Now, more than ever, it is hugely important to support women-led businesses. Not only have women been disproportionately economically affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, with women being around a third more likely to work in a sector that was shut during the various lockdowns, but women’s businesses are also more likely to have been affected by the pandemic than those run by men, as women are more likely to run businesses in areas hit the hardest by the pandemic, such as beauty and fashion.
It is also no secret that large firms, in particular those within the fashion industry, are typically not very sustainable. Despite investing large sums of money into innovation to reduce the industry’s environmental impact, the big brands’ attempts at sustainability are dwarfed by figures highlighting the implications of the production of their products, with the fashion industry being responsible for 20% of all water pollution worldwide. So, what is the solution? While a quick fix will not occur over night, by supporting smaller brands, who work on a much smaller scale and are able to have greater control over their pollution levels, we can each help to have a positive impact.
For all of these reasons, I have listed below just a few women-run small businesses, to showcase the type of products available to you to keep a clear conscience through supporting women business owners and the environment. ‘Supporting your local’ has become a popular ethos across a range of sectors, and there is no reason as to why it should not be used in the fashion sector. Therefore, bearing in mind the potential environmental impacts involved in the shipping of products, I have kept this list to UK based brands, with one even being based in Leeds.
Of course, this list is just a start, and there are so many more small businesses, with female empowerment at their core, which can be found on various platforms, including Instagram, Etsy, Depop and Asos Marketplace, and would undoubtedly appreciate your support.
23-year-old Tiffany is a self-taught seamstress, with a passion for sustainable, slow garments. Using sustainable fabrics, Tiffany makes all of her products herself, selling only a few at a time due to the time-consuming nature of the work. Selling pieces in sizes from XXS to 4XL, she has also recently released Valentine’s themed tops, one of which is shown below, and there are still a few left.
Founded in East London in March 2020, Rosie Bishop works singlehandedly, producing all of her garments herself. Not only are the products made to order, making them a perfect fit for any body shape or size, but they are made from locally sourced fabrics which are combined with offcuts and repurposed deadstock materials – Rosie has taken sustainable fashion to another level. I originally found her on Asos Marketplace, but she also has a Depop account and her own website, with a lookbook perfect for inspiring you on how to style her garments.
Especially among the student population, the y2k style seems increasingly popular. Neo Jewels has embraced this trend, producing beaded phone bracelets. With a variety of designs to choose from, and customisation available, not only are these a great aesthetic accessory for your phone, but are also very useful, particularly for those prone to dropping their phone. Originally founded in Paris by friends Chloé and Nina, as Chloé is a University of Leeds student the business has now also expanded to the UK, with Chloé producing the UK orders from her Leeds bedroom. Neo Jewels are currently selling through their Instagram.
Emma’s Lovely Creations
Based in Derby, Emma personally hand makes her “lovely creations,” selling a variety of dainty, as well as quirkier, jewellery. In particular, the shop focuses on earrings, but they also sell other types of accessories, such as enamel pins. With flower-pressed earrings becoming increasingly popular at the moment, Emma’s 5-star Etsy shop should definitely be the first port of call for this kind of product, with a range of styles and designs on offer.
Header image credit: Instagram @adriaadamsco