Most of the legacy fashion brands that dominate headlines are run by men — both on the business side, and on the design side. When we look at the ones we follow on Instagram, the lookbooks that resonate with us, and the garments that immediately make us "add to cart," more often than not we're drawn to indie labels that might not have the name-recognition of a big-name house but are changing the industry in deeply impactful ways.
This year, the organizers of the Women's March planned
A Day Without A Woman, when folks who identify as female are encouraged to take March 8 off (from paid or unpaid labor) and join events happening across the globe, wear red in solidarity, and refrain from shopping — save for small female- or minority-owned businesses. The way we spend our money can have a bigger impact than we might realize: The retail industry is plagued with ethical problems, and is oftentimes responsible for sustaining systems of oppression. As important as it is to educate oneself about where we're spending our dollars, it's just as crucial to use our capital to back our beliefs. After all, what does a "feminist"-branded T-shirt stand for if not a cent of the price tag goes towards supporting women or other underrepresented communities?
The fashion community is filled to the brim with talented, independent female makers that push the industry forward, both with their innovative businesses and fresh ideas. We've compiled some of our favorite young labels founded (and led) by women, which doesn't just illustrate the range of what these designers bring to the global retail landscape, but also how easy it is to shift your spending habits towards more conscious consumption. Ahead, 31 brands to guide your every day shopping, from now onwards.
Universal Standard is for those who know size shouldn't compromise aesthetics. If you aren't already acquainted with the brand, prepare to become obsessed.
Universal Standard The Katy, $160, available at Universal Standard.
Fashion's favorite slides are the brainchild of Aurora James. Her industry-beloved brand, Brother Vellies, features handcrafted shoes and handbags from South Africa, Ethiopia, Kenya, and Morocco.
Brother Vellies Burkina Slide in Charcoal Rings, $285, available at Brother Vellies.
Technical, seasonless, and sustainable are the three commitments ADAY, a company run by mostly women of diverse backgrounds, strives to keep at the center of its business.
ADAY x Lisa King Statement Scarf, $60, available at ADAY.
Slow Factory isn't just one of those brands that "empowers women" when it's trendy to do so — it's in its DNA — case in point: this screen-printed scarf bearing Nancy Roman's portrait. You can read more about Slow Factory's founder, who fled war-torn Lebanon at the age of three,
here. Slow Factory Nancy Roman Scarf, $140, available at Slow Factory.
For the best in gender-neutral fashion (including but not limited to: sick statement blouses, slick suits, and feminist merch galore), look no further than Portland-based Wildfang. We would suggest starting with this badass T-shirt.
Wildfang Draught Dry Goods x Wildfang Outsider Tee, $40, available at Wildfang.
Erica Weiner's in-house jewelry line is as good (and heart eye-inducing) as her antique engagement ring selection.
Erica Weiner Magic Vibes Necklace, $80, available at Erica Weiner.
From bodysuits to miniskirts and everything in between, Yatir is a one-stop shop for plus-size, trend-forward fashion that will make you feel good wearing it.
Yatir Clothing Fem Bodysuit, $40, available at Yatir Clothing.
Looking for a staple pair of jeans that deliver premium quality without the high price tag? Check out the New York-based, L.A.-made Industry Standard. Founder Nicole Najafi has previously worked at the likes of Balenciaga, Lanvin, and Yves Saint Laurent.
Industry Standard Remy Boyfriend in White, $135, available at Industry Standard.
Sarah Nakintu was born and raised in Uganda and currently resides in New York, where she designs Kintu. Each bag is co-developed with global artisans and manufactured in Italy.
Kintu Crossbody, $650, available at Kintu.
For pieces that are understated and elegant but still unlike anything you've ever seen before, check out Tosia, a New York-based womenswear label that makes us want every single piece.
Tosia Split Top, $207, available at Tosia.
In a world of pushed-up and overdone, Negative creates streamlined, barely-there underclothing you'll want to live in. It's a lingerie brand founded by women, for women.
Negative Superfine Non-wire Bra in Slate and Black, $55, available at Negative.
What happens when uber-stylish twins come together to make a sunglasses line? Shades you can't help but street-style snapped in, that's what.
Coco and Breezy Ostara 102, $310, available at Coco and Breezy.
