7 Women-Owned Fashion Brands That Also Give Back To Other Women

by Gabrielle Prescod

The beginning of March usually brings about the promise of spring and the slight nudge to start thinking about your wardrobe for warmer temperatures. It also signifies the start of Women's History Month. I personally believe in celebrating women year round, but I do love an excuse to be excessively celebratory in dreary, old March.

This month, we asked the BDG editors to pick their favorite women-owned and run fashion brands, so we could highlight them specifically on International Women's Day — but also to help expand your regular cache of places you spend your money. It's amazing to see and support any creative woman who is running a successful business, but these particular brand-leaders are also finding ways to give back and support other women, especially those from marginalized communities.

Here are seven women-founded brands you can feel good about buying from all year round.


Bustle's Senior Fashion & Beauty Editor Olivia Muenter chose STATE Bags. She says, "These two bags from STATE are super cute and include a subtle feminist toile print with farm animals throwing bras and flexing their muscles. Plus, STATE is working with TIME'S Up so that a minimum of 5 percent of the proceeds from its spring collection (which includes these two limited edition bags for International Women's Day) go to the cause. But the owners, Jacq and Scot Tatelman have always made it their mission since starting STATe Bags to give back. They created STATE Bags with the intention to give supplies and opportunity to kids and families in need across the country."


Aemilia Madden, Senior Fashion Editor of The Zoe Report, went with Veda. The all-women team designs and creates everything in NYC and has pushed for inclusivity, designing pieces in an expanded range of sizing (their collaboration with Nicolette Mason goes up to size 20). Madden adds, "Veda has a history of partnering with charities, and currently you can shop their Thank You tee with 100 percent of proceeds going to the Women's Prison Association."


Bustle's Associate Fashion & Beauty Editor Katie Dupere is a Cuyana girl. She says, "Cuyana makes super high quality, incredibly gorgeous clothing and bags that are minimal and basic in the best way. The brand's motto is 'fewer, better things,' which is the ethos I try to live by in my day-to-day shopping. Run by co-founders Karla Gallardo and Shilpa Shah, Cuyana employs craftspeople from Europe, South America, China, and the United States under fair working conditions and wages.

"Cuyana also partners with online consignment store thredUP for its Lean Closet program as a way to give back. Complimentary Cuyana x thredUP shipping labels are included with every online order, allowing customers to send in used clothing to thredUP. The customer then earns Cuyana credit from the pieces thredUP accepts, plus 15% bonus credit from Cuyana. When a customer spends the Cuyana shopping credit, the brand then donates five percent of profits of the total purchase amount to H.E.A.R.T, an organization benefiting survivors of gendered violence."


Kara McGrath, Bustle's Executive Fashion & Beauty Editor, says, "If you're looking for a cool suit or awesome button up, Wildfang is the place to go. The brand was founded by three women — CEO Emma Mcilroy, COO Julia Parsley, and Creative Director Taralyn Thuot — who, in addition to selling rad clothes, donate a portion of proceeds from every single full-priced item to a rotating monthly charity, like Black Girls Code, Planned Parenthood, and RAICES. As the Wildfang website says, 'Our store may be founded upon a woman's right to menswear, but our core is founded upon a woman's right to rights.'"


Bustle's West Coast Senior Fashion & Beauty Editor Sara Tan says that jewelry designer Jennie Yoon found a gap in a very saturated jewelry market! In 2016, Yoon's parents house was robbed and all of her family's jewelry was stolen, including all of their heirlooms. She wanted to help her parents replace their pieces, but found that jewelry retailers marked up their prices significantly and weren't revealing the real value of what they were selling. That's why she founded Kinn Studio in Los Angeles — to provide beautiful, luxury jewelry pieces made with real metals and real gems and sold for a fair and honest price. Kinn is celebrating International Women's Day 2019 with its new Line Collection A-Z. The line was created with the idea that "every woman should stand tall and be proud of who they are, where they're from, and what they believe in," Yoon writes in a press release. Each of these letter pieces were designed to fit most earrings and 15 percent of the proceeds from the collection will support Girls Who Code.

Studio 198

Kayla Greaves, Bustle's Fashion & Beauty Features Editor picked Studio 189, which was founded by Rosario Dawson and Abrima Erwiah. She says, "This cute crop top is perfect to wear on hot, sunny days and can be paired with a some high-waisted pants to create a beautiful summer look. And while the clothes themselves are a bit pricey, investing into this brand is truly worth every penny. Not only are the pieces from Studio 189 gorgeous and unique, but the founders produce the line in Accra, Ghana and work solely with local artisans to design each piece and create jobs for African communities."

Brother Vellies

Aurora James of Brother Vellies created these dream shoes along with a whole line of shoes and bags for women, men, and kids. Not only are her shoes unique, drawing inspiration from traditional African footwear, but she makes sure that the beautifully crafted pieces are also sourced and made in Africa, providing jobs to local artisans. Since I firmly believe that one of the best ways to build your wardrobe is buying shoes, these are a no-brainer purchase for me.