Runway shows. Cool-girl influencers. Flashy parties. To most, the fashion industry seems like a fantasy world. But despite what the fashion week snaps filling your feed this month might have you believe, it's still facing some serious (usually swept under the rug) issues. They run the gamut from a lack of diversity in campaigns to major gender inequalities; last year, we reported that less than a third of the 92 shows in Paris had women at the helm. The silver lining? Thanks to a group of emerging, mission-driven female designers, the industry's infamous exclusivity — from who can call the shots to who can wear its clothes — is becoming a thing of the past.
Inspired by Disney’s new live-action adaptation of Beauty and the Beast (which hits theaters on March 17 in 3-D) and Belle’s determination to challenge the status quo, we tapped six like-minded, up-and-coming designers who prove girls really do run the world — at least, they're about to. From a Parsons student whose pieces are helping Syrian refugees to a L.A. native who's developing sustainable luxury (two words you rarely see in the same sentence), the brave women behind these collections aren't just making beautiful clothes, they're activists who are using their designs to empower women, promote inclusivity, and educate people about global issues.
Ready to feel good about the world again? We are, too. Click on to see how fashion's next-gen females are turning it around.