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One of the objectives of A Day Without a Woman is to refrain from shopping, to see and feel the impact of what happens to the economy when women don’t spend money for 24 hours. There is one caveat, though, and it’s one that this website — a website dedicated to shopping — can easily get behind: If you are going to shop today, shop from small women- and minority-owned businesses.
To get you started, here’s a list of some of our favorite brands that were founded by female immigrants. Read up on them below, and then head to their websites to see what they’re all about. This list is nowhere near exhaustive and we’ll be updating it frequently, so please send any other brands you’d like to see included to firstname.lastname@example.org or drop them in the comments.
Azéde Jean-Pierre: Womenswear designer Azéde Jean-Pierre was born in Haiti and grew up in Atlanta after coming to America as a refugee. Her career kicked into gear after she graduated from the Savannah College of Art and Design, and last year she made the decision to work with artisans in developing countries on her collections; this past spring season, all of her embroidered pieces were produced in Haiti. She counts Solange Knowles and Michelle Obama as fans.
Maryam Nassir Zadeh: Clothing and accessories designer Maryam Nassir Zadeh’s signature block heel mules, glove shoes, and slides arguably ushered in a whole wave of shoe trends that prioritize comfort without sacrificing style whatsoever (many of the pairs come in bright suedes or rich leathers). Zadeh was born in Iran and operates a store on Manhattan’s Lower East Side that sells her label alongside dozens of likeminded brands.
Dana Arbib, A Peace Treaty: The cornerstone of designer Dana Arbib’s brand A Peace Treaty is her commitment to working with craftspeople all over the globe, from Peru to Pakistan and beyond. Her bags, scarves, caftans, and tunics are known equally for their fabrics and prints as they are their origins — a dedicated section on A Peace Treaty’s website details how and where everything is made. Arbib’s global approach to design is a reflection of her background: She was born in Tel Aviv, raised in Toronto, and is now based in the US.
Paola Mathe, Fanm Djanm: Fanm Djanm translates to “strong woman" in founder Paola Mathe’s native Haitian Kreyol. The label specializes in headwraps, which are made in New York City with recycled fabric and, when possible, materials selected from African countries. Since it was launched in 2014, the brand has grown to include jewelry and bags. The product photography is also on another level, often featuring inspiring women from around the world as models.
Urte Tylaite, Still House: Jewelry designer Urte Tylaite owns a boutique in New York City that carries jewelry and home goods from a variety of designers, as well as her own jewelry collection that was launched in 2013. Tylaite's designs are clean and simple — think small hoop earrings, triangle stud earrings, and necklaces made of long, thin gold chains. She’s a native of Lithuania and moved to the States when she was 18.
Lia Kes, Kes: Kes is a womenswear label founded by designer Lia Kes, who grew up on an Israeli kibbutz. As a child she learned how to sew in a communal workshop, and after studying fashion design in Tel Aviv, she moved to New York to launch her own line. She designs in a palette of gray, cream, black, and silver, but dramatic draping and loose, asymmetrical silhouettes keep it all from feeling too neutral.
Behida Dolić, Behida Dolić Milinery: All of milliner Behida Dolić’s designs are handmade, and Dolić herself is self-taught. In 1998, the designer fled post-war Bosnia and lived in San Francisco and Florence, Italy before launching her business on the East Coast. Her hats come in such a wide range of styles that you’d be hard-pressed to find a style of hat that’s not represented in the current collection.
Swati Dhanak, Swati Dhanak: Swati Dhanak was raised in Dubai, where her family owned a jewelry workshop. She moved to the US to attend college and, after working at fashion houses like Chanel and Armani, launched her own fine jewelry line. Diamonds and 18K gold are staples of her collections, which vary in terms of style from sharp and geometric to round and organic.
Desiree Klein, Desiree Klein: German Desiree Klein’s collections err on the conceptual side, but for the right person — read: someone who isn’t afraid of ruffles and funky silhouettes — it’s actually quite wearable. Before settling in Los Angeles and opening her first flagship store, Klein ran an art gallery in Berlin (which, if her artful clothes are any indication, she was quite good at).
Aurate: Launched in 2015, this fine jewelry brand has an impressive range of styles to sort through on its website, from small black diamond studs to large gold chokers and (honestly) everything in-between. Co-founders Sophie Kahn (originally from The Netherlands) and Bouchra Ezzahraoui (a native of Morocco) have also weaved philanthropy into their business model; a book is donated to children in need for every piece of jewelry sold.
Citizens Mark: Workwear brand Citizens Mark was founded by former human rights policy professional Cynthia Salim, while working at the United Nations in Switzerland. The Indonesia-born entrepreneur’s goal was to create a line of quality clothing for women that was sustainably produced; now, the company has its own supply chain across Europe, which includes a wool mill that purifies water after fabrics are dyed.