Dôen's female-led creative collective dedicates itself to revisiting nostalgic silhouettes and revamping them into breezy garments you can (and will want to) wear everyday.
Dôen Provencal Dress, $198, available at Dôen.
Elise Durbecq and Gillian Tozer collaborate with small business owners and local artisans in Oaxaca to create standout accessories you can spot from a mile away.
TRUSS Plaid Woven Raffia-effect Tote, $195, available at Net-A-Porter.
Laura Schoorl and Rachel Corry founded Pansy because of their desire for comfy, dreamy, and ethical undies. The result is all of the aforementioned and more.
Pansy High Rise, $42, available at Pansy.
Cienne not only sources its special fabrics and patterns from artisans all around the world, but it also produces all the garments locally in New York.
Cienne Margot Top, $350, available at Cienne.
Shop the new female-owned brand Our Second Nature for comfy, everyday pieces that feel anything but ordinary.
Our Second Nature Birthstone Overlap Skirt, $77, available at Our Second Nature.
Colombian designer Mercedes Salazar's creations are like parties for your earlobes, and she's catching on quick among the fashion set.
Mercedes Salazar Fiesta Lemon Earrings, $238, available at Shopbop.
American classics get a Japanese-inspired twist with womenswear label Aliya Wanek, which is "committed to exploring identity and style through a female lens."
Aliya Wanek Ella Turtleneck, $63, available at Aliya Wanek.
Designed by Nigerian-born sisters Darlene and Lizzy Okpo, William Okpo (which is named after their father and inspired by their parents), offers modern, feminine designs with masculine elements.
William Opko Lenny Bond Sweatshirt, $200, available at William Opko.
It wouldn't be accurate to describe
Allie Teilz as an up-and-comer: She's been DJing since the age of 10, but only launched a namesake label of gender-neutral suits at the end of last year. Allie Teilz Nina Suit, $495, available at Allie Teilz.
We've recently been obsessing over C.A.B.'s charming handbags, which are the perfect mix of simplicity, practicality, and
spaaaarkly. Plus, they're manufactured at a small studio in Los Angeles out of Italian-sourced leather. C.A.B. Jane Bracelet Bag, $185, available at C.A.B.
Canadian designer Mary Young's namesake lingerie line is meant to allow for movement and freedom from restriction, which means you can lounge in ease
and style. Mary Young Contrast Bra, $58.20, available at Mary Young.
Turns out those trendy boots you've been seeing everywhere on Instagram are designed by two women, Keren Longkumer and Valerie Quant, who realized their mutual love for unconventional forms and proportions after meeting in Los Angeles while studying footwear design. You can put us down for a few pairs.
LOQ Lazaro, $375, available at Garmentory.
Rallier's mission isn't to build your new uniform — although, it certainly could be. Rather, it's businesses is built with a giving program that donates enough money to make a school uniform for a student in Kenya with each dress sold.
Rallier Navy Maxine Dress, $395, available at Rallier.
Choker lovers, here's yet another neck-hugging accessory to add to the collection, designed by two impossibly stylish sisters.
Ventrone Chronicles Musci Gold Chain Choker, $40, available at Ventrone Chronicles.
NOT by Jenny Lai, which is designed and produced in New York, is best known for its high quality, tactile fabrics and incredibly thought-out garments.
NOT Cropped Curve Rib Top, $243, available at NOT.
You know its "The Future Is Female" T-shirt, but don't sleep on Otherwild's vast offerings, many of which are created in collaboration with organizations or benefit charity. This sweater, for instance, was inspired by a photograph from the Lesbian Herstory Archives, so 10% each sale goes towards the center.
Otherwild x Herstory Collection 03 Sisters Sweater, $160, available at Otherwild.
Swap out your everyday studs for this contemporary riff on the classic hoop earring.
Hortense Small O-balance Earring, $176, available at Hortense.
South Korea-born, Ohio-raised designer Jennifer Chun is already a favorite among the Instagram set for her riffs on wardrobe staples.
Jennifer Chun Boyfriend Oxford Cardigan, $325, available at Jennifer Chun.
The Brave Collection's affordable jewelry are the product of a collaboration with artisans in Cambodia — as such, 10% of the company's profits go back to fighting human trafficking in the southeast Asian country.
The Brave Collection Tassel Cuff, $95, available at The Brave Collection.