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Celebrating Women's History Month. 10 Iconic Female Fashion Designers Who Shaped the Industry

Updated: Mar 27, 2023


Women's History Month is a time to celebrate the achievements of women throughout history, including those who have made a significant impact on the world of fashion. From the pioneering work of Coco Chanel to the innovative designs of Rei Kawakubo, female fashion designers have left an indelible mark on the industry. Here is the list we created from doing our research on which historical female fashion designers- do you agree? Who do you feel is missing? What about more current day Designers?


I personally would add Vivienne Westwood for combining the punk music scene with Fashion & Stella McCartney for her support of animal rights, environmentalism, and her use of vegetarian and animal-free alternatives, which she has always been part of her brand. She also founded the Stella McCartney Cares Foundation, a charity dedicated to breast cancer.


Here's who made the list (in no particular order)



1. Coco Chanel

Coco Chanel is perhaps one of the most iconic and recognizable names in fashion. Born in France in 1883, Chanel revolutionized the fashion industry with her simple, elegant designs that emphasized comfort and ease of movement. She is credited with popularizing the "little black dress," as well as introducing pants and suits for women. Her signature look included pearls, quilted handbags, and the iconic Chanel No. 5 perfume.




2. Elsa Schiaparelli

Elsa Schiaparelli was an Italian-born fashion designer who gained fame in Paris in the 1920s and 1930s. She was known for her bold, surrealist designs, which often featured bright colors, unusual shapes, and unexpected materials. Schiaparelli's collaborations with artists such as Salvador Dali and Jean Cocteau helped to cement her reputation as a truly avant-garde designer.




3. Ann Lowe

Ann Lowe was an African American fashion designer who created dresses for the social elite in the mid-20th century. She is best known for designing the wedding dress of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. Lowe's designs were elegant and timeless, and she was known for her exquisite attention to detail.




4. Diane von Furstenberg

Diane von Furstenberg is a Belgian-American fashion designer who gained fame in the 1970s for her iconic wrap dresses. Her designs are known for their feminine, flattering cuts and bold prints. Von Furstenberg is also a philanthropist and advocates for women's empowerment.




5. Donna Karan

Donna Karan is an American fashion designer who began her career in the 1970s. She is known for her elegant, sophisticated designs that emphasize comfort and versatility. Karan is also a pioneer in the concept of "seven easy pieces," which encourages women to mix and match versatile wardrobe staples. Her brand, DKNY, is a staple in many women's closets.





6. Miuccia Prada

Miuccia Prada is an Italian fashion designer who is the head designer of the luxury fashion brand Prada. She is known for her intellectual approach to fashion, which combines avant-garde design with a deep understanding of cultural trends. Prada's designs are often characterized by clean lines, bold colors, and unexpected details.




7. Sonia Rykiel

Sonia Rykiel was a French fashion designer who was known for her playful, feminine designs. She was a pioneer in knitwear and introduced new techniques and textures to the fashion industry. Rykiel's designs were often characterized by bright colors, bold patterns, and whimsical details.





8. Madeleine Vionnet

Madeleine Vionnet was a French fashion designer who gained fame in the 1920s and 1930s. She is known for her innovative approach to garment construction, which emphasized the natural drape and flow of fabrics. Vionnet's designs were elegant and timeless, and she was a major influence on the fashion industry during her time.



9. Mary Quant

Mary Quant is a British fashion designer who is best known for popularizing the miniskirt in the 1960s. She also introduced new materials such as PVC (which at the time was innovative) and created a line of cosmetics that was widely popular. Her designs were playful and youthful, reflecting the changing attitudes of the era.




10. Rei Kawakubo

Rei Kawakubo is a Japanese fashion designer who founded the brand Comme des Garcons in 1969. Her designs are known for their avant-garde and often challenging aesthetic, and she is considered one of the most influential designers of the late 20th century. Kawakubo has been honored with numerous awards, including the Order of Culture from the Japanese government


Female fashion designers have made an enormous contribution to the fashion industry throughout history. From Coco Chanel's timeless elegance to Diane von Furstenberg's iconic wrap dresses, these women have left an indelible mark on the industry and continue to inspire new generations of designers. As we celebrate Women's History Month, let us remember and honor these trailblazing women who have helped shape the world of fashion as we know it today.


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