Fashion

12 Female-Led Fashion Brands To Shop & Support Now

This International Women’s Day, we’re highlighting some of the incredible female founders who are making their mark in the fashion industry.

Sleeper

According to Business of Fashion, women hold fewer than 25% of leadership positions in top fashion houses, which is why so many have had to go and make it out on their own. But after two years of financial hits due to lockdown and all associated issues, many of these independent brands are now struggling. While it’s never a bad time to support female-owned businesses, it’s important to now more than ever to rally behind the marginalised communities making their mark in the fashion industry.

Which is why, with even more reason, we’re spotlighting the incredible women behind some of our favourite British fashion brands to mark International Women’s Day this year. Not only do these brands make women look and feel great, and championing diversity in sizing and representation, they’re also run solely by female founders and businesswomen.

Ahead, you’ll find the top female-owned brands making incredible moves that you should support and follow today, tomorrow, and forever.

House of CB

In 2010, a 17-year-old Conna Walker started House of CB from her bedroom in the East End of London with a £3,000 ($3,880) loan from her father. At the helm of the womenswear brand, known for its form-fitting and tailored party pieces, Walker has grown House of CB to rake in £12 million in 2018 and she was featured in the Forbes 30 Under 30 list the same year. Not bad for someone who was told she didn’t know what she was doing at 19.

Since then, she has employed a mostly female team – “Women understand our customer, so they know what we want to achieve,” she told the Evening Standard in 2019 – and attracted a solid celebrity fanbase, from JLo to Beyoncé.

Sleeper

It's a fair assumption that fashion editors know what they’re talking about, so when former editors Kate Zubarieva and Asya Varetsa co-founded sleepwear brand Sleeper, they were already off to a hit. When the brand made $1.4 million in 2018, the Russian and Ukrainian co-founders landed on the Forbes 30 Under 30 list the following year. They’ve since garnered celebrity fans such as Emily Ratajkowski, Leandra Medine Cohen and Dakota Fanning.

We Are We Wear

In 2019, We Are We Wear founders, Natalie Paul and Chelsea Williams, set about creating a lingerie and intimates brand with a wide size pool, for every size and shape of woman. Starting with a 14-piece collection of swimwear for sizes XS-2XL, they expanded to lingerie in XS-3XL in 2020. Inclusivity is at the heart of the brand. The wired and underwired bras range from 30A to 44FF, and are sold separately to the underwear, as Paul and Williams understand the need to supply for every body type.

Rixo

Founders and best friends Henrietta Rix and Orlagh McCloskey have come a long way since they started Rixo in 2015. Rix and McCloskey met as students at the University of Arts London, and their shared passion for vintage pieces and fashion led them to combine their names to create the brand name Rixo.

Since then, the brand's vintage-inspired printed dresses have been at almost every summer wedding, leading them to launch their own Bridal collection in 2021.

Tove Studio

Named after the Danish word for strength and beauty, Camille Perry and Holly Wright founded Tove Studio with one goal in mind: creating a minimal, refined wardrobe for the modern woman.The London-based brand produces each style in small, considered batches to afford effortless longevity and a timeless quality that helps to keep the carbon footprint to a minimum. Think classic yet luxurious tailoring that can be mixed and matched year after year to create a truly timeless wardrobe.

Kitri

Haeni Kim was introduced to fashion like many do – via internships throughout her twenties – and learned the ropes of the industry through e-commerce, first in the sales and marketing department at Julien Macdonald, and then at a manufacturing and sourcing company in Hong Kong. From there, Kim set about finding a way in to hit the sweet spot between high street and high-end, with her very own mid-market label, Kitri.

Just like its namesake – the feisty and wilful heroine of the ballet Don Quixote – Kitri’s strong silhouettes and playful use of colour are as smart, confident, and creative as the women who wear it.

Fruity Booty

What better way to celebrate the female form than underwear, made and designed by women, for women? That’s exactly what Hattie Tennant and Minna Bunting aimed for when they launched Fruity Booty in 2018, a London-based lingerie and intimates label. The approachable, conscious brand is an antidote to the high-octane, high-production value lingerie brands that had dominated the industry for the past decade or so.

Fifty percent of the collection is currently made from repurposed fabrics that would have otherwise gone to waste, and the images used across branding and social media are natural, unaltered images on normal women, so you can see how the products actually look, too.

Mimi Wade

A graduate of Central Saint Martins in London, Mimi Wade showed her debut collection at London Fashion Week in 2016 as part of talent incubator Fashion East. Her coquettish designs are inspired by Wade’s Granny Pammy, a Hollywood actress who’s joie de vivre and sex appeal Wade hopes to inject into her eponymous brand and collections.

The whimsical and nostalgic looks quickly became popular among Gen Zs and costume designers alike, with Euphoria stylist Heidi Bivens collaborating with Wade to create Kat’s dress for the opening episode of season two.

Olivia Rose The Label

Olivia Rose Havelock’s romantic pieces have all been cut and handmade to order from her Edinburgh studio since 2017. Grasping the zeitgeist need for both cheesecloth style summer dresses and brocade party dresses, Olivia Rose The Label’s pieces feature textured shirring, larger than life puffed sleeves, elegant squared necklines, and ethereal waist cinching bodices.

Currently juggling running the business with creating each piece by hand, it means that pieces can be adapted for varying body sizes, too. Havelock’s aim is to slow down the fast fashion economy with its crafted, enduring pieces that can be worn time and time again.

Kai Collective

Long before she was the designer and founder of Kai Collective, Fisayo Longe was an influencer with an ever-increasing social media following, with an affinity for creating her own clothes. While travelling, she would acquire fabrics and create unique pieces.

Since launching the brand in 2016, the UK-based label has been popular among celebrities and influencers alike. But it when it launched the Gaia print – a vibrant marble swirl – that things for Kai Collective really took off. The brand’s enviable co-ords and figure-hugging silhouettes celebrate the female form and have caught the eyes of celebrities including Saweetie and Beyoncé.