Once upon a time, in the game of fashion influence, there were only a small handful of players – designers, editors, publications and celebrities (or rather, their stylists) who were trendmakers and game-changers. The original influencers. They directed fashion down a path which trickled from designer, to producer, to maker, to editor, to stylist, to buyer, to consumer – creating few offshoots from the path along the way. Costume history celebrates those who have disrupted the course; Gabrielle ‘Coco’ Chanel, Christian Dior, Rei Kawakubo, Yves Saint Laurent and Levi Strauss, to name a few. These days, one could also count Rihanna, Vetements designer Demna Gvaslia, Gucci’s Alessandro Michele and Louis Vuitton’s newest menswear recruit, Virgil Abloh as sand shifters working in a similar vein to the forebearers: trend-makers in the truest of sense.
In saying that, however, the global fashion industry is not so simple. Influence in 2018 is ruled by algorithms, machines handpicking what they think you need before you need it and consumers have never been more spoiled for choice – or more aware of their choices, for that matter. So now more than ever, it falls on those working behind the scenes to ensure a brand’s success. Enter celebrations of diversity, a rethink of sustainable practices and the implementation of innovative ways to embrace global networks. While ideas of identity and gender are ever levelling, the industry is being forced to rethink itself and fashion is waking up to become, well, woke. Here, we look at five women working under the radar and carving much-needed grooves within fashion.
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