Female empowerment was one of the hottest trends of the 20th century, and many women in the 1960s and 1970s took the first steps to embrace it.
In the 1950s, for instance, British fashion designer Anne Campbell was seen as a pioneering fashionista.
In an interview with the BBC in the 1970s, she said: “It’s been quite a while since I’ve seen a woman who has been so fully integrated into society as a woman.”
But the decade’s most influential fashion house, Vivienne Westwood, was a pioneer of the movement, with a range of styles that were seen as empowering for women.
The magazine Women’s Wear Daily, launched in 1970, was one such publication.
Its editor, Mary Westwood – who would go on to become one of fashion’s most important designers – spoke of a “woman’s revolution” that she described as “the first real liberation of women”.
“The fashion industry has always been about women’s work and our work and the work of the women in it, and the way we work together in a company,” Westwood said.
“It’s about women getting to work together, the way they’re supposed to work, the kind of company they’re allowed to work in.
And the way in which they’re supported.”
The fashion world was a “women’s paradise” in the late 1960s, said the BBC.
The influential fashion magazine Vogue, which was founded in 1963, described the era as the “golden age of women’s fashion”.
“It was an era of women who wore skirts, women who danced, women wearing heels, women of colour, and women who had been given a chance,” said author Annabel Butler, author of the book Fashion for the 21st Century: A Woman’s History.
“This was the era of the suffragette, when women’s rights were very much at the forefront.
And then the women who were getting married and having children were the very first to come to fashion’s attention.”
And the women of the sixties were the first to be seen in the fashion industry, and that was when they really started to realise that they were a real part of the world, and were able to participate in fashion.
“In the mid-1970s, the women’s suffrage movement led to the passing of the Equal Pay Act, which made it legal for women to be paid less than men for the same work.
The changes, however, did not last long.
In 1978, the then-newly elected President Jimmy Carter signed the Omnibus Pay Reform Act into law, which mandated that men receive the same pay as women for equal work.
By 1979, the government was spending $5bn a year on welfare payments for low-income women, which included food stamps, rent subsidies and childcare.
In a piece for The Conversation, author Anne Campbell said:”As the women started to get a little bit more involved in the work that they did, they started to feel that they weren’t really doing it.
They were getting paid for work that had nothing to do with their work, and not doing it as a way of making money, but just as a part of being a part a women’s world.
“The end of the decade saw a huge shift in fashion.
Women became the majority of fashion designers, designers began to be recognised as more than just fashion models, and there was a growing movement to break down gender stereotypes in fashion, the BBC reported.
In 1983, Vivien Leigh founded the first-ever womens fashion magazine, Glamour, which is credited with bringing women into the fashion world.
But the magazine’s first issue in 1983 was a scathing attack on women’s role in the industry.”
We’ve seen that it’s a male-dominated industry,” Leigh said in the magazine.”
The men have become the producers, the designers, the owners, and they control the whole process of production.””
We have to get out of this cycle of male dominance, we’ve got to break the male-dominance pattern.
“The magazine’s founder, Julie Bindel, said she was inspired by a visit to a factory where she was working.”
I was there to see women working and not just men doing the work,” Bindel told the BBC at the time.”
There was a huge amount of fear.
I thought this is just an accident of life.
We are not the only ones affected.
“She went on to launch Glamorise, which went on the market in 1983.
The issue featured an image of a woman on a washing machine, alongside a quote by Gloria Steinem, which the magazine used to launch its campaign to end female-dominated fashion.”
Glamorises message continued to resonate.”
We are the ones who make the decisions.”
Glamorises message continued to resonate.
In 1990, Gertrude Stein, who had famously criticised men for their role in society, became