As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Female Founders of Fashion: History-Making Brands to Know

12 minutes

If you rent anything this month, make it something from one of the female founders of fashion. March is Women’s History Month, after all. These gals, past and present, have brought innovation to the fashion industry by introducing fresh perspectives, brilliant styles, and smart, new business models. It seems logical that female founders would have a deeper understanding of women’s needs and preferences, leading to the creation of clothing that prioritizes comfort, functionality, and inclusivity. Who doesn’t want more of that?

Worth noting: supporting fashion brands founded by women contributes to increased representation in the industry. Women-founded fashion brands challenge traditional beauty standards and gender norms. By embracing diverse models and promoting a range of styles, these brands contribute to breaking down stereotypes and fostering a more inclusive representation of women in fashion. That’s because women entrepreneurs bring diverse perspectives, styles, and experiences, leading to more inclusive and authentic fashion choices. 

Brands founded by women often carry empowering messages and stories. Read on for some of our favorites. These brands focus on celebrating individuality, body positivity, and self-expression, providing inspiration and fostering a sense of empowerment. 

Whether it’s about representation, empowerment, or aligning with ethical values, you have the opportunity to use your purchasing (err, renting?) power to support brands that resonate with your beliefs and preferences. Without further ado, here are a dozen fabulous Female Founders of Fashion you need to know…

Diane von Fürstenberg, founder | DVF

The legendary Diane von Fürstenberg

Her Story: Diane von Fürstenberg is a legendary Belgian-American fashion designer. She gained widespread recognition and success in the 1970s with the introduction of her iconic wrap dress. The wrap dress became a symbol of women’s liberation and empowerment, embodying both style and functionality. Through the years, Diane von Fürstenberg achieved a global influence in the fashion industry. Her brand is known for its international appeal and has a presence in many countries around the world.

Bonus Points: Diane von Fürstenberg is not only a designer but also an advocate for women’s empowerment. She was involved in various philanthropic efforts and has held leadership roles in organizations promoting women’s rights and entrepreneurship.

Popularity at Armoire: DVF’s designs reflect a sense of timeless elegance with a focus on bold prints, vibrant colors, and feminine silhouettes. Her collections have a sophisticated yet approachable aesthetic. In addition to the iconic wrap dresses, the brand offers a range of popular ready-to-wear collections, including dresses, separates, and outerwear.

Katie Demo + Jay Adams, co-founders | BRASS

Female founders of fashion brand Brass

Her Story: What’s better than a female founder? How about TWO female founders? Katie Demo and Jay Adams founded Brass in 2014 after raising $27,000 in a Kickstarter campaign. The company is proud to be “Women led and Boston bred.”

Bonus Points: Brass places importance on the quality of its garments, aiming to provide durable and well-made clothing. This focus on durability aligns with the brand’s commitment to sustainability and reducing the environmental impact of fashion—a mission near and dear to our hearts here at Armoire.

Popularity at Armoire: Brass is highly regarded for offering professional and timeless pieces designed to simplify the modern woman’s wardrobe. The brand emphasizes versatile items that can seamlessly transition from work to casual settings. They encourage the concept of a capsule wardrobe, which consists of a limited number of intentional, interchangeable pieces.

Kim Phan, founder | YUMI KIM

Yumi Kim

Her Story: Kim Phan, a Vietnamese-American, founded Yumi Kim in 2004. Before starting her own brand, she worked in the fashion industry gaining experience and insights that influenced her approach to design.

Bonus Points: Yumi Kim engages with its customer base through social media and other online platforms, sharing the latest collections, styling tips, and connecting with its community.

Popularity at Armoire: Yumi Kim is celebrated for its bold prints, vibrant colors, and playful silhouettes that cater to Armoire members who appreciate fun and lively fashion. The brand’s clothing often features floral patterns, animal prints, geometric designs, and other lively motifs that add a sense of playfulness to their pieces.

Paige Adams-Geller, founder | PAIGE

Female Founder of Fashion Paige Adams-Geller

Her Story: Paige Adams-Geller founded the premium denim brand Paige in 2004. A former fit model, Paige used her industry expertise to create a line of jeans that combined comfort, style, and fit. The brand quickly gained recognition for its innovative designs and attention to detail, earning Paige a spot on our Female Founders of Fashion list.

