9 Denver Fashion Powerhouses Share What International Women’s Day Means to Them

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International Women’s Day is celebrated annually on March 8. This year, the theme is “Choose To Challenge.” While it is important to honor all the remarkable milestones women have made, and continue to make, we must also acknowledge how inequality still plays a role in society for women today. In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, this crisis has called attention to women’s efforts to make valuable contributions to society, whether being a frontline worker, caregiver, etc. It has also shown women are facing inadequate representation in COVID-19 policy spaces.

Women have indefinitely risen to the occasion to lift each other up and empower one another to make a difference in society, even with the world taking a turn this last year. The success that has been achieved is an accomplishment in itself.

This International Women’s Day, 303 Magazine sought out nine exceptional female leaders in Denver who believe equality is the key to shaping our future.  

Judith Boyd

Blogger of Style Crone

Photo by Karson Hallaway

303 Magazine: What are your thoughts about how women and girls have shaped a more equal future and recovery? How can women continue to inspire and transform society moving forward?

Judith Boyd: The pandemic has laid bare the inequities that exist in our culture. People of color and old people have suffered the most hospitalizations and deaths. This evolving era is our opportunity to change the systems that have caused and maintain these disparities.

Women and girls play an important role in this necessary transformation to secure equal rights, allow us to live without fear of violence, have a say in decisions that impact us and control our own lives. Attaining equality for all will ensure a more sustainable, safe and economically secure future for everyone.

303: How do you plan on celebrating International Women’s Day?

JB: I am aware that the theme of International Women’s Day is “Choose To Challenge.” We can all choose to challenge and call out gender bias and inequality. We can all choose to seek out and celebrate women’s achievements. Collectively, we can all help create an inclusive world.

For me, I will strike the Choose To Challenge pose on social media with my hand held high to show my commitment. I will use the hashtags #ChooseToChallenge and #IWD2021.

Also, I have an important photo shoot on Monday, March 8th. I will be wearing a purple gown, which is one of the colors of International Women’s Day. This color signifies justice and dignity. I will wear it proudly.

READ: 75-Year-Old Style Influencer Judith Boyd Wants to Change Your Perspective

Hannah Werling

Lead Producer of Denver Fashion Week
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Hannah Werling. Photo by Kyle Cooper.

303: What are your thoughts about how women and girls have shaped a more equal future and recovery? How can women continue to inspire and transform society moving forward? 

Hannah Werling: I think what the COVID-19 crisis has done is bring everyone into “the day in the life of women.” People are now understanding that whatever work we do as women, we are also champions of ingenuity and flexibility. I love seeing how women have connected, encouraged and cheered for each other through a very dividing and frustrating time. With so many women growing and thinking outside the box, I truly am excited to be a part of a new movement where we do it all and include everyone at the table!

303: How do you plan on celebrating International Women’s Day? 

HW: With my two amazing daughters. They are becoming such amazing women and advocates for their generation. They work so hard and have more passion for their futures than I did at their age. It’s incredibly exciting to see. I mean, they are now growing up in a time where women are Vice Presidents and ALL women are being more represented! I can’t wait to see who they become and what ripple effect they have in others’ lives!

Tyne Hall

Womenswear fashion designer

Photo by Robin Fulton

303: What are your thoughts about how women and girls have shaped a more equal future and recovery? How can women continue to inspire and transform society moving forward? 

Tyne Hall: I think we’ve seen women being vocal and very active in driving conversations and policy. Post 2018, we saw record numbers of women being elected not just on the federal level but in our state legislature as well. Women have been leading the charge on issues like raising the minimum wage, child care and universal pre-k and racial disparities as it relates to COVID-19.

Black women organizers and activists worked to get out the vote and to help those who have been disenfranchised exercise their right to vote. Our trans sisters have spoken out about the dangers they face. If we take any inspiration from these women, it’s that we have to remain vocal and we have to get involved.

303: How do you plan on celebrating International Women’s Day? 

TH: I will be having a very pandemic safe International Women’s Day at home sewing. I’m working on a new collection right now. The main focus of my work lately has been to highlight individuality and create pieces that allow women to really express themselves.

READ: Designer Tyne Hall on Finding Her Design Aesthetic Through Music and Goth Culture

Florence Müller

Curator at the Denver Art Museum

Florence Müller, fashion curator at Denver Art Museum. Photo by Brittany Werges

303: What are your thoughts about how women and girls have shaped a more equal future and recovery? How can women continue to inspire and transform society moving forward?

Florence Muller: There are many women empowering other women in the world. One example that comes to mind is Kamala Harris getting elected as the U.S. Vice President. Milestones like this bring hope to the world and create a brighter future for children and future generations globally.

On the fashion front, sustainability and fashion have become an important topic to address within the fashion industry. This topic is also important to me and is something I’ve been working to bring more awareness to. The pandemic has also reinforced the idea of showcasing this topic.

303: How do you plan on celebrating International Women’s Day?

FM: On International Women’s Day, I’ll be installing the Paris to Hollywood: The Fashion and Influence of Véronique and Gregory Peck exhibition. I’ll be getting it ready for Denver audiences and beyond to see the presentation. The exhibition will focus on the remarkable Peck couple whose influence from Paris to Hollywood placed them among the legends of international cinema and American culture.

If these two are new names to you, I look forward to introducing you to the talented pair. Especially Véronique, an elegant, former journalist and an intellectual who used her platform to support civic, political and humanitarian causes. Finally, I hope this presentation empowers women and others who visit to help them express and enhance their own identity through the power of fashion.

