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Celebrating Women’s Day Together with LVRSustainable

An open conversation with our favorite conscious brands supporting women

In 2023 we celebrate International Women’s Day together with a selection of our favorite LVRSustainable designers and their involvement with Women’s Empowerment.
Women are the moving force, a source of inspiration, and a powerhouse in the fashion industry. So for this year, we decided to dedicate an exclusive editorial to designers we admire for their support, initiatives, and vocal approach to female empowerment.
Read on and discover how we can all become more aware and inclusive, and get inspired to make a difference!

Pura Utz

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Tell us a little bit about yourself and your brand, what led you to venture into the world of sustainable fashion? How did you include women in your sustainable ethos?

My name is Anna, I am the co-founder of Pura Utz. I have the brand Pura Utz together with my business partner and friend, Bernabela Sapalù. I came in the back door to the fashion industry – I am actually a trained nurse and spent a great deal of my time in Guatemala through my studies. It was in the same context that I got to work and learn about women’s rights by obtaining more agency through earning your own income and being self-sufficient and investing in your family’s future. This led me to the field of working directly with the amazing women I had gotten to know, but now in a different way because we wanted to co-create designs with their amazing craft and skills to generate an income. The idea is to create pieces that are relevant both in design, quality and value in a global market so that the women can have their own income and start investing in their own lives and future.

How can women in the fashion industry help each other succeed?

For me it is about sharing the space. There has been very little space for women in leading roles in this industry (and almost any industry) and I believe this has often created a space where we think we need to fight for the little square we are standing on, instead of thinking that the space we have could be expanded by inviting another woman. We really need to help one another and invite each other in because we profoundly understand each other on an emotional level. In Pura Utz we practice this in the value chain of our business, but also in the people we collaborate with – female photographers, female colleagues and so on.

How do you empower yourself and the women within your company and production?

That is a very big question. The essence of the grass root values of empowerment is to be a vessel for change – for me this is too big of a concept to ‘keep real’. On a more practical level and in Pura Utz, we focus on what is on the plate in front of us and that is – creating a safe work environment, honoring and respecting our colleagues by paying super well, but also by the radical transparency we share in our team about pricing, social media inclusion, business education and design development and quality and so on. This transparency can only exist in the real connection and closeness that we have in our team, it is built on vulnerability and trust. So for me it is about showing up, real and authentic, with my colleagues, nothing is hidden anywhere and we are equal in this project and mission. We might not be equal in where we come from and the privileges we have, but we can show up knowing this and meet as women with all our insecurities and hopes and aspirations – and this is what I believe makes a difference in feeling empowered in your work and life because I hope this shows our team that they are worthy and valued.

What are some of the changes within the fashion industry that can be made to ensure gender equality?

That we open our eyes to the women working in the value chain of our consumption. Without a doubt.
I might have some difficulties with not being taken as serious as a woman in my position in the fashion industry, but that’s not important, I can deal with that – it is the gender inequality in the value chain that we should focus on by demanding living wages for all the women sitting in (and outside) formalized factory production so that they can take care of themselves and their families in a dignified and way.

Anna Waller Andrés, Co-founder of Pura Utz

Manu Atelier

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your brand, what led you to venture into the world of sustainable fashion? How did you include women in your sustainable ethos?

The brand was about pursuing our father’s legacy in the leather craftsmanship industry. We grew up in one of Turkey’s most important leather artisan workshop, watching our father design and handcraft bags. Sustainability has always been important to us and part of who we are as our father has always taught us the importance of caring for our environment and the elements that surround us. Hence the importance of minimum waste in our production. The fact that we hand cut all leather parts and hand stitch ensures low machinery use and therefore a sustainable production. The label has always had a conscious ideology and all new endeavors have that sustainable focus in mind. One of the biggest things is how to maintain that level of sustainability while producing high amounts. It’s difficult to find skilled artisans so the key is to educate people from a young age and pass on that passion for craftsmanship.

We are a female-based company, we include women at all levels in our company. It’s important for us to create designs but also campaigns that are meaningful in communicating strong messages such as female empowerment but also sustainability. For example in our last campaigns we created clothes made out of left-over leather parts from our bag production.

How can women in the fashion industry help each other succeed?

It’s always been important to us to surround ourselves with strong minded women, and to support each other. We work very closely with stylist Alex Carl and have always been big supporters of each other’s work. It’s about having conversations and exchanging point of views and most importantly respect. But it’s about embracing individuality and listening to everyone’s point of view and to remember that there’s enough in this world for everyone to share and grow. We believe that the key is to think that unity is power and that we are stronger together.

How do you empower yourself and the women within your company and production?

We give them the tools to be themselves and follow their passions. People can be the best versions of themselves when they can embrace their individuality and feel empowered. We are very much a female-based company, created by women for women. We are inspired by the everyday life of a woman and we have lots of women in our team and in our families. We observe them and ourselves constantly and we make sure to create designs that will suit the life of the modern woman. We want them to feel at ease and confident whilst wearing our pieces and be empowered.

What are some of the changes within the fashion industry that can be made to ensure gender equality?

