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Here come the girls?

Posted on 10/10/2011 by Emma Dadswell

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We recently read an interesting article on the BBC News website about how women are finally making their mark on the fashion industry after years of it being a male-dominated business. This was particularly interesting as last week we wrote about women juggling their careers with their personal lives – a factor the article claims has been holding back female designers.

We highly recommend reading the full article, but for those of you with less time on your hands, here are the points it made. *Please note that the views in this article are those of the BBC

- Traditionally, men have been the most successful designers. There are some notable exceptions to this rule, such as Coco Chanel, Vivienne Westwood and Donna Karan, but for many years names such as Christian Dior, Yves Saint Laurent and Gianni Versace have dominated the industry.

- Part of the reason is historical - men were traditionally on the technical and design side in fashion houses, working as pattern makers while women sewed on the buttons and dyed the feathers!

- Another reason listed for women being held back in the industry was family commitments impeding the single-mindedness needed to reach the higher echelons of the business.

- Female designers have traditionally been more popular on the high street than the catwalk – but household names such as Stella McCartney, Isabel Marant, Phoebe Philo, Sarah Burton and Miuccia Prada have shifted this trend.

However, many of the female designer names listed as cutting edge and new have actually been around for a long time. For example, Stella McCartney hardly popped up out of the blue; she’s a seasoned and well-respected name in fashion. Moreover, the article missed out some highly influential women designers such as Donatella Versace, Carolina Herrera, Diane von Furstenberg, Betsey Johnson, Patricia Field Monique Lhuillier, Elizabeth Emanuel, Anna Sui and Vera Wang - to name just a few.

While it’s true that there are many successful male fashion designers, the article asserts that women are only starting to make their mark now– something that, by the addition of the names listed above, can be disproved in a heartbeat.

What do you think? Is fashion really a male-dominated industry? Do women really lack faith in other women to design their clothes? Leave us some comments and let us know.