The month of March is a month for women. The role of women in the fashion industry is inarguable, opposing their presence in other industries. The male fashion industry pales in comparison to women’s fashion, despite its recent growth. When it comes to women’s power in fashion, we hear about consumer power, or even designers, models and other creatives. However, who are the real female bosses in fashion?
Either as CEOs or in other managing positions, the women we’re bringing you to light today have shattered the glass ceiling, setting a precedent against a gender discrimination we did not break out of until the late sixties. Even Miuccia Prada, one of the greatest authorities in fashion, is heir to an empire whose founder did not believe in women in power. Destiny was interesting, in a world where Prada wouldn’t be without Miuccia. In this blog, we’re highlighting the work of some great fashion decision-makers, in honour of Women’s Day.
According to her profile on KERING’s website, a luxury conglomerate she is a part of, her career began in investment banking in London. In 1999, she joined the business management team at Prada before Helmut Lang.
Her time at KERING began in 2003, 20 years ago this year. In the ten years prior to becoming the current CEO of Saint Laurent, she participated in the business strategizing of Bottega Veneta and Gucci. Her leadership style reinforces creativity and authentic self expression, without losing sight of the roots of the houses she works in. Working side by side with Anthony Vaccarello, the duo has become a recipe for global fashion success at Saint Laurent.
The new General Manager at Paco Rabanne. Appointed in 2022 after a long and successful stint at Galeries Lafayette-Champs Elysées; her philosophy to bring back shopping as an experience to clients positioned her as an industry leader in Europe.
Her fashion collector spirit showcases her real appreciation for the industry. As a Manager for Galeries Lafayette, the Tunisian-born businesswoman found her passion while searching for her real self in Paris. Her experience in the financial sector reinforced her candidacies, and her admiration for the industry keeps her forever motivated about her job.
It is hard to believe that, just under a century ago, the diversity in these women’s profiles would be hard to find. Just tell that to Leena Nair, of Indian origin, now Global CEO for Chanel. At her previous position as Human Resources Manager of an English multinational, she managed to create a positive work environment at Unilever. Such was her labour, the company was named top company for new hires and recent graduates for its diverse and cooperative atmosphere.
A key element in her personal progress and tenacity was her mentor, Indra Nooyi (CEO of PepsiCo). Great leaders like Leena Nair promote the importance of mentors in our lives, whose figure can be crucial to our path. Fashion leaders like Leena (named Global CEO at Chanel in 2016) are our mentors of tomorrow. In 2022, she was named one of the top self-made women by Forbes India.
Women CEOs are an incalculable source of inspiration, considering how rare their position was just under 50 years ago. However, leadership and power are also in choice. The choice for women to choose their path is the real progress. We can’t ignore the prevalence of gender discrimination, and we also can’t ignore the existing gender progress. Let us celebrate all women in our life, and let us not forget women’s day is one day, but progress is made daily through conscious action, voting and decision.