Womxn Move Mountains: Happy International Women's Day 2021
Posted on March 07 2021
Happy International Women's Day everyone! This year I felt especially compelled to write a blog post to express my gratitude and respect for the women in my life who inspire and influence me.
This past 12 months particularly has been so difficult for everyone. Between having to deal with a global pandemic and economic uncertainty brought about by Brexit, it's a wonder any of us have the energy to even get up in the morning. One thing that this pandemic has given many of us, which we could choose to see as a gift, is time - and plenty of it. In this time there have been a lot of social issues raised that otherwise may have been overlooked due to the busyness of everyday 'normal' life. As we have been granted an abundance of time we have had the opportunity to reflect, research and think on pressing issues that affect our society and the people within it every single day.
One of those pressing social issues is gender equality and women's rights. This is a topic that has had a lot of press coverage and awareness shone onto it throughout the course of history, but I have felt a particular push around the topic this past 12 months. I have felt more inspired than ever by so many women who I'm surrounded by. Women in my friendship groups, my family, other women running businesses both locally and globally, women in arts and music, my lovely customers who are predominantly women and of course the women in politics and in positions of power.
I'm going to feature in this post my top three influential women and my reasons for why, but just know that if you're a woman reading this, YOU inspire me too. You are so important and valued in this world and I hope that you never forget that.
1. My Grandma Rita
Grandma Rita is sadly no longer with us, but she played such a huge part in raising me as my parents had me quite young and needed to work a lot, so I have very fond memories of her from growing up spending a lot of time at her house and staying over a couple of nights every week. She was a woman full of style and grace. She always kept everything immaculate, including her appearance (and mine and my sister's as children too!). She worked as a window dresser with a keen interest in fashion and beauty.
I didn't know this until approximately 6 months after opening Suki's Wardrobe but when she was in her 20s, I think she'll have been around the exact age I was when I opened Suki's, my Grandmother nearly bought a local clothing boutique that went up for sale in the local area with her friend Joan but something happened with the lease and it sadly fell through. I just love that coincidence though, it's almost like I'm living out her dream without even realising it which has always given me a sense of comfort when running the store and a confidence that it's all going to be ok, even through the pandemic, because I feel her by my side watching over me and making sure everything turns out alright in the end despite the challenges of running the business.
I feel very lucky to have had her in my life, even if it was only until I was around 13, she played a huge part and I'll never forget her. She sadly died of ovarian cancer and I remember her fighting hard and staying so strong for me and my sister, we hardly noticed she was ill until the very end and that's because of her strength and putting on a brave face. She needn't have done that for us, of course we wouldn't ever have seen her as weak, but she was saving face and couldn't bare the thought of people seeing her ill and that was just her character. I will always admire her strength and resilience and feel forever grateful I got to share part of my life with her.
2. Joni Mitchell
If you saw my post on Instagram about the legendary Joni Mitchell on Sunday then you'll have to forgive me for my repetitiveness here but I feel I need to feature her as, creatively, she has had a huge influence on me for many years now.
I have been inspired by Joni since I first discovered her music around 14 years ago now. The obsession began when I found myself completely seduced and encapsulated by the album Blue, as many other avid fans do at first, and I was taken back with the lyricism and intensity in each track, and how each song seemed to speak to me directly. Ever since I have continually listened to her music (Hejira is my current favourite album though this changes almost on a monthly basis!), and then when I discovered she was also a painter I was so taken back by her work, realising that she designed and painted her own album artwork just blew my mind and I've enjoyed her artwork ever since too, collected her LPs, read books about her life and watched documentaries and live footage, interviews etc. completely immersed myself in her works and it's felt like therapy for me on so many occasions.
Women in any arts industry inspire me so much because of how hard they've had to work to shine through a very male populated and orientated world, and Joni is just such a bright example of what women can achieve.
If you're interested in delving into the world of Joni Mitchell further then there's a great article on her by Another Magazine HERE and also an incredible documentary called Woman of Heart and Mind HERE which gives a great insight into her life and work.
3. Women in Business
I know so many women who own their own successful business empires, both large and small, and they inspire me to run my own and make me feel part of an amazing community. On our local high street in Uppermill, there are so many female owned businesses on our high street, I'd go as far as betting it's way over 50%.
I have always had the community over competition kind of attitude to running my business and I have so much respect for each and every female business owner in the area. Some of the great businesses owned by women in Uppermill that I can think of off the top of my head include: Mi Abode, Star & Bean, Eden floral Styling, Alimentari Di Alberti, Scona, NK Hair Studio, Blush Bridal Boutique, The Flower Shop, Luan Matthews, Jack's Plot, Gifts for All Seasons, The Cake Kitchen, Reclamation Room, Lucy Cobb, Hebe Home & Gift, The Hair and Beauty Lounge, Adele Howarth-
Women Owned Brands At Suki's Wardrobe
Some of the brands we stock at Suki's Wardrobe are also lead and founded by women. One example of this is our super popular brand One Hundred Stars which was started by two sisters, Heather and Rona Stevenson, in Sheffield in 2014.
One Hundred Stars - kimonos, gowns and duster coats
(Heather Stevenson Pictured)
Together they have created magic and produce the most wonderful collections constantly year on year, collaborating with Kew Gardens and this season launching a collection inspired by the works of Victorian Biologist and Botanical Artist Marianne North. Which takes me off on a little bit of a tangent but I HAVE to tell you more about Marianne North (I can't not now can I?!).
Marianne spent around 14 years adventuring and travelling the world for research and inspiration. She created a staggering 848 paintings and was responsible for documenting botanical species that were previously unknown to science. The latest Kew x One Hundred Stars range has been inspired by the Kew Royal Botanical Gardens samples and archives of Marianne's paintings and works which we have been given exclusive access to by Kew and One Hundred Stars.
Also, did you know that a percentage of every sale from this range goes towards the vital work carried out at Kew into climate change research, conservation and preservation of natural habitats?!
So there we have it, there's my round up of inspirational women, and I can't end the post without mentioning my own Mother. It goes without saying that I am forever grateful to her for her support and for bringing me into the world, but more on that next week for Mother's Day ;)
I hope you all have a lovely and peaceful International Women's Day 2021, spread the love and let the women in your life know just how much they mean to you.