Do Women Really Run the Fashion Industry? Yes and No.

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Photo by Cherise Luter
Conde Naste Crew at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week
A pattern emerges where the lead creative position is filled by a woman, but the lead business position is held by a male or an entirely male board of directors. What causes this? Is it a belief that when it comes to creative expression, women are more than capable, but when it comes to a purely business role, women do not have the acumen? Women in fashion are sometimes perceived more like Carrie Bradshaw than Donald Trump and therefore relegated to the "fluff". It is this belief that may account for the uneven distribution of male business heads, not just of parent companies, but of major fashion brands themselves. Additionally, the position of major investor or venture capital firm head is usually filled by men, which is alarming being that these are the people choosing which new companies and products will be serving a mostly female demographic.

Though it may seem that the fashion industry is a haven on female empowerment, a glass ceiling does exist. In the past few years, the number of female leaders has indeed increased, but, much like other industries, there is still much work to do. A few suggestions that may increase the interest in the business side of fashion and decrease the impact of the glass ceiling.

Can the "you have to have a member to be a member" idea. The boys club needs to be shut down by the members themselves. It is up to the men currently in these positions to see potential outside of their immediate circle. Women must be equally considered for change to happen and right now it is men that have that power.

Support fashion dreams outside of the creative. When a girl says she is interested in fashion, she shouldn't be immediately ushered to design school or a publishing internship. On the other hand, when a girl says she is interested in business, she shouldn't be sent immediately to the financial sector. Mentors and teachers should present a range of options to graduating seniors.

Show off the less glamorous side of fashion. Industry professionals and media tend to highlight the flashy parts of fashion, which essentially boils the entire sector down to six or seven jobs. Current professionals should make an effort to show off not only the creative side, but those working on the business side as well.


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