This month is an excellent one, and not just because we're experiencing the first signs of spring. March 8th is International Women's Day (IWD), a day dedicated to recognizing the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women. While this is something that deserves attention all year round (a belief at the core of our mission here at Refinery29), we'll take the excuse to devote an entire day to celebrating our ladyhood. In fact, we'll take 31 of them — because even though IWD is just 24 hours long, March is Women's History Month. And the best place to kick off the festivities is by shopping in support of each other.
We operate in a consumer space that's largely shaped by the convenience of mega-retailers like Amazon and the capacity of fast-fashion labels to spew out trendy garments by the minute. With so much newness happening so quickly, it's easy to forget about taking a step back and considering the ways our shopping behaviors impact the lives of women. So if there's anything you do to commemorate IWD, take some time to reflect on your own relationship with retail. Look at the last thing you added to your closet and ask yourself where it was made, who made it, and how much she (because 80% of the time, it’s a woman) actually earned from your purchase. Maybe you know the answers to these questions, maybe you don't. But we're here to offer up some tools to make more conscious decisions next time you've got the urge to hit *add to cart*.
We can take ownership of our roles as consumers by helping more businesswomen succeed, and by supporting companies with ethical production practices from start to finish. This is our month, ladies, so let's use it wisely. To start, we've come up with a list of female-led fashion brands that aren't just putting out some of the most sought-after products around, they're channeling some majorly feminine energy to lift up others along the way. Ahead, discover a handful of women-owned or led businesses that have got us excited to shop, and make a purchase that matters this weekend.
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Michelle Cordeiro Grant launched the bra and undie brand Lively in 2016 and has since raised a whopping $15 million in funding. The Victoria's Secret alumna wanted to create a new and more comfortable kind of lingerie which she's dubbed Leisurée, blurring the aesthetic lines of lingerie, active, and swim. To commemorate International Women’s Day, Lively is giving 100% of the proceeds from its limited-edition “Just Be” t-shirt to the I Support The Girls organization, which collects and distributes essential items like bras, underwear, and menstrual hygiene products to women experiencing homelessness or poverty.
Lively The All-Day T-Shirt Bra, $, available at Lively
We'd like to thank Sarah Flint for bringing the world gorgeous shoes on the outside that are packed with comfort-driven design on the inside. And with the style seal of approval from women like Meghan Markle, the quality of this brand speaks for itself. Plus, in celebration of International Women's Day, for every pair of shoes purchased this Sunday and Monday the brand will donate an additional pair to the international not-for-profit organization Dress for Success.
Sarah Flint Emma Sling Pump, $, available at Sarah Flint
Cleo Wade X Kate Spade New York
Kate Spade will always be revered as one of the most influential figures in fashion, and we are thrilled to see her commitment to uplifting women's lives on with her eponymous label. Kate Spade New York's exclusive partnership with author and community builder Cleo Wade for International Women’s Day celebrates the role that self-love plays in the empowerment journey of women and girls. Our favorite part about the limited-edition capsule collection is that it was produced with a facility in Rwanda that employs over 230 local women, providing them with competitive wages, health benefits for themselves and their households, and access to life skills education programs.
Kate Spade Do It With Love Pullover, $, available at kate spade
Turkish designer Havva Mustafa comes from a generation of footwear artisans, so it's no surprise that she went own to launch her own successful, high-quality brand. The streetwear-influenced, luxury footwear label marries careful crafting and handmade details with a sustainable approach to production. The small-batch, waste-conscious collection is made in Turkey in a family-owned factory and counts celebrities like Lady Gaga, Halsey, and Camila Cabello as fans. And, Havva's signature Flame shoe is so hot, you'll practically set the concrete on fire with style.
Havva Flame Sandal, $, available at Havva
The highly sought-after jewelry brand Missoma was founded by Marisa Hordern, who left her corporate job to create versatile and interchangeable pieces at an affordable price. As the story goes, it all started around her kitchen table with the help of her mother Michele and sister Sophie. The goal? To remind other women of their own creativity and power through accessible design. Missoma quickly grew to become one of Britain's private companies with the fastest-growing sales, and for International Women's Day you can enjoy 20% off all its trendy styles.
