Top 5 Women Shaping the Fashion Industry



Miroslava Duma

Cited as a “force of the fashion industry” by the Financial Times and the “most connected digital entrepreneur in fashion” by Vogue, Duma has evolved from street style star and digital influencer to one of the most influential digital fashion entrepreneurs and investors. Most commonly known as the co-founder of digital fashion and lifestyle magazine Buro24/7 she was able to identify and fill a market gap for a single platform covering fashion, beauty, art and film. Buro24/7 has now expanded to 11 destinations and evolved into a veritable lifestyle media empire. Her most recent venture is Fashion Tech Lab, a combination of “an investment company, a multinational accelerator, and an experimental laboratory,” which targets fields of material science, biotech, wearable electronics, nanotechnology and high performance fabrics and fibres. It connects new technologies and sustainable innovations, to Collaborate and create products and brands and evolve the fashion industry and help reduce its social and environmental footprint. Duma, while known as the fashion powerhouse, is a devoted and loving mother of three beautiful children.

Eva Chen 

Before embarking on one of the fashion industry’s most fascinating career paths, Chen was destined to become a doctor and studied a pre-med course at Johns Hopkins University. An internship at Harper’s Bazaar inspired her to dramatically change her plans and enter the world of fashion. Upon graduating she began freelancing at Lucky and quickly landed an assistant role at Elle, where she spent three years (all while getting a master’s degree at Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism). Over the next 8 years, Chen went on to undertake several positions at Teen Vogue, primarily as the magazine’s beauty editor. In 2013, Anna Wintour brought Chen over as a consultant for Lucky Magazine, hiring her as editor-in-chief within only two months. Chen thus became one of the youngest editors to head an American magazine, she was just 33. A decade spent mastering her skills across a slew of leading fashion publications garnered her an impressive social media following and made her an expert in the digital field. Somewhat naturally, Chen became Instagram’s first head of fashion partnerships in 2015, acting as the liaison between Instagram and the élite world of fashion. She is considered one of the most powerful people in the digital world of fashion.

Angela Ahrendts

The woman who singlehandedly saved Burberry from its downfall and became the highest-paid female executive is admired and respected for her corporate career rather than fashion influencer status or digital following. Her career began at Donna Karan New York where she met Christopher Bailey, who later became the chief creative director of Burberry. When she stepped became the CEO of Burberry one of her most celebrated decisions was to limit the amount of clothing and accessories with Burberry’s signature check pattern to 10% to minimize the damage counterfeits had caused to sales. During her tenure as CEO of Burberry from 2006 to 2014 the company value rose from £2 billion to over £7 billion, primarily due to her mitigation of the brand’s decline in prestige. CNN money reported that during 2012, she was the highest paid CEO in the UK, making $26.3 million. Ahrendts was ranked 25th in Forbes’ 2015 list of the most powerful women in the world, 9th most powerful woman in the U.K. in the BBC Radio 4 Woman’s Hour 100 Power List, and 29th in Fortune’s 2014 list of the world’s most powerful women in business. Unsurprisingly, Apple enlisted Ahrendts to become the Senior Vice President of Retail in 2014, making her the only woman on Apple’s Senior Executive Board. This incomparable success doesn’t prevent her from being a mother of three children and loving wife.

Natalie Massenet

The force behind fashion’s most beloved shopping destination Net-a-Porter, Massenet singlehandedly revolutionised the way women buy luxury fashion. Her career started as a fashion stylist in Tokyo and a receptionist at Universal Studios, and between 1993 and 1998 she worked in WWD and Tatler. She identified a gap in the market while trying to source products for a fashion shoot online. Net-a-Porter was launched in 2000 from Massenet’s kitchen table in her London flat, with Net-a-Porter’s first famous black boxes were stocked in her bathroom. It quickly became the world’s premier online luxury destination. By 2004, the company was profitable and won the best fashion shop award at the British Fashion Awards and in 2010 Massenet sold Net-a-Porter to Swiss luxury goods holding company Richemont for a figure estimated at £50m. The Outnet, off-price e-tailer, and Mr Porter, menswear platform, were added to the Net-a-Porter Group umbrella in 2009 and 2011 respectively. Her fun personality and warm relationships with team members were what propelled her to the top (she famously hosted monthly Margarita office parties and team haircut events). Massenet stepped down from her Net-a-Porter role in 2015 and focused on her role as chair of the British Fashion Council, to which she was appointed in 2013. In 2017 she joined fashion e-commerce platform Farfetch as non-executive co-chairman.

Sara Blakeley

The true definition of a self-made woman, Blakely is the now-billionaire inventor of every woman’s favourite figure shapers – Spanx. While living in Florida, Blakely was tired of wearing pantyhose in the hot weather and the appearance of the seamed foot while wearing open-toed shoes. She did however, like the way that the control-top model eliminated panty lines and made her body appear firmer. Experimenting by cutting off the feet of her pantyhose while wearing them under a pair of slacks made her find that she achieved the same results without the annoyance and thus Spanx was born. At age 27, Blakely relocated to Atlanta, Georgia and spent the next two years and $5,000 in savings researching and developing the idea. In November 2000, Winfrey named Spanx a “Favourite Product”, leading to a significant rise in popularity and sales and Spanx achieved $4 million in sales in its first year and $10 million in sales in its second year. As of 2014 Blakely is listed as the 93rd most powerful woman in the world by Forbes and continues to run Spanx day-to-day.

These women are true inspiration and prove once again that with enough dedication and hard work, you can make anything possible!