In honor of International Women’s Day, online retailer Spring is celebrating the powerful females that quite literally run their world: designers. They’ve chosen 33 top founders and creative directors who shared stories about the challenges they’ve encountered on their route to achieving #Girl Boss status. The participating ladies, which includes Suno’s Erin Beatty, Tanya Taylor, Maria Cornejo of Zero + Maria Cornejo, Outdoor Voices‘ Tyler Haney, Misha Nonoo and Rebecca Minkoff, all sat for a portrait by photographer Diego Uchitel. The campaign, #SpringStories, will be splashed across the online store’s website and app, in addition to the social channels of the brands involved.
But wait, there’s also a charitable portion of the project. Participating designers will direct their customers to Spring, where shoppers can donate to the female empowering charity, I AM THAT GIRL. The philanthropic group aims to be a safe space for girls, focusing on fostering a positive physical, mental and emotional outlook. Spring will match each donation made to IATG. To celebrate this partnership, Observer asked three of the participating designers about their approach to female empowerment.
What does International Women’s Day mean to you? To me, International Women’s Day is a reminder of how important it is for women to support one another in all realms of life and how important it is to work together to improve gender parity. My label celebrates female pioneers and is designed for women who embrace their femininity whist pursuing goals.
Is there a particular woman you look up to and respect? Sheryl Sandberg, she is a pioneer and an innovator. She is one of the greatest supporters of women in our time.
Aside from this project, how do you practice female empowerment? Women for Women is a non-profit organization that I support and is close to my heart. It offers support, tools and life changing skills to women in countries affected by war and conflict, to help advance themselves and to impact their community for the better. These women survivors of war constantly inspire me.
What does International Women’s Day mean to you? International Women’s Day is really a time to pause and celebrate how far we have come as women in the United States, the opportunities that are available to us that even our mother’s generation did not have access to. Hopefully we stand at the eve of a electing our first woman president, a truly momentous time. That said we must also spend this day thinking of those less fortunate both in our country and abroad, and continue to challenge ourselves to participate in the uplift of women worldwide.
Why do you think supporting other women is so important? We work extensively with women’s cooperatives in South America to promote access to employment, as well as the celebration of their amazing traditions of knitting and weaving. On a more personal level, I participate in several collectives of women business owners in the creative arts. The openness and richness of our dialogue in learning to navigate these new waters has been a major source of both knowledge and inspiration for me.
Is there a particular woman you look up to and respect for her sense of female empowerment? I respect all women working to forge a new path for themselves, in career choices, in deciding how and when and if to have children, in developing true and equal partnerships with loved ones. Also, raising the next generations to live in a place where transgender is a household word, where a black president followed by a woman [president] will seem commonplace to them and where we finally attain true gender equity both at home and at work.
Courtney Crangi of Giles & Brother
What does International Women’s Day mean to you? It’s a moment to shine a spotlight on the positive work that is being done around the world through advocacy and action, education, healthcare. It shows the progress we’ve made and where we’ve lost ground.
Why do you think supporting other women is so important? Supporting women is supporting humanity as a whole. The onus is on all of us, but especially those who sit in a place of privilege and inclusion to stand up and stop passively accepting gender and racial disparity.
Is there a particular woman who you respect for her sense of female empowerment? Ruth Bader Ginsburg for using her intellect to speak up respectfully and take action against discrimination by fighting for gender parity–for both women and men. And bridging the gap between law and justice, which are not synonymous, unfortunately.
Aside from this project how do you practice female empowerment? I practice female empowerment the same way as I breathe: without thinking about it. I believe that is because, I was surrounded by strong, determined women growing up. Both of my grandmothers started and operated their own businesses.