Ladies (sorry, gentlemen!), this is our month. This is the month that we celebrate our collective history as women for the countless achievements in many industries whether it be politics, science, entertainment and fashion. As a woman, I feel that we have came a long way since the beginning of time. However, I feel that not many women designers or entrepreneurs are revered in the same eyes as male entrepreneurs and designers as the latter generally scores more magazine features, press and clout in the fashion industry. (This is based on my personal observation of poring through the pages of Vogue, New York Times‘ Style section, T, NYLON and what not over the years!)
I don’t want to sit here and tell you to support women-led brands just because it’s Women’s History Month or their sex. Instead, the reason *you* need to support women-led brands is because these ladies started their brand without the backing of a big company. In fact, not many of them went to fashion school to pave their way to success. By using their talent to create genuinely amazing products, every single item I’ve had from them became a closet staple that I wear almost every single day. Although there are some brands that I have yet to shop, I feel that it’ll be cool to share a little slice of my brand crushes. 😉
Here are the brands you need to shop:
- Stella & Bow
Founded by Lauren Brokaw, Stella & Bow is an LA-based jewelry line whose adorably cute charm bracelets and delicate earrings are perfect for everyday wear. Last year, they’ve grabbed headlines for making the “Nasty” alphabet bracelet to support Hillary Clinton. Although the election is over, you can still rock it to show off your unapologetic, badass self.
2. Rose All Day
Grace, one of my really good friends who blogs on Mlongo.me, introduced this brand to me as she applied makeup on me last spring. As a fellow Jakarta girl, Rose All Day is one of the best Indonesian makeup brands to ever exist! Locally produced and designed in Jakarta, Rose All Day delivers quality products and a whole chock of genius in the guise of a pink lipstick tube. Also, it recently teamed up with Love and Flair, an Indonesian online boutique (think Revolve, but more of a super hot trendy cousin of Phoebe Philo’s Celine-esque minimal luxe), to create three classic shades. Seriously, YOU need to get ’em because you don’t need to buy another piece of powdered blush or eyeshadow as you can it anywhere on your face! Trust me, their formula is as creamy as MAC’s, but hey, at least it’s cruelty-free! (Sorry to throw some shade in there, MAC.)
3. Creepy Yeha
Need to find something to jazz up your outfit? Look no further than Yeha Leung’s line, Creepy Yeha. Her accessories and lingerie are crafted from the finest leather and hardware. If you are vegan, you can also go for her vinyl pieces, which are equally stunning, too! You can either go big with a harness or play it safe with a choker. Either way, everyone will turn heads when they see you.
4. Pop and Suki
If you haven’t caught wind of my Pop and Suki post I made previously, now’s the time to get acquainted. As a go-to handbag brand for myself and many famous faces, their bags are compact, but extremely spacious. Apart from bags, they’ve expanded into jewelry, clothing and desk side accessories. While it’s got a girlish aesthetic, it is so versatile: you can wear it to the office, beach, room, classroom and literally, just about anywhere in the world. Given that celebrity-backed brands swim in their own hype, this one does NOT play! In fact, it is here to stay.
(P.S. If you ever plan to shop there, put in “MICHELLEVARINATA15” for a 15% discount at checkout!)
5. SkinFood by AB
Whenever I trawl on Etsy, I always love to find vintage clothes and artisan-made beauty products from small businesses. As much as I love natural skincare, I feel so happy to stumble upon SkinFood by AB. Founded by Aubrey B, all of her products are natural, vegan and organic. From lip balm to soap, everything is made in small batches. If you have yet to try natural skincare, this is truly all natural without any synthetic stuff that you find in “all natural” products on occasion.
6. Choked by a Thread
Chokers are now a timeless staple all thanks to this brand, Choked by a Thread. Inspired by chokers, founder/designer Lorraine Zalta makes them in NYC. Spotted on the necks of Hailey Baldwin, Morgan Stewart of Rich Kids of Beverly Hills and blogger Danielle Bernstein of We Wore What, this is the brand you need to splurge on for the perfect necklaces. Although it’s more well-known for their chokers, they’ve expanded into earrings, swimwear, tees and mugs.
As one of the hottest under the radar brands, Matte is often imitated by bigger names (e.g. Kylie Jenner) due to their simple, yet extremely sexy designs. If you are the type of girl who is looking for hot going out clothes, then this is the brand for you. Briana Wilson, the founder of Matte, draws upon the ’80s and ’90s with a dash of Y2K for a modern retro feel. What I also like about the brand is that their cuts are made for girls who are not a size 0. So, hands up for body positivity!
8. Amelie Pichard
This French shoe designer is one of the my go-to favorites for inspiration. In fact, I love how her retro campy aesthetic feels so fresh right now. When I first read about the brand, it was because she collaborated with Pamela Anderson for a vegan shoe collection. Although Amelie’s brand is not 100% vegan, I just love how she makes cruelty-free shoes go beyond its granola image. Apart from veganism, Amelie decided not to do any sales on her products as she feels that it is “killing fashion and creativity” (her words, not mine!). Unlike most Paris-based big guns, Amelie’s designs are truly worth paying for.