Since time immemorial, the fashion industry has had a significant impact on women’s empowerment. It is clear that fashion has contributed to putting women in the spotlight over the years. This spectacle continues to be witnessed by the entire world today. Learn everything about Women Empowerment through Luxury Brands.
One avenue of fashion that empowers women is power dressing. This allows them to express themselves in bold, high-heeled stilettos and sharp-lined sleeves. How do luxury fashion brands help women to be free from a patriarchal society, beyond the glamour and the glitter?
We previously discussed Empowered Enlightenment: 6 ways to feel empowered as a woman. Now we will show you how luxury brands can help women empower themselves.
Fashion is a male-centric industry. However, there are still fewer women who have the chance to run A-list fashion labels. While more than 70% of the workforce in the fashion industry is made up of women, less than 25% of those who hold leadership positions are women. Luxury brands should consider women’s perspectives when making business decisions in a business that has primary patrons.
Breaking the Glass Ceiling
Kering, a French luxury company that owns top fashion brands such as Gucci, Yves Saint Laurent and Balenciaga has been recognized for being one of the first to break the gender gap within their organization. Sara Crook was named chief executive of Christopher Kane in 2014. Grita Loebsack joined the Executive Committee in 2015. Helene Poulit Duquesne, Boucheron’s CEO, was also appointed that year. She still holds this position. The company employs 38,000 people worldwide, of which nearly 24,000 are women.
Kering currently aims to have a 40-60% gender balance in its workforce. Kering has a 60% female board of directors. 55% of its middle managers are women. Only 33% of the senior executives are women. It is evident that Kering’s ongoing efforts to break the glass ceiling is an excellent initiative for women looking to make it in the fashion industry.
Another luxury brand that has the same initiative is LVMH. It launched ELLESVMHbackin 2007 to demonstrate its commitment to diversity in the workforce. This initiative was internal and focused on encouraging women to develop professionally within the company, which allowed them to create networks and reach higher levels in the company. Notably, LVMH saw a significant increase in the number of women who hold leadership positions, from 23% to 42% in 2007 to 2020.
Encourage women to embrace ambition
It is difficult to know one’s worth in a society that constantly tells women to “know where they belong”. Women are often criticized for their desire to innovate and lead through their means. It is crucial that women have support from the government and society in order to realize what they can do.
Tory Burch, a self-made billionaire and fashion industry legend, created her foundation in 2009 to help other businesswomen. She provides capital, education and mentoring, as well as networking opportunities.
The foundation was able, in its first year of existence, to loan small business loans to New York women-owned businesses through Accion, a non-profit microlender. Burch also launched the #EmbraceAmbition campaign in 2017, challenging gender norms. The movement reached 10 US cities by March 2019. In fact, the Bank of America doubled their Capital Program investment to provide affordable loans of $100 million for women entrepreneurs.
Tory Burch hosted the 2020 Embrace Ambition Summit in New York. This summit brought together female CEOs and entrepreneurs to have meaningful conversations about fighting “unconscious system bias” in society.
What “Empowered” really means
While women empowerment today is exhibited through various efforts like finally welcoming plus-size models in representing high-end clothing lines or introducing more women of color as faces of famous skincare brands, we’re slowly breaking free of the stereotypes society has placed upon women. These social trends are being made sensational through marketing strategies. But, is this really what empowerment means?
World Vision defines women empowerment to be the act of encouraging women’s self-worth and their ability make their own decisions, as well as their rights in bringing about positive change for society. Luxury brands are able to empower women by fashion and their efforts to ensure equal opportunities for women in their companies is where real empowerment occurs.
More societal problems need to be addressed
It is encouraging to see that luxury brands are attempting to address other social issues, such as global warming. They are using ethical manufacturing methods to make their products more accessible to all. Louis Vuitton has, for instance, committed to improving energy efficiency and reducing its carbon footprint. Gucci, Autumn Adeigbo and Stella McCartney also share the same values by working towards their sustainability goals.
It’s amazing to see the progress we have made today, after years of hard work devoted to supporting and uplifting women in society. It doesn’t mean it’s over. In a world filled with barriers and discrimination, it’s not over.