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IWD Special: Leading industry women on how they are inspired by and support other women
06 March 2020

Despite being an industry aimed largely at women, fashion is still led largely by men. According to a study last year by Price Waterhouse Coopers some 75% of apparel shopworkers are women, but just 12.5% of Fortune 1000 apparel and apparel retail businesses are led by women. As part of a special series of features to celebrate International Women’s Day, we speak to two women in senior roles in another male dominated industry, property, about how they support women-led businesses, and two female founders on how other women inspired them to success and how they embrace the IWD theme of #EachForEqual.

Female leads at leading landlords on how they support female-led brands and retailers

Samantha Bain-Mollison, Head of Retail at Shaftesbury

“In line with the way in which we nurture independents and emerging brands, Shaftesbury pride ourselves on championing female entrepreneurs to ensure a balanced offering across the destination.

“Working within a company which provides opportunity to all - regardless of gender - makes it easy to apply the same to our retail environments, which are dynamic and multifaceted as a result.”

Hannah Grievson, Property Director at Sloane Stanley

Hannah Grievson Sloane Stanley

Hannah Grievson

"If you walk down the King’s Road and Fulham Road you will encounter a number of successful and influential female founders. We are keen to continue to create an environment that supports all with a revolutionary but sustainable leasing strategy that encourages individualism, and makes retail accessible to all regardless of gender.  We welcome this year's International Women's Day theme #EachForEqual, and we hope our positive example will help to celebrate the achievements of women within property and retail across London."

Female founders on how the women inspire their businesses and ethos

Fiona Hodges, Founder of resort and lifestyle brand Seraphina

IWD fashion Seraphina

Fiona Hodges

"Nothing gives me more joy than seeing strong and empowered women, and their daughters, wearing Seraphina.  From our humble beginnings in Delhi, with a single kaftan, to a decade of successful pop ups on The King's Road, it has been quite a journey for our brand, and we have been continually inspired by the work of outstanding women along the way.

“We also offer a bespoke service in partnership with our New Delhi factory, covering everything from sourcing to development and manufacturing, which allows us to share knowledge, empower local artisans and encourage equality, reflecting this year's International Women's Day #EachForEqual focus."

Sarah Claassen, co-founder of premium multi-brand boutique chain Iris


Sarah Claassen and Iris co-founder Annie Pollet

“From opening our first store in 2004, to our current presence across ten stores and a dedicated website, it has been an incredible journey for Iris. We have been constantly inspired by powerful females along the way.

“Iris was founded with a real desire to create community hubs for like-minded women to shop and interact, as well as to provide elegant and welcoming spaces within which affordable luxury can be accessed, so we feel strongly aligned with this year’s International Women’s Day #EachForEqual focus.”

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