Missoma Lucy Williams Caesar Coin Necklace, $, available at Missoma
There are tons of places to buy leggings out there, but we've got our eyes on Athleta and its hugely-female team now led by a new female CEO, Mary Beth Laughton. The brand has created a limited-edition "Stand Up Stand Together" t-shirt to honor and celebrate women and girls for International Women's Day and will be donating $10 from every tee sold to Billie Jean King’s Women in Sports Foundation.
Athleta Ultimate Stash Pocket 7/8 Tight in SuperSonic, $, available at Athleta
The fashion world was shocked to learn that Outdoor Voices co-founder Tyler Haney was stepping down from her role as CEO of the company, but that doesn't change our belief in the brand's mission to help the world live more active and sustainable lifestyles. As the brand prepares for a new chapter, it's launching a Powerpuff Girls collab inspired by the iconic trio of superhero sisters who are fierce advocates for women and empower others to stand together. Outdoor Voices will also be donating 15% of shop sales to ACLU’s Women’s Rights Project on March 8th.
Outdoor Voices The Exercise Dress, $, available at Outdoor Voices
Faiza Bouguessa, founder of her eponymous Dubai-based label, was born and raised in France to Algerian parents. Her designs merge the latest global trends to Middle Eastern design, and she is an important voice in the modest fashion space. Bouguessa's vision speaks to conservative dressers and not-so-conservative dressers alike, delivering long, sleek silhouettes and conservative, chic style to fashionable women everywhere. Her brand represents the relevance of modesty in the evolving world of retail, and the importance of identifying and addressing the needs of women that have traditionally been underserved by mainstream fashion companies.
Bouguessa Two-Tone Fitted Blazer, $, available at Bouguessa
London-based jewelry designer Theodora Warre launched her namesake brand in 2014. She is passionate about ensuring that every gemstone is ethically sourced and spends much of her time in Jaipur visiting the family-run workshops where her pieces are made.
Theodora Warre Gold-Plated Necklace, $, available at Matches Fashion
Rosetta Getty's label of the same name is the epitome of luxury. The LA-based designer and mother of four delivers sleek, sophisticated silhouettes crafted from opulent fabrics and unique textures. Rosetta Getty's aesthetic is effortlessly sophisticated, and the brand's sustainable ECCO collection of clogs is way at the top of our spring must-have lists. The designer also collaborate with a different artist every season to shape the palette, fabrics, and mood of the collection and amplify the work of other creatives.
Rosetta Getty Shearling Clogs, $, available at Farfetch
Sleeper, the Kiev-based brand of walking sleepwear made from natural fabrics, was founded in 2014 by Kate Zubarieva and Asya Varets. Within months of the brand's launch, Vogue Italia's editor-in-chief Franca Sozzani was singing its praises. They are using International Women's Day as an opportunity to celebrate the women who are making the brand on a daily basis — employees of all departments, masters of the atelier and, of course, the designers themselves — with a special behind-the-scenes video.
Sleeper Mimosa Loungewear Dress, $, available at Sleeper
Who doesn't love a good mother-daughter duo? This family-operated handbag brand was launched in 1991 by Toni Ray and her daughter Koren with the purpose of bringing authentic leather goods to the world that is made to last.
Hobo Groove Crossbody, $, available at Hobo Bags
This size-inclusive brand was founded by sisters Rebecca and Samantha Lanman in 2018. The pair is committed to partnering with local New York City experts to create high-quality, standout pieces for women sizing 0 to 18. We love the fact that each piece is designed to fit two or more traditional sizes, with adjustable straps, buttons, or ties to adapt to your body type. And, on March 8th, Shayne is offering 20% off site-wide.
Shayne The Hayden Wrap Skirt, $, available at Shayne
This stripe-centric brand was launched by former Vogue editors Meredith Melling and Valerie Macaulay and former Head of Business Development for Rag & Bone, Molly Howard. In celebration of International Women’s Day, La Ligne is recognizing some of history's greatest heroines with an exclusive t-shirt and sweatshirt featuring their initials. What's more — 20% of each sale will benefit the Lower East Side Girls Club.
La Ligne Heroines Tee, $, available at La Ligne
The Kit Undergarments
The KiT Undergarments is a line of foundational intimates made accessible to every woman. The line is designed through the lens of a stylist, launched by Jamie Mizrahi and Simone Harouche. The brand will be donating 3% of sales this International Women’s Day to the Downtown Women’s Shelter in Los Angeles.
The Kit The Nicole Kit, $, available at The Kit
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