On 19 March 1911, International Women’s Day was honoured for the first time, in Austria, Denmark, Germany, and Switzerland. Over 1 million people attended rallies campaigning for change, such as giving women the right to work, vote, access education and training, and hold public office. More generally, the call was for ending gender discrimination. In 1914, there were many discussions and events around the date and it was decided to move International Women’s Day to 8 March. It has been obse
bserved around the world since, promoting various issues that women face. It has become a day for people to acknowledge the significant effort made to create change and pay respect to those who paved the way. It’s an opportunity to keep the vision alive and celebrate women and their contribution to society, the economy, workplaces, families, and the innovative solutions revolutionising the world. Despite the continued gap between men and women working in STEM careers, there are incredible females who have made contributions in history. There’s a long list; however a few women to mention include: Ada Lovelace, born in 1815, who was a mathematician known as the first computer programmer; Grace Hopper, born in 1906, also a mathematician, who was instrumental in standardising computer languages in the navy and designed a compiler that translated programmers’ instructions into computer codes; and Annie Easley, an African American woman who worked at the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics and was part of the team that developed code leading to the creation of the batteries now used in hybrid vehicles. In celebration of International Women’s Day, I take my hat off to several women at the forefront of fashion technology around the world. These women have unapologetically taken a seat at the table and are creating new systems in fashion by providing unique solutions for businesses and consumers. Sarah Neill, founder and CEO, Mys Tyler Sarah Neill is solving a major problem many female shoppers face, finding clothes that fit them well, while looking great. With Mys Tyler, Sarah is providing a community-driven app for shoppers to be inspired by like-minded and like-bodied women. Mys Tyler contributors post outfits they love and show how they fit, how to style, and where to buy. The other side to offering a fantastic resource for women is the rate of returns is reduced and shoppers are happy with their purchases. As textile waste is a significant problem globally, small measures such as this make a great impact overall. Marjorie Hernandez and Karinna Nobbs, co-founders, The Dematerialised Marjorie Hernandez and Karinna Nobbs are a force to be reckoned with. They established one of the first digital fashion non-fungible token (NFT) marketplaces, The Dematerialised. Built using blockchain technology, the web3 platform aims to provide viable new revenue streams for creators and visceral experiences for customers. The founders regularly speak at various conferences and events around the world, sharing their insights on digital fashion, identity in virtual worlds, and the importance of building utility into NFTs. The Dematerialised recently released a new digital fashion range with three items. Each piece is designed to be a digitally wearable version of a report – The Screenwear Paper – the first wearable fashion report. Natasha Franck, founder and CEO, EON A woman on a mission, Natasha Franck launched EON Group, a company building the foundation to connect every item to a Digital ID to make it interactive, intelligent, and circular. This new system will revolutionise retail and the way people connect with products and in turn integrate circular business models. Since 2015, Franck and the EON team have worked with some of the world’s biggest brands, such as H&M, Target, Gabriela Hearst and Yoox Net a Porter Group, to ensure they are part of a circular economy. Whitney Cathcart, co-founder and chief strategy officer, 3DLook Technology in the virtual try-on and size recommendation space is rapidly advancing. A solution at the forefront is Cathcart’s 3DLook. The highly practical mobile body scanning tool that uses artificial intelligence is changing the face of e-commerce, enabling brands to virtually replace the entire in-store fitting room experience. Cathcart’s background is in technology ,specialising in apparel and fashion. Her expertise lends itself to grasping the nuances of shopping online. Through 3DLook, she aims to make these experiences seamless and reliable. Beth Esponnette, Co-founder Unspun Designer and scientist Beth Esponnette’s Unspun is a made-to-order jeans brand using 3D body scanning technology. As a robotics and digital apparel company, Unspun is actively working to reduce global carbon emissions by 1 per cent through automated, localised, and intentional manufacturing. In Esponnette’s career so far, she has helped design robot-human soft-good interfaces, been an assistant professor teaching product design, developed products and materials in the outdoor apparel industry, and received multiple awards for her ingenuity throughout numerous projects and Unspun. We have many women to thank for innovation in technology, science, sustainability and society at large. This International Women’s Day, imagine our communities with more women in government, more women making decisions in business, and more people embracing gender equality, thinking of ways we can make that happen, and keeping the spirit of International Women’s Day alive.