Kaci Head

Regional Director of Fashion Group International, Denver Chapter

Photo by Caroline Miller

303: What are your thoughts about how women and girls have shaped a more equal future and recovery? How can women continue to inspire and transform society moving forward? 

Kaci Head: Globally, women are more vulnerable to the economic effects of COVID-19 due to existing gender inequalities. The pandemic is exposing social, political and economic vulnerabilities and deepening pre-existing inequalities. My hope is that facing this challenge will allow us to “Build Back Better.” Women in leadership roles across the nation are shaping the recovery efforts by introducing bills like the Equal Pay For Equal Work Act in Colorado, and Marshall Plan for Moms introduced by NY congresswoman, Grace Meng. It is vital for women to stay connected, supportive and advocate for each other to transform society moving forward.

303: How do you plan on Celebrating International Women’s Day? 

KH: I plan on celebrating IWD with the amazing women in my family – my mom, sister, daughter and nieces.

READ: How Local Designer Kaci Head Made Fashion a Lifestyle

Esther Lee Leach

Editor in Chief of Cherry Creek Fashion Magazine

Photo by Danielle Webster

303: What are your thoughts about how women and girls have shaped a more equal future and recovery? How can women continue to inspire and transform society moving forward? 

Esther Lee Leach: I have always believed in pushing each other further up the ladder and then pulling each other up when we are in a position of power. In Denver, I have found that women really are a community and cheer on each other’s successes. I also think that women need to be louder about their achievements. This helps inspire other women to follow in their paths and work towards more leadership positions.

Women are many times silent about their achievements and we need to be bolder about saying and showing all of the invaluable contributions that we are making. Men in positions of power and on their way up rarely have a problem tooting their own horn. We need to do the same to encourage the next generation.

303: How do you plan on celebrating International Women’s Day? 

EL: By telling all of the wonderful women in my life how special they are and how much I value their support and encouragement. We are always stronger when we work together to achieve equality.

READ: 303 Style Profile – Esther Lee Leach Founder of Cherry Creek Fashion

Mia Felicia

Denver fashion model

Photo by Amanda Piela

 303: What are your thoughts about how women and girls have shaped a more equal future and recovery? How can women continue to inspire and transform society moving forward? 

Mia Felicia: I think a lot of the shaping came from women who didn’t take no for answers. Moreover, who didn’t let the opinions of others stop them. They were strong, they were bold and they were fearless. They busted their tails so that we would have the same opportunities and feel the same kind of power and confidence to face our own adversities.

I admire the women who pioneered paths and took things and made it theirs. Their confidence and strength is what reminds me that no matter how down I can get on something, someone else has been there too and they made it. So, if they can do it, then so can I. I think the way women can continue to inspire and transform is just by never giving up on their dreams. Furthermore, beating their own and everyone else’s expectations.

303: How do you plan on celebrating International Women’s Day?

MF: I plan on celebrating it by going to work and keep working towards my goals and dreams. Life doesn’t wait for you to achieve your dreams, and I’m not patient enough to wait for things to just happen.

READ: 303 Award-Winning Models Talk About DFW and Life in Fashion 

Rachel Marie Hurst

Owner, founder and fashion designer for Rachel Marie Hurst

Photo by Duke Shoman

303: What are your thoughts about how women and girls have shaped a more equal future and recovery? How can women continue to inspire and transform society moving forward? 

Rachel Marie Hurst: In the fashion industry, there has been a revolution! More women demanding inclusivity, challenging beauty and body standards, and creating their own standards instead of allowing men to. It’s so exciting to see models with varieties of body types — to be inclusive we cannot exclude. I have always strived to have a multitude of ethnicities and bodies in my shows. Moreover, I am so proud to see that this is becoming the new normal. I love that women are dressing women and the support for women designers is growing.

Fashion design was predominantly run by men for women and now we see more women designing for women! I think we are on the right track but there is still a lot to be done.  The biggest thing that women can continue to do is support one another, celebrate each other and uplift our voices. United, we are stronger. All women should have the right to choose the life they want, who they identify as, if they do or don’t want kids, if they want to be an at-home mom, be the boss or work for someone else. We deserve that right, and should have that right.

303: How do you plan on celebrating International Women’s Day? 

RH: For me, every day is Women’s day! I have been doing a Boss Babe feature on my Instagram stories on Fridays where I share and promote another amazing lady and what they are doing and up to. I usually give them full autonomy to tell the story that they want and then I package it up and share it. For Women’s Day, I am going to highlight boss babes and say what I love about them on my Instagram stories. There are so many amazing ladies in my fashion community and I hope to spread the love. In fashion, it can be such a judgemental art form. I try to spread positivity and acceptance whenever I can.

READ: DFW Veteran Rachel Marie Hurst to Open Her First Boutique

Terri Garbarini

Owner of Garbarini
International Women's Day, Terri

Photo by Erin Sturga

303: What are your thoughts about how women and girls have shaped a more equal future and recovery? How can women continue to inspire and transform society moving forward? 

Terri Garbarini: Honestly, in the almost 40 yrs I’ve had my store this COVID-19 situation has been the most extreme challenge. It’s hard to sell clothes when no one has any place to go! But, we’ve lowered our inventory level and targeted our products to the more relaxed lifestyle everyone has at the moment — and it’s been good.

As far as your questions about women, I think women have always made the world a better place to live — nothing new there. We are nurturing and empathetic, we are networking and good communicators … I don’t see that changing.

303: How do you plan on celebrating International Women’s Day? 

TG: I don’t have any specific plans for International Women’s day. Honestly, in my world every day is Women’s Day!