4 Designers On The Hardest (& Best) Parts Of Being Women In Fashion

08/mar/2016 05.18.54 stylecaster Contatta l'autore

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A handful of the app’s featured designers shared with Refinery29 the ongoing challenges they face as women in the fashion industry, as well as the highlights of getting to design for other women.

Getting the necessary capital to put out collection after collection is tougher for female talents, according to Laura Cramer, cofounder of Apiece Apart. "To build a grounded business poised for growth, you either need to raise money or have deep pockets. The uphill battle for women raising money is much steeper, particularly if you look at data around VC funding, where women-led companies get less than 5%," Cramer says. "Early in our pitching days, I was pregnant and would watch eyes fall to my enlarging belly as we described our road map to success. A man will never know the feeling of people calculating your age, your marital status, and your child-bearing readiness."

And once funding has been achieved, some designers feel a lack of support between women in the industry. “I think a lot of women don't support each other in the ways they should, and it always blows my mind that support and love isn't people's default setting all of the time," says Aurora James of Brother Vellies. "There are a lot of women in this industry, and there is enough success for all of [us]."

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PHOTO: COURTESY OF DIEGO UCHITEL/SPRING.

Brother Vellies' Aurora James.

Camaraderie is important, certainly, but it's necessary to have women installed in powerful, well-financed creative director roles at the biggest fashion conglomerates to truly work toward having equal opportunities in the industry. "There are many female designers, but not in the top tiers of fashion," says Becca McCharen of Chromat. "The brands backed by companies like LVMH and Kering are predominantly run and owned by men."

Women are especially adept at "designing for changing bodies, with curves, and incredibly diverse days," Cramer explains. Yet there's a (albeit, generalized) contrast in what drives designers' ideas, according to Tanya Taylor: "Men design for desire and women design for purpose," she says. "The biggest challenge is how you make purpose desirable."

Though there certainly are ways to make clothing that elicits desire without being overtly sexy. "Becca [McCharen] from Chromat — she has an incredible understanding of the female body in all of its many incarnations and she designs for that; she basically builds scaffolding for the body," James raves. "She supports women both ideologically and literally. It's lingerie, but it's not about sex — show me a man who has done anything like that."

Related:

#SpringStories' eclectic roster also includes labels like Negative Underwear, Misha Nonoo, Marcia Patmos, Rebecca Minkoff, Outdoor Voices, and Eileen Fisher — check out the full array of portraits on Spring's site.

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