5 Women-Owned Businesses You Can Shop on International Women’s Day

“Support women” seems to be one of the most commonly repeated phrases of the past year thanks to Women’s March and the #MeToo – but how to actually go about supporting women? Here are five badass women-owned clothing labels and boutiques we think deserve your backing.

 

Roque Jewelry

Jacqueline Roque was the wife and artist’s muse of Pablo Picasso during the last years of his life, and it was her unique, powerful energy that led designer Michelle Addison to name Roque Jewellery after her. Founded in 2017, Addison designs modern, sculptural jewellery, that is handmade by business partner Negar Khatami in her Yaletown, Vancouver studio. The simplicity of Roque’s designs hails from Addison’s other job as a personal shopper, after hearing the refrain, “I want to be comfortable,” day after day from clients. Roque’s circular pendants and seed pearl rings have a distinctly West Coast, laid-back vibe which is also reflected in the brand’s commitment to sustainability – all pieces are made from recycled metals and gems.

 

Rightful Owner

When Rose McMahon played dress-up as a kid, she describes the normally-timid childhood activity as an “explosive” event. This volatility now translates into her kooky, animated designs for Rightful Owner. The indie clothing label’s aesthetic is best described as Alice in Wonderland meets Frida Kahlo, but the offbeat combination totally works. The clothes are handmade by McMahon in her Montreal studio and available for purchase online if you don’t happen to be a stone’s throw away from Le Plateau. In a double dose of woman power, Rightful Owner’s saccharine SS18 lookbook was shot by one of our favourite photographers, Katrina Cervoni.

 

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The Corner Store

The LA-based Insta-boutique The Corner Store has gained feverish fans for it’s rebelliously romantic aesthetic – think Gunne Sax prairie dresses paired with black lipstick – ever since it opened in 2016. Founder Stacey Nishimoto built the business from the ground up, doing all the buying, styling and photography for the store herself – all while being a single parent to her adorable son, Gus. (She also happens to be BFFs with the girl boss herself, Sophia Amoruso!) In Nishimoto’s nimble hands, 1980s power silhouettes meld into demure gowns and romantic ruffles take on a slightly threatening edge. Bonus: one of their models looks identical to The Shining-era Shelley Duvall.

 

KENT Woman

If Kent could be defined by two words, they would be au naturel. The label’s founder, Stacy Anderson, met business advisor Elise Gasbarrino while they were undergraduates at Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Ont. Now the bicoastal duo – Gasbarrino lives in New York and Anderson in L.A. – creates silky separates for the minimalist set. The brand subscribes to a philosophy they describe as “radically natural” in both materials and fit. All of the designs are made from certified organic silk and are underwire-free (no more pinching!) – support is delivered through a triple-lined empire band. The gauzy bras are part of Discover This, an eco-conscious pop-up at select Hudson’s Bay locations running until April and featuring sustainable brands such as Kotn, Naadam and Humming Kraft.

 

ZAZAII

ZAZAII comes from a Bini phrase meaning eloquent, articulate and dedicated, and the boutique founded by former lawyer Isoken Ogiemwonyi is just that. In 2009, Ogiemwonyi won the British Council Award for Young Creative Entrepreneur of the Year in 2012 and went on to found ZAZAII in 2015. The boutique has two physical location: Lagos, Nigeria and Toronto – though the website ships worldwide. By opening in Toronto, Ogiemwonye hopes to bring her roster of African designers, “as rich as the continent we take our heritage from,” to a wider global marketplace and shine a spotlight on talented African designers. We’d say she doing a pretty darn good job.