Fashion is the most demanding industry on this planet. It has a long list of demands. Now, it’s even more in demand as things have turned digital. Many businesses and brands offer online services, and trends such as Italian fashion online are now proving its products all over the world.
The fashion industry has long been criticized for its narrow-minded vision, considering women of color even worse than that. It is still customary today to touch the models’ skin at fashion shows. However, things are changing in this realm, and more young people start their businesses to promote diversity.
Here’s a list of the ten youngest female founders in the world of fashion startups:
1. Ikumi Unagiya
Ikumi Unagiya is an apparel manufacturer and designer who founded her clothing line at twenty-two. The brand has since grown to be sold in over five hundred stores nationwide throughout Japan and Asia.
2. Alina Cho in fashion technology
Alina Cho is particularly in e-commerce (fashion technology), which she joined with her business, finance, and communications knowledge. She started working at “Rent The Runway” – an online company that allows its customers to rent designer clothes for special occasions instead of buying them. At 22, she applied for a job there. After making it through three rounds of interviews, she was hired and moved to New York City, where Rent The Runway is headquartered, with just $200 in her pocket. Ever since then, she has been climbing up the business ladder within the company, changing roles every year or two according to what they need at that moment; photo researcher, analyst, project manager, and currently Business Development/Business Analyst.
3. Veronica Chou in fashion design
At 19, Veronica Chou from Hong Kong already has substantial experience in the world of fashion. Her interest in this field is a tragic event that happened when she was five years old. She lost her mother to cancer and felt the urge to do something beautiful after going through such darkness. She moved to New York City at 18, where she began working with an architect who also owns a clothing line called “Kismet.” In exchange for designing patterns for his clothes, he taught her how to sew and use CAD software needed in pattern making, which immensely advanced her knowledge in this area. After being employed as a freelance designer, she learned how to coordinate patterns properly and started her own company called “Veronica Chou Designs” where she creates custom clothes for women.
4. Phoebe Lovatt in a clothing label
At just 17 years old, Phoebe Lovatt from the United Kingdom was interested in fashion from a very early age – long before being aware that it might be her future career. With her mother’s help, she created a handmade clothing line at 16 called “Pheobe,” which got much attention from the press and people on social media channels. She began studying business at Cambridge University while continuing her work on Pheobe concurrently. The primary purpose behind this brand is to empower young women by encouraging them to express their individuality and uniqueness through the clothes.
5. Lauren Santo Domingo in the fashion magazine
At 24, she oversees the American edition of Vogue magazine as editor-in-chief and has a lot of experience in various fields within this industry. She worked her way up from being a photo researcher to an assistant stylist at a jewelry company called “Pomellato,” where she also used to head their marketing department at 26. After that came to a position as an accessories editor at Glamour magazine before moving on as the executive fashion director for “Marie Claire” for five years until landing her current job as editor-in-chief of Vogue USA. In 2013, she even launched her online boutique called Moda Operandi, where she offers luxury items like jewelry and vintage clothing to its customers.
6. Michelle Obama in fashion designer public relations work
Michelle Obama is probably most well known for being the First Lady of the United States, but she was interested in fashion design before this position. She graduated from Princeton University with a bachelor’s degree in sociology and continued her studies at Harvard Law School. After that came an internship at “Public Allies Chicago,” where she landed her first job after graduating with honors – press aide of Mayor Richard Daley. After moving to Chicago, she began working as an assistant in the office of the Vice President before joining the staff of other important politicians such as Senator Barack Obama and his chief-of-staff. In 2005, she established a non-profit organization called “Let’s Move!” promoting healthy eating and physical fitness. After being employed by Stuart Weitzman in 2008, Michelle Obama also launched her fashion line called “Commonwealth,” where she designs clothes for women on the go, emphasizing pantsuits for businesswomen.
7. Mary-Kate Olsen in fashion accessory company work
In 2007, she founded the brand “Elizabeth and James” with her twin sister Ashley, an ‘American luxury fashion house’ that offers contemporary clothes and accessories for both men and women. It’s said to be influenced by many different styles – from grunge to classic Americana. She began working for this brand while studying at New York University, majoring in media studies. In the beginning, they mainly offered handbags but later expanded to include clothing for both men and women, shoes, etc. The twins are also the co-creators of a plus-size clothing brand called “The Row.”
8. Ashley Olsen in fashion accessory company work
She is known worldwide for her role as one-half of the former Full House and her twin sister Mary-Kate. While still attending college, she started designing clothes, partnering with her sister to create an ‘American luxury fashion house’ called “Elizabeth and James.” Like her sister, Ashley has also worked on many other projects throughout her career, like producing movies, writing books, and even launching her magazine named “Very. After the show ended in 1995, she moved to Tokyo for a while, where she studied Japanese culture and language before continuing her studies at New York University. In 2009, Ashley Olsen was ranked #91 on the Forbes Celebrity 100 list because of her successful fashion line “The Row.”
9. Kate & Laura Mulleavy in womenswear company work
This duo is another pair of twins who started their career in fashion by founding their brand ‘Rodarte’ in 2005, which they describe as an “American luxury ready-to-wear clothing line.” They both attended the California Institute of the Arts (CalArts) but later transferred to Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) when offered an assignment to work with Oscar de la Renta. Later, they relocated to New York City, where they started working for different fashion companies before launching their brand together. Their collections are usually inspired by many different sources – mainly focusing on art, architecture, and nature but also draw influence from many other things like folk art, the 1960s, historical dresses, etc. As of February 2016, Rodarte was awarded the National Medal of Arts at a ceremony in Washington, D.C.
10. Mary-Kate & Ashley Olsen in womenswear company work
The Olsen Twins are another pair of famous American actresses born on June 13th, 1986; Mary-Kate is older, whereas Ashley is younger by just a few minutes. They are probably best known for starring in the ‘Full House,’ which had an 8-year run. The twins then continued their career by working on other projects, including directing, producing, and even writing books & magazines. Having studied at New York University, they also co-founded their fashion brand called “The Row” along with Elizabeth & James, launched in 2006. They collaborated to create clothes for both men and women – mainly focusing on denim. They were ranked #61 on the Forbes Celebrity 100 list of 2014 because of their successful ventures.
These are the ten youngest women who started working for fashion brands at a young age, gaining experience before launching their brand or working on other projects. They’re all very talented and ambitious – hopefully, we can see more of them in the future.