Bonus Points: Paige places a strong emphasis on fit and comfort, and their denim is designed to complement the body’s shape while allowing for ease of movement. Their denim is known for its stretch and softness—two of our favorite words. 

Popularity at Armoire: Paige garments are appreciated by members for their attention to detail and high-quality craftsmanship. The brand uses premium fabrics and materials, and the production process is focused on precision and durability. Over the years, Paige has gained popularity among celebrities and influencers who have been spotted wearing their jeans. This has helped boost the brand’s visibility and reputation.

Ashleigh Gersh + Sandra Zhao, co-founders | ZURI

Zuri's Female Founders of Fashion

Her Story: An American designer living in Nairobi, Sandra Zhao commissioned her ideal dress: wrinkle-resistant, all-weather, and culturally appropriate. Fellow American Ashleigh Gersh Miller, also living in Kenya, took notice, and the two went into business together to produce the perfect dress under the label, Zuri. Their instantly iconic dress is crafted from bold, limited-run Dutch wax fabric that is playfully patterned.

Bonus Points: Zuri is a favorite of Hillary Clinton, who has been photographed in many versions of the infamous dress.

Popularity at Armoire: Armoire carries the signature dress as well as the sleeveless version in multiple show-stopping prints. The tunic-style dress hits all the marks for Armoire members. While fitted in the shoulders, its A-line body flatters any figure. As Zuri’s marketing promises, the brand delivers “a single style for every woman. Meet your new all-day, everyday outfit.”

Emma McIlroy + Julia Parsley, co-founders | WILDFANG

Emma McIlroy and Julia Parsley founded the brand Wildfang

Her Story: In 2013, Emma McIlroy and Julia Parsley founded the brand Wildfang in Portland, Oregon. A contemporary fashion brand known for its androgynous and gender-neutral clothing, Wildfang remains a brand at the forefront of the gender-neutral fashion movement, putting Emma and Julia on our list of notable Female Founders of Fashion.

Bonus Points: The brand has a strong focus on activism and social impact, supporting various causes and organizations that align with their values. They use their platform to raise awareness and funds for gender and LGBTQ+ rights. Wildfang has collaborated with various organizations, brands, and celebrities to create limited-edition collections and pieces that support social and political causes.

Popularity at Armoire: Wildfang has gained a dedicated following of members who appreciate their commitment to diversity, inclusivity, and challenging traditional gender norms in fashion. The brand’s androgynous and gender-neutral clothing has resonated with those seeking to express their individuality and break free from the constraints of traditional gendered fashion.

Nora Gardner, founder | NORA GARDNER

Female Founder of Fashion Nora Gardner

Her Story: Nora Gardner, a former management consultant, recognized the need for stylish and functional workwear for women in the corporate world. Thus, the Nora Gardner brand was born, offering professional clothing that combines fashion with function. 

Bonus Points: Nora Gardner puts the fun in functional with beloved features like pockets, machine-washable materials, and designs that accommodate various body types and sizes. This leaves us wondering: should all clothing for women be designed by women?

Popularity at Armoire: “Ooh la la…the color is so unique and Nora Gardner can do no wrong,” said Armoire member Amity M. about a dress she rented. “Definitely give this a try if you want to feel professional but sexy.” Who doesn’t want that, Amity?

Nicole Miller, founder | NICOLE MILLER

Nicole MillerNicole Miller

Her Story: Designer Nicole Miller founded the brand Nicole Miller in 1982 after earning a degree in Apparel Design from the Rhode Island School of Design. Miller draws inspiration from art, culture, and travel and this artistic influence is evident in the brand’s unique and creative designs.

Bonus Points: Nicole Miller was one of the first designers to introduce the concept of the little black dress as a wardrobe staple. She has supported philanthropic causes related to breast cancer awareness, education, and various charitable organizations.

Popularity at Armoire: Nicole Miller has become synonymous with innovative designs, distinctive prints, and a modern, edgy aesthetic. The brand’s prints often make its clothing instantly recognizable, particularly for its evening wear collections including cocktail dresses and gowns. These pieces often feature elegant and dramatic styles.

Lisa Sun, founder | GRAVITAS


Her Story: Lisa Sun is the founder and CEO of Gravitas. She started the brand with the vision of creating a fashion line that celebrates women of all shapes and sizes. Gravitas is now known for its inclusive sizing and body-positive approach to fashion. The brand emphasizes empowering women by offering a range of clothing that aims to fit and flatter diverse body shapes and sizes. For this, Lisa easily earns a spot on our list of fabulous female founders of fashion.

