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Women Who Marched Forward Changing The Fashion Industry

For most, Gabrielle Bonheur or COCO Chanel, is the first woman people think of when discussing the early women who made a difference within the Fashion Industry. However, before Coco came to town, Madame Grès, made her mark and changed the industry for the better. Grès, used mathematics to guide her draping, while becoming a professional sculpture added to her sheer genius level of utilizing various fabrics.

Gres was most famously known for the Grecian-influenced column gowns of the 1930s, made of silk, rayon and later, polyester jersey, are the anthesis of her oeuvre. She literally sewed the dresses onto the women to ensure no two were ever alike. This one-of-a-kind process also ensured a weightless feel while never cutting the fabric. True draping unlike any other designer before, or after.

While Gres continued sewing women into gowns, Coco Chanel came onto the scene around 1912. Chanel became infamous by simply wearing her own creations, highlighting fashion for women. Her suiting could be picked out of a pack of women lunching, and was devoured by woman around the globe for eliminating the corset type womenswear at that time. The Chanel suit, the little black dress, costume jewelry, trench coats, the quilted leather purse, turtlenecks, pants, pea coats and Chanel No.5 fragrance remain sought out and bought items today. Who doesn't love a Chanel Handbag!

In 1968, Bonnie Cashin told WWD that she believed the modern woman would not be put in a garment category, dresses, pants, skirts, but would rather be a lifestyle. Cashin continued lifestyle collections, opening her own shop in 1951. In the 30-plus years that followed, Cashin created ponchos, leather piped tweed suits, geometric-printed cashmere sweaters and more, truly giving women a lifestyle worth of options in garments.

In the late 60's a classic to the core woman came onto the fashion scene, Anne Klein. Klein was born Hannah Golofski and changed her name to Anne when developing her namesake corporation, Anne Klein & CO. Klein believed in a modern look, without trends or fads, which translated into a relaxed sportswear brand. Her determination to not adhere to the fads became a sore spot of contention when women grew into being more liberated and wanted variation. It was during this time period that Klein developed the 52-Week Collection, a new collection dropping into her stores, weekly. How that changed the fashion landscape into what we know today!

As March 2024 and Women's History Month approached, we began to remember all of those female fashion warriors that sculpted the industry and gave all designers that followed inspiration. Today, more than 87% FEMALE FASHION DESIGNERS go to work everyday and continue to walk down the fashion runways guiding and inspiring along the way! Women are the leaders in FASHION, the leaders in FASHION ENTREPRENEURSHIP and leaders in FASHION INVENTIONS including our very own, The Fashion TV Network, FNTV CEO is a WOMAN! Annie Clark-Rigsby, would never be leading the way in digital destinations for fashion, if it were not for the countless female "fashionpreneurs" that inspired her along the way!

Although we are not able to share every single female Fashion Designer that changed the fashion industry, who constructed new industry tools and technology, we give thanks to them all!

For a complete list of the 100 Most Influential Female Fashion Designers, email and request the magnificent list.


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