Who runs the world? Girls, of course. And what better time to celebrate female business owners and women-owned clothing brands than during Women’s History Month? This is a time to honor the women who have come before us and ensure their hard work is recognized. Equally important, it gives us a chance to propel those who are ready to leave their mark. As in almost every industry, women have historically made a huge impact on the fashion scene. From Coco Chanel to Vivienne Westwood, female designers today have big shoes to fill. Not only are they stepping up to that challenge, but they are succeeding in a major way. We love to see it.
Ready to learn more? Read on for a deep dive into the history behind this important movement and the impact it’s had worldwide. We are also excited to share, highlight and cheer on a collection of women-owned clothing brands. Remember, this is only a small sample of the impressive women in fashion, so we encourage you to keep the research going. Female designers and business owners continue to raise the bar when it comes to fit, quality and social responsibility. Let’s go, ladies.
Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day
Before we share the details on women-owned clothing brands, you might ask, so, what exactly is Women’s History Month? And, what about International Women’s Day? You may wonder how they compare and how they differ. While the two are very closely intertwined, they work to highlight different areas and agendas. Let’s take a step back in time to learn more about how these commemorative events and dates came to be.
What originally started as a single day celebration in 1978 transformed into a week, then month-long celebration by 1987. U.S. presidents and congress officially issued annual proclamations designating March as Women’s History Month. Now, we come together to highlight the contributions and accomplishments of women throughout history and present day. From classrooms to state departments, Women’s History Month typically features educational events and stimulating community programs.
As part of Women’s History Month, we celebrate International Women’s Day on March 8th. The origins of this holiday date back to 1909 and the labor movements in North America and Europe. Since then, this dedicated day has been a focal point for the women’s rights movement. Beginning in 1996, each International Women’s Day portrays a specific theme to help unite women worldwide. Often highlighted by gatherings, campaigns and peaceful marches, organizers focus on the social issues that women face. A few examples include gender equality, reproductive rights and violence against women. However, it is also a day to recognize all that women do and the changes made. Let’s continue the celebration by spotlighting women-owned clothing brands making strides today.
Women-Owned Clothing Brands in the Fashion Industry
Did you know that many of the fashion industry‘s current brands have female entrepreneurs to thank for their founding? It makes sense, of course. Who better to dress women than a woman herself? We support women shining in all business ventures, both in and out of the fashion world. Women-owned clothing brands are much more than a contemporary trend. Female-founded apparel has been a mainstay of the industry since Rose Bertin was the dressmaker to Queen Marie Antoinette. Rose herself is widely credited with bringing haute couture into the world of popular culture. After her, Coco Chanel single-handedly transformed the industry by daring to design sporty and casual clothing for women. This chic-style aesthetic continues to elevate wardrobes to this day.
Fast forward to today and female fashion designers still reign supreme, creating everything from evening gowns to activewear. And, they aren’t just stopping at designing clothes. One trend that has been picking up speed is women-owned clothing brands using their platform for good. Many of these brands have inspirational stories and encourage different missions, from size-inclusivity and diversity to saving the planet. Their positive impact is making a splash, and we’re here to share a few of our favorites.
Women-Owned Clothing Brands: Activewear
Feeling confident in your workout gear is half the battle of achieving your fitness goals. Did you know that having a great outfit can positively affect your workout? It’s actually been proven. Who are we to argue with science? The recent transformation of women’s owned activewear includes a focus on fit and fashion. It’s no surprise that sunny sportswear makes our list of the top spring 2022 fashion trends. While it was once characterized by dark colors and shapeless fits, the women’s activewear space is now hotter than ever thanks in part to women themselves. Here are three women-owned clothing brands we are highlighting due to their focus on function and sustainability.
Beyond Yoga: Luxe Activewear for the Socially Aware
When it comes to the world of luxe activewear and women-owned clothing brands, Beyond Yoga is a major player. Their buttery soft spacedye fabric has made them a household name, featuring everything from leggings and sports bras to loungewear. Two powerful women business owners, Jodi Guber Brufsky and Michelle Wahler, are the creative founders behind Beyond Yoga. Their main goal is to give every body, shape and size the luxury-level comfort they deserve from activewear. And, trust us, they’ve nailed it.
The brand is also a champion of the planet, always aiming to leave the smallest environmental impact possible. Beyond Yoga’s fashion-forward pieces are available in sizes XXS-4X and are designed to live in, sweat in and believe in. They make it easy to slide on a matching set when deciding what to wear to yoga class. Perhaps the best part? Jody and Michelle still run the LA-manufactured company, with a female staff of over 85%. Talk about a dynamic duo.