Bonus Points: Gravitas incorporates social impact initiatives into its business model. The brand has been involved in various charitable endeavors, including partnerships with organizations supporting women’s causes.

Popularity at Armoire: Gravitas encourages women to feel comfortable and stylish in their clothing choices, irrespective of their size or shape. They’re known for their signature styles including dresses, separates, and outerwear incorporating bold colors, patterns, and unique design elements.

Dorian Lightbown, founder | NIC + ZOE

Nic + Zoe founder Dorian LightbownNic + Zoe founder Dorian Lightbown

Her Story: Dorian Lightbown has a background in the fashion industry having started her career as a designer. Her experiences and passion for creating clothing that addresses the needs of women in their everyday lives led to the establishment of Nic + Zoe in 2005. With a focus on knitwear and a commitment to providing versatile, functional, and stylish clothing for women, the brand’s name is a combination of the names of Lightbown’s children, Nicholas and Zoë.

Bonus Points: The brand is committed to offering versatile pieces that can be easily mixed and matched, allowing customers to create a variety of looks suitable for different occasions. Nic + Zoe embraces a timeless and effortless style, aiming to provide clothing that transcends trends and remains relevant season after season.

Popularity at Armoire: Nic + Zoe is particularly known for its signature knitwear, including sweaters, cardigans, and other knit pieces. The brand places emphasis on the use of high-quality fabrics and innovative designs to create comfortable yet fashionable clothing.

Lilly Pulitzer, founder | LILLY PULITZER

Legendary female founder of fashion, Lilly PulitzerLegendary female founder of fashion, Lilly Pulitzer

Her Story: Lilly Pulitzer was a legendary American fashion designer and socialite known for founding the Lilly Pulitzer fashion brand, which became famous for its vibrant and colorful prints. After marrying Peter Pulitzer of the wealthy Pulitzer publishing family, the couple moved to Palm Beach, Florida. To cope with the hot and humid climate, Lilly opened a juice stand which led to her need to hide juice stains. She designed a simple sleeveless shift dress made of colorful, vibrant fabrics. Lilly’s shift dresses became popular among Palm Beach’s elite and later gained national attention when former First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy, a college friend of Lilly’s, was photographed wearing one of her dresses. 

Bonus Points: In a way, Lilly Pulitzer defined what it means to be a female founder of fashion. Her inspiration came from necessity and landed her in a league of her own. She was also involved in philanthropy, establishing the Lilly Pulitzer Color and Print Archive at the Flagler Museum in Palm Beach.

Popularity at Armoire: We wouldn’t even consider going on vacation without Lilly. The brand’s style is closely associated with resort wear, featuring bright colors, bold patterns, and whimsical designs. These prints are a hallmark of Lilly Pulitzer’s aesthetic.

Ambika Singh, founder | ARMOIRE

Ambika Singh, our favorite femal founder of fashion.Ambika Singh, our favorite femal founder of fashion.

Her Story: Ambika Singh pursued her Master’s in Business Administration (MBA) from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Sloan School of Management before founding Armoire in 2016 with the aim of revolutionizing the way women approach their wardrobes.

“I wanted to build a dream closet for women,” Ambika said, “For me, that meant something that is endless in its variety, but also easy to manage in the little home that I had, and easy on my credit card.” 

Bonus Points: Yep, we’re biased, but we believe our fearless leader deserves to sit on the top of this list for bringing all of these fabulous female-founded brands—and many, many more—together under one roof and making them accessible to all. “The whole premise of my company is to service women in a way that men may not understand,” she said.

Popularity at Armoire: I think I can speak on behalf of our team and say we’re proud of Ambika for always doing what’s right for women. From Armoire’s generous parental-leave policy to our all-female leadership team, she’s making history and setting the stage for generations to come.


Wearing women-founded brands encourages continued innovation and creativity within the industry. By honoring female founders of fashion, you can contribute to the economic success and growth of female entrepreneurs. This can have a positive ripple effect, empowering women to establish and expand their businesses.

Supporting women-founded brands can also contribute to building a supportive community. Many of these female founders of fashion collaborate with and uplift other women in the industry, creating a network that encourages empowerment. More of that, please.

Source link

Click to rate this post!
[Total: 0 Average: 0]

Enable registration in settings - general
Compare items
  • Total (0)