In celebration of women’s month, Rustan’s turns the spotlight on female designers, whose brands are built on something more than fabrics that are sewn together, but fashion pieces that are made to empower wearers.
It was an entrepreneurial spirit and can-do attitude that has launched Carissa Cruz-Evangelista’s Beatriz brand to local and international attention. Her luxe and modern accessories have been featured in prestigious international fashion publications and has won a Katha Award. But her biggest reward, she says, is being able to raise the livelihood levels of women in underprivileged communities who craft her items using local and recycled materials.
Criselda Lontok’s designs have long been the go-to for women who want to express their individual style within the sphere of classic fashion pieces. She says that it is these women who have inspired her through the years. “I believe that my designs have given confidence to my female clients. They have become confident not only in themselves but also in giving compliments to other women. Having them feel beautiful and elegant at all times is my personal mission.”
Chiara Ferragni is the creative force behind the pop shoe brand Chiara Ferragni Collection. She started out as an Instagram personality who channelled her creativity towards building her footwear brand that carries her fun sense of style.
Bari Jay, a bridal dress shop, pays homage to two sisters’ commitment to keep their father’s fashion legacy. Susan Parker and Erika Rosenfeld took over their father Bruce Cohen’s business when he passed away, keeping with them his lessons on hands-on hard work, and keeping up with trends in the bridal fashion industry.
The Longchamp brand under Sophie Delafontaine offers the luxe urban staples that are beautifully crafted to suit the needs of today’s modern urban women. She took on the challenge of bringing the brand to greater heights, with the values that she has learned from her family, coupled with her own desire to set no limits to creativity which is inspired by observing the world around her.
Karen Kane’s designs are all about timelessness and offering women the easier choice, guided by the unwavering belief that women should feel beautiful and comfortable, always.
Jewelry brand Carolee is committed to help women love themselves. Its choice of former model and self-love advocate Phoebe Pojo of the “Models That Eat” movement on Instagram as the face of Carolee is a reflection of its dedication to lead others towards their own journeys to break free from the expectations of society.
Cyd Beard of Finders Keepers brought her Aussie style to a global platform by believing in the power of women—80 percent of their employees are female, and they have made it their mission to celebrate women and the female form.
Designing doyenne Josie Natori incorporates her Asian aesthetic and work ethics into her line. Growing up in a household where the women are trained to be entrepreneurial and to “never rely on a man,” her mantra today is “always evolve—never become complacent.”
Nicole Miller drapes women with dramatic silhouettes combined with unique prints and creative use of color. As she evolved her fashion line into a global lifestyle brand, she tries to empower women with non-conformist choices. “I want women to feel confident when they are wearing my clothing. I think the most important thing, over feeling sexy or pretty, is that clothes should give you confidence,” she shares.
Behind every Tali product is a special woman who creates it by hand, in the tradition of true craftsmanship. Its co-founders, Liza Morales Crespo and Marielle de Leon-Lazaro represent the new wave of social entrepreneurs that merge quality production and design with the principles of sustainability.
Viajecito was born out of a common passion for traveling, and unique finds shared by three enterprising women. Marla Aquino-Batallones, Pia Ugarte Garcia-Morera, and Marta Garcia-Morera, the women behind the brand, offer products that are made with the fashionable traveler in mind. “We believe women empowerment has a lot to do with the freedom of self-expression. Fashion choices are an extension of one’s personality, a form of self-expression.”
International designer Vivienne Tam has been recognized for her “culture-bridging and east-meets-west” approach in her creations, making her land a spot on Forbes’ 25 Top Chinese-Americans in Business. Known for her evening gowns, she has formed a pool of celebrity clients from around the world, such as Lady Gaga, Jessica Alba, Paris Hilton, and First Daughters Ivanka Trump and Tiffany Trump, among others.
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