6 Brands Making A Real Difference For Women In 2020

As a fashion writer, my inbox is often inundated with brands promising to ‘empower’ women with their latest collections (never more so than in March, when International Women's Day takes centre stage). But it can be tricky to discern which – if any – of them are actually making a difference to women's lives?

We're under no illusion, for many (looking at you fast-fashion brands), it’s an excuse to push a new slew of slogan products. However, there are a few really doing their bit to support female-led initiatives and promote gender equality.

At what's believed to be her last solo engagement as a royal, the Duchess of Sussex wore the 'Fearless' charm necklace by ethical British brand, Edge of Ember – who is donating £15 from each sale in March to support a woman survivor of war through Women for Women International.

And, as is becoming tradition, Net-A-Porter has also partnered with Women for Women International again this year, launching 20 exclusive T-shirts by designers including Stella McCartney, Alexa Chung, Charlotte Tilbury and Cecilie Bahnsen. The luxe e-tailer is donating 100 percent of profits from the collection to the charity.

While we might all have some extra time on our hands for online shopping in the coming weeks, here's are six brands worth browsing, to make a real difference for women in 2020.

1. Baukjen

Want to show your support for Woman’s Trust, a mental health charity providing free counselling and therapy for women who have experienced domestic abuse? Look to Baukjen, the ethical and sustainable label that's donating 50 percent of net proceeds from its 'Lilou' T-shirt to the charity. Created “by women, for women”, the brand's founder and creative director, Baukjen De Swaan Arons, says the time around IWD "is always momentous, allowing us to unite with our customers and celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women across the globe.” Made from 100 percent organic cotton, with a rainbow hued 'Solidarity' slogan, this T-shirt is a way to show exactly that.

2. Not On The High Street

With a female CEO, two female founders, a two-thirds female team and 82 percent female partners, it is safe to say that Not On The High Street (NOTHS) is powered by and supports women all year round. To celebrate the first anniversary of its partnership with the Prince's Trust Women Supporting Women – which serves to nurture and inspire young women through employment, education and training – NOTHS has added 10 new products to the collection (donating 10 percent of each sale to the initiative).

3. Casetify

Following a successful charity collaboration last year, Casetify have added new designs to this year’s Her Impact Matters collection, all by women artists. Expect to see unapologetically empowering artwork by Martina Martian, Bodil Jane, Megan Roy, Shayla Bond, Halie Jost and more, across cases for all kinds of tech. Throughout March, 100 percent of proceeds from the collection will be donated to the Malala Fund, a non-profit co-founded by Pakistani activist and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Malala Yousafzai, fighting to give every girl around the world access to an education.

4. The North Face

In a first for the brand, The North Face has enlisted an all-women team to design, produce and market this month's IWD collection. Made in the brand's new Jerash Garment Factory in Jordan – which is exclusively staffed by more than 500 women, and led by women's rights activist Oryana Awaisheh – the T-shirts state 'We Move Mountains', alongside a vintage photograph of two women at the top of a cliff, sourced from the Yosemite Archives.

5. & Other Stories

Since its launch in 2013, & Other Stories has collaborated with a number of talented women, including Lena Dunham, Iris Apfel, and Rodarte’s Kate and Laura Mulleavy. This month, the brand has commissioned nine female photographers from around the world – Gia Coppola, Wang Ziqian, Amanda Charchian, Grace Bukunmi, Lottermann & Fuentes, Wai Lin Tse, Laura Kampman and Ewa-Marie Rundquist – to share their stories through self-portraits. “The self-portrait in a way, urges me to be at peace and have patience with myself so I can truly be authentic,” said Los Angeles-based photographer and stylist, Bukunmi. Proceeds from the limited-edition prints, along with £1 for every self-portrait posted on Instagram and tagged #herimageherstory throughout March, will be donated to Care, supporting women and girls living in poverty.

6. Bobbi Brown

Bobbi Brown is a long-time supporter of women, and celebrating the eighth consecutive year of its Pretty Powerful Campaign this month. To date, the campaign has raised over £350,000 for Smart Works, a charity supporting unemployed women through interview training and styling. The March 2020 limited-edition makeup bag has been created in collaboration with British designer, Elizabeth Scarlett, and includes three signature Bobbi Brown products: the Smokey Eye Mascara, Vitamin Enriched Face Base and Pot Rouge in Powder Pink. All proceeds from UK sales will be donated to Smart Works.