Girlfriend Collective: A Recycle-Ready Women-Owned Clothing Brand
Activewear label Girlfriend Collective is a true pioneer for women-owned clothing brands and sustainable clothing brands alike. Ellie Dinh, the mastermind behind the company, partnered with her husband to create ethically made leggings. Her reason? She simply couldn’t find any in the market. In 2016, Ellie launched a line that not only makes you look good, it makes you feel good as well. Why, you ask? It’s all thanks to their strong focus on recyclable materials. In fact, an eco-friendly manufacturing approach is always a top priority for Girlfriend Collective.
From their packaging materials to the performance fabrics themselves, the brand considers the social impact of everything they do. They take steps on behalf of Mother Nature by using post-consumer water bottles to make their clothing. Yes, you read that right. Their leggings utilize thread spun from 25 bottles and their sports bras from 11. Now, that’s slow fashion that’s worth the wait.
Sweaty Betty: The International Women-Owned Clothing Brand
Keeping with the international aspect of International Women’s Day, let’s take a trip across the pond to highlight Sweaty Betty. This women-owned clothing brand got its start as a small London-based boutique and has quickly grown into a global label. They currently have over 150 namesake stores and retailers throughout the U.S., U.K., Europe, Canada and Asia.
Since their 1998 founding by Tamara Hill-Norton, Sweaty Betty has focused on combining performance and style to shake up women’s activewear. What is Tamara’s driving force behind her brand? Creating clothes that make active women feel beautiful and powerful. And she’s done just that. Their top-selling Power Leggings feature technical fabric that sculpts curves and keeps you moving with 4-way stretch. In fact, a pair of these leggings is sold every 60 seconds. That’s some major selling power. Sweaty Betty says it best themselves with a tagline of, “Empowering women through fitness and beyond.” What’s not to love?
Women-Owned Clothing Brands: Ready to Wear
Much like activewear, we believe that women who look their best are better equipped to take on their day. It’s all in the outfit, after all. From the boardroom to the playing field, what you wear can have a major effect on your mood and confidence. So, why not dress the part? Luckily, you’ve got plenty of options. Let’s dive into some seriously chic women-owned clothing brands that have you covered from head to toe. Literally.
Good American: The Women-Owned Clothing Brand Designed for Everyone
Surely you’ve been keeping up with Good American, the brand founded in part by pop culture icon Khloe Kardashian. Did you know that her co-founder and business partner is also a woman? That’s right, we’re bringing you a double dose of female empowerment with this women-owned clothing brand. Emma Grede is the CEO of Good American, the body-positive company that focuses on consumer confidence. What initially started with size-inclusive denim has evolved into a complete ready-to-wear brand, featuring swim, active and separates. Never settling, they continue to break down barriers and make history, most notably by creating a “new” normal for women’s clothing. Celebrating curves and diversity, Good American is deeply committed to making women look and feel their absolute best. Sounds pretty good, if you ask us.
Modern Citizen: A Sophisticated Women-Owned Clothing Brand
If clean lines and simplicity are more your style, then Modern Citizen is the women-owned clothing brand for you. Founders Jess Lee and Lizzie Agnew created Modern Citizen to help women look and feel classic, yet current. They design their clothing to move with ease, creativity and power. In other words, they’ve checked all the boxes you can ask for by leveling up the normcore trend.
The brand also prides itself on being size-inclusive and attainable. When it comes to social topics, they use their public platform to help champion diversity and inclusion. This includes standing with local communities, aiming toward a more sustainable industry and elevating women in every way. Ready for a Modern Citizen fun fact? Jess and Lizzie met at brunch back in 2014. That’s right. This is officially your sign to keep up with your Sunday brunch traditions. You never know who you’ll meet or what you’ll create.
Pistola: Premium Denim at Attainable Prices
Known for premium denim and impeccable fits, Pistola is another fan favorite when it comes to women-owned clothing brands. Female founder and mom of three, Grace Na, had a vision to make denim exciting again. And did she ever. With precise fits and edgy finishes, this brand has quickly become a force to reckon with in the industry. In fact, Grace herself is no stranger to fashion as a whole. With over 15 years of experience under her belt, it’s easy to trust she knows what she is doing. Another important factor to Grace and her company is cost. Pistola strives to keep pricing easily attainable, allowing top-quality pieces at affordable prices. From running errands to a night out, there is truly a Pistola pair of jeans for any occasion. Now that’s denim with a purpose.
Chloe Kristyn: Beauty with a Purpose
Last, but certainly not least, in the ready-to-wear space is Chloe Kristyn. Bettina Benson founded this effortless yet elegant women-owned clothing brand, which also boasts a female in-house pattern maker. Designed for the modern woman, Chloe Kristyn celebrates women through thoughtful design, expert tailoring and subtle finishes. The brand creates beautiful, functional and versatile garments made from the highest quality at attainable prices. Whether you are seeking desk to dinner attire, or the comfiest clothes for lounging at home, this brand has it. Bettina is a fierce advocate of the U.S. garment industry, with her clothing designed in Atlanta and produced in New York.
