourishing ingredients with a sustainable aim for every product. We recently raved about the squeaky clean lip balm (£35, Cultbeauty.co.uk) in our best liquid lipstick round-up, but the vital stick foundation stick (£62, Cultbeauty.co.uk) and the face trace contour (£44, Cultbeauty.co.uk) are next on our list.
Visit Westman Atelier at Cultbeauty.co.uk now
This brand needs no introduction, but its two female founders might. Catching the entrepreneurial bug while still students back in 2015, Henrietta Rix and Orlagh McCloskey founded Rixo from their living room (which is certainly more than we did in our student days). Fast forward seven years and the brand has had multiple shows at London Fashion Week and has even been spotted on some of the UK’s favourite celebs including Holly Willoughby.
Here at IndyBest we’re in love with the fabulous floral dresses just as much as anyone else, and even spotlighted the exciting and affordable bridal collection.
Vida Glow founder, Anna Lahey, knows a thing or two about quick beauty as a mum to three under three. Working from the inside out, with a huge focus on collagen supplements, you’ve probably spotted these sachets and capsules across your Instagram feed before now. Specifically tailored to ageing skin – remember, that is anyone aged 23 and older, a scary thought we know – the collagen supplements aid the reduction of fine lines, wrinkles and sagging, all the fun things!
For the latest offers on fashion and women’s accessories, try the links below:
Looking for brands that are actually giving back this IWD? Take a look at our round-up of brands who are donating to great causes
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