All right, ladies—now is the time. Shine the light as bright as you can on everything you bring to the table and bring it. Support other women, acknowledge each other’s individual struggles, and come together to put a stop to injustices that still go on today.
There are currently over twenty brutal armed conflicts across the globe and unprecedented violence against women. There has never been a greater need to support women survivors of war. This International Women’s Day, Net-a-Porter is celebrating incredible women all over the world with six exclusive T-shirt designs. All profits from sales of the shirts will directly benefit Women for Women International, a non-profit organization that helps women survivors of war rebuild their lives.
Women for Women International has reached nearly half a million women across conflict-affected countries by equipping them with skills and resources to break free from poverty, stand up for their rights, and create sustainable change. Bearing the brunt of violence and oppression, women around the world continue to display extraordinary resilience and courage in caring and providing for their families. Founded in 1993 in response to atrocities committed against women during the Bosnian war, the charity has since reached more than 462,000 women across eight affected countries.
To fundraise this cause, Net-a-Porter enlisted six designers—Stella McCartney, Ganni, Off-White, Bella Freud, Rosie Assoulin, and Chloé—to recreate their own personal understanding of female bravery in the form of a T-shirt. Wearing these empowering designs is a statement all on its own, but the impact of the sale goes far beyond spreading a message—it has a direct impact on women affected by violence and poverty through contributions to Women for Women International.
The luxury fashion website has always been a huge champion for women. Each year, they celebrate International Women’s Day with generous donations and powerful social media campaigns. And their support for talented women runs deep—in fact, 61 percent of Net-a-Porter's employees are women. This company practices what it preaches.
Case in point, Net-a-Porter asked each designer to come up with a nuanced, unique message of empowerment based on what incredible women they know and love. Bella Freud says “the incredible women I look up to are Coco Chanel for breaking all the boundaries of how women should dress; the writer Colette who wrote the wildest, most liberated prose while being held almost prisoner by her husband. Angela Davis whose eloquence and beauty makes her name synonymous with courage.”
She expresses that love is the answer to a more inclusive and boundary breaking environment for women, because “love is inclusive, it unites us. Love opens our hearts and minds to go beyond our limitations.”
Ditte Reffstrup, creative director at Ganni, says incredible women are “everything.” She says “without incredible women showing the way, where would we be? Every single item from socks to frocks are designed with strong, incredible, fascinating and creative women in mind.”
Her tongue-in-cheek T-shirt design addresses gender equality by highlighting a woman’s ability. She notes that her design was inspired by “all the amazing girls and women who show the way forward and won’t be pigeonholed or held back by their gender. As serious as the issue of feminism and equality is, I also wanted to add a bit of humor and fun, and say ‘hey, of course we’re on top of things.’”
Natacha Ramsay-Levi, creative director at Chloé, says “recognizing both the universality and individuality of women was behind much of what I wanted to say with my first collection at Chloé.” She continues, “This is what drew me to using a Cycladic totem of femininity, a symbol dating back more than four millenniums yet still timeless, as a pendant necklace. I wanted to translate this message for International Women’s Day, repeating this symbol in gold thread on the pocket with a matching metallic ring piercing through the sleeve. Together these details represent the life-giving force within all women.”
Designer Rosie Assoulin makes a statement and says “grandmothers are incredible women!” Grandmothers brought everyone into the world through “hard work, contributions, and sacrifices they made,” she continues, “we have an obligation to do the same for future generations so that they may build on our hard work!”
Her inspiration for this t-shirt was her own grandmother, who spoke many languages and lived in many countries. Assoulin explains that “what our grandmothers lived through, historically and personally, is inspiring. And the equality we are able to fight for today was often unspeakable in their time.”
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On that note, Brita Fernandez Schmidt—Executive Director of Women For Women International - UK—explains that “fashion is a powerful form of expression, and each of these six world-renowned designers has made a passionate, personal statement in support of women's empowerment. Together they send a bold message out into the world for International Women's Day, capturing the spirit of solidarity and sisterhood.” Funds raised will support women living through some of the world’s most challenging settings.
Incredible women are everywhere. They’re in your home, your office, your textbooks, and every part of the world. It is our duty to use our voices, brains, and resources to lift each other up and empower one another. And it’s encouraging to know that companies like Net-a-Porter are standing by women survivors of war this International Women’s Day.