Behind the scenes, Chloe Kristyn also gives back to the community by partnering with the Atlanta Volunteer Lawyers Foundation (AVLF). AVLF joined with Partnership Against Domestic Violence in 2009 to create the Safe Families Office. This resource aids women and their families in the Atlanta area who are victims of domestic violence. Chloe Kristyn proudly donates a portion of its profits to the foundation to assist in breaking the cycle of abuse. In the founder’s own words, “We believe that it is our duty to advocate for women in all the ways that we can.” A true example of women empowering women.
Women-Owned Clothing Brands: Accessories
As the old saying goes, accessories can make or break an outfit. When it comes to these women-owned brands shaping accessories, we’re positive that they will make any outfit. These female entrepreneurs ensure that you always have the perfect finishing touch before walking out the door. Let’s get some insight into a few of our favorite bag and headwear brands that combine function and fashion.
Dagne Dover: Creating Change, One Bag at a Time
Touted as “bags that get it,” Dagne Dover is a premium line of problem-solving carryalls designed for everyone’s everyday life. This brand earns major praise on our list, as not one but three amazing women founded the label. Featuring bags for everything, from travel to fitness and even parenting, Dagne Dover helps you keep organized in style.
But it doesn’t stop there. Much like the other women-owned clothing brands on our list, they, too, commit to social responsibility. Perhaps our favorite initiative of the brand is their strong stance against waste. In fact, they’ve created a secondhand program called Almost Vintage. This lets consumers buy and sell gently used Dagne Dover products through their website. Now it’s easier than ever to reduce, reuse and recycle. With all the good they do, Dagne Dover easily earns a place in our hearts—and on our arm.
Autumn Adeigbo: A Bold and Bright Women-Owned Clothing Brand
Autumn Adeigbo is the female founder behind her namesake women-owned clothing brand. Being a standout among Black-owned clothing brands, she is bringing double the empowerment to her line. Based on her colorful headbands and clothing, it’s no surprise that she designs for women to stand out in the crowd. She credits her fashion inspiration to her Nigerian mother, a seamstress herself. Autumn keeps a positive focus on impacting the lives of women at the forefront of her brand. She prides herself on utilizing women-owned production facilities in the U.S., while providing global artisans with fair wages.
As a brand, Autumn Adeigbo also produces clothing and accessories in limited quantities to create more sustainable practices. This helps to minimize fabric waste and excessive manufacturing. With an impressive amount of industry accolades under her belt, Autumn continues to make her fashion mark. Autumn herself received the “best-dressed” superlative in the fourth grade, proving that fashionistas everywhere can achieve their dreams.
Sarep + Rose: The Elevated Women-Owned Clothing Brand
Much like Autumn Adeigbo, Sarep + Rose’s roots lie strongly in African culture. This women-owned clothing brand believes good things come when you combine style and function with social impact. Can’t argue with that.
Black founder, Robin Sirleaf, travels across Africa to source the best materials and makers. Her main goal? To change the outdated stereotypes of African people, places and things. Robin focuses on artisanal craft workers and fair-trade factories to create her leather bags, footwear and decorate storage solutions. This ensures the production of her natural and culturally significant textiles still reduces waste. Looking toward the future, Sarep + Rose is working to grow Africa into a global manufacturing hub. This would help to create endless opportunities across the continent, with fair wages and sustainable employment.
Sarep + Rose and Chloe Kristyn were 2021 recipients of the Elevate grant and mentorship program right here at Stitch Fix. This program aims to promote a more diverse retail landscape by supporting entrepreneurs of color in the next wave of fashion. By partnering with women-owned clothing brands like Sarep + Rose, Stitch Fix is championing women.
Stitch Fix: Empowering Women-Owned Clothing Brands
Last, but certainly not least, on our amazing list of women-owned businesses is our very own Stitch Fix. We are proud of the diversity and equity of this female-led company. In 2011, Katrina Lake founded Stitch Fix to guide and inspire people to be their best selves. Stitch Fix is your expert style partner, empowering you to look and feel extraordinary with delightfully easy ways to discover and buy clothes that are just right for you.
Are you inspired to add pieces from these women-owned clothing brands to your closet? You’re in luck, as Stitch Fix proudly offers all of the brands we’ve outlined above. Take your style quiz, order a Fix and leave a note for your stylist to include pieces from female-leading brands. Relax and receive five items that you can try comfortably at home before you buy. If you prefer, head over to Stitch Fix Freestyle™ to instantly buy pieces curated for your style and size. As always, shipping and returns are on us.