There’s a lot of discussions around this but not a lot is actually changing in the industry. To really make a change women should be included in all stages of decision-making processes, the percentage of women in leadership roles is still very low. There are still too many gender inequalities at all levels within the industry. Real endeavors should be made for wage equality and support women against the abuse they still experience in the industry. But also providing better maternity leave schemes on a general level, providing women with the same career progression opportunities than men. Another issue is the stereotyped female image, the industry is still embracing a very feminine shapewear. We are seeing on social media some attempts to show more diverse body shapes, but the reality is that nothing has really changed, all the clothes available to buy are still made for a slim woman. We need to see a more diverse range of clothes for different body types which will help women move away from that stereotyped female/feminine case and give them more options to embrace their individuality. The industry needs to be more conscious and be more inclusive whilst promoting more diversity in general.

To make more of an impact, key leaders in the industry should be supporting and promoting these brands/designers that really care about these issues and give them a bigger platform to rise.

The co-founders and creative directors Merve Manastir and Beste Manastir Bagdatli

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DMY BY DMY

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your brand, what led you to venture into the world of sustainable fashion? How did you include women in your sustainable ethos?

Founded in 2018 by Demi Mae Yip, DMY BY DMY is an independent British eyewear label that creates design-led sunglasses for the contemporary woman. Focusing on sustainable design, the brand’s goal is to offer timeless, trans-seasonal eyewear inspired by the sartorial history of yesteryears. We place the three core principles of quality, longevity and functionality at the heart of our design process, with the hope that our sunglasses will be worn for generations to come. Since the brand’s inception, we have wanted to inspire change in the way that businesses across the fashion industry behave and think about how their actions affect both the planet and its people. As a brand with global reach, we recognise that we have a responsibility and a unique opportunity to protect and uplift historically marginalized communities on local, national and international scales. DMY BY DMY donates 1% of every sale to Women for Women International, a charity that helps women survivors of war to rebuild their lives.

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How can women in the fashion industry help each other succeed?

It is important for women working within the fashion industry to share their individual stories and celebrate each other’s strengths while being equally open about their vulnerabilities. Through prioritizing building strong, interpersonal connections and communities through the work we do and the platforms we build, women within the fashion industry can help each other to succeed – in both rebuilding and reworking a system that was not necessarily created for women and in dismantling the negative social and environmental footprint of the fashion industry.

How do you empower yourself and the women within your company and production?

Empowerment and inclusivity are both fundamental to creativity and development, which is why we actively seek to celebrate and foster inclusivity across our business. We believe that a diversity of perspectives and experiences help to enhance our conversations and can, therefore, lead to better ideas. As a small team we have a long way to go, but we are committed to building an inclusive space for a diverse community of women where everyone is valued and encouraged to celebrate each other’s strengths and be open about their vulnerabilities.

What are some of the changes within the fashion industry that can be made to ensure gender equality?

The industry needs to address and begin to centralize the availability of fashion that is inclusive and supportive of gender equality. It is important for businesses within the industry to not just make token public acknowledgements of gender equality but implement changes such as increasing mentorship opportunities to help women access the resources and knowledge to develop within their careers and creating more flexible working opportunities. Businesses within the fashion industry need to be genuinely – and transparently – focusing on positioning gender equality within their brand strategies, ensuring that they are responsibly aligning social impact into their overall mission, and empowering women throughout the entire supply chain.

frankremme

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Tell us a little bit about yourself and your brand, what led you to venture into the world of sustainable fashion? How did you include women in your sustainable ethos?

I grew up in the north of Norway close to nature in a society which has been on the forefront regarding equality between genders; so, I am used to seeing women equally represented in many leading roles in society.
A female perspective is essential to me. At frankremme we focus on pillars, such as empowerment, strength, and individuality. Which is why women have shaped my brand and values at every step of the design and production process.

Through my many years in the fashion business I understand the challenges well-established brands face when consumers demand sustainable products. They struggle to reach the consumers demands due to their business set up. I realized that through a smaller business, I could do differently. Starting from scratch, I have been able to make conscious choices in every decision, and to include women into our sustainable ethos. I promise myself to build a business where women participate and contribute on a valid and equal level. Women in the atelier and production have equal opportunities, fair wages, and support with their professional growth in the fashion industry. For frankremme this is not negotiable.

How can women in the fashion industry help each other succeed?

The fashion industry is a tough and hierarchical culture, where women are often not given enough credit for their contribution. However, fashion is a group effort, where women should be given the opportunity to develop their creativity, professional and personal growth.
Behind every frankremme garment there are highly skilled women involved which contribute with their knowledge and expertise to make high quality items.

How do you empower yourself and the women within your company and production?

My aim is to create opportunities for women locally, by providing a healthy and exciting work environment, where they receive due recognition for their work and professionalism. This is my brand’s philosophy, and we strive to apply it at every step of our work; by supporting a union which educates and guides female entrepreneurs to succeed in their ventures. We are constantly working on creating a better future for our female co-workers.

What are some of the changes within the fashion industry that can be made to ensure gender equality?

I am privileged to have been raised with gender equality being the norm in my family. Me and my sister grew up with the same values and we were treated completely equal. However, there is still a patriarchal work culture in our society. Even though there are highly competent women in this industry, this is not reflected at the executive level, where men often dominate.
To improve gender equality, you need to change mindsets and regulations. That is a very complex task, but I think that by giving women power and authority, we would be able to achieve real gender equality.

Frank Remme, CEO and Designer at Frankremme.

About LVRSustainable

LVRSustainable is LuisaViaRoma’s section dedicated to offering a curated selection of the best conscious brands and items, as well as special collaborations with renowned non-profits, organizations, and brands to benefit social and environmental causes.

Shop LVRSustainable

Special Thank You to teams of Pura Utz, Manu Atelier, DMY BY DMY and frankremme

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