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    As International Women’s Day (IWD) approaches, Square One is excited to celebrate the remarkable achievements of women around the world. This year’s IWD campaign theme, “Inspire Inclusion,” calls on us to collectively foster a more inclusive world for women to create a sense of belonging, relevance and empowerment.

    One way to do this is by supporting women-owned and operated brands to help forge economic empowerment. From makeup and skincare to clothing and lifestyle products, there are plenty of incredible brands helmed by female entrepreneurs that are worth supporting during International Women’s Day and beyond.

    To help keep track of your fave women-owned and operated brands, check out our search engine, StyList. All you have to do is make a StyList account, search for your fave products from female-owned brands at Square One and save them to a singular wishlist for future shopping reference or to share with your loved ones.

    Read on to learn more about women-owned and operated brands that deserve your attention and support this IWD and beyond.

    Shop female-led brands

    Move Female Fashion Forward


    As the fashion industry continues to be dominated by men, it’s now more important than ever to support female designers. After all, it shouldn’t only be males influencing what women should wear. And while only a few luxury fashion houses have women at the helm (Maria Grazia Chiuri at Dior and Miuccia Prada at Prada for example), there are still plenty of other women-led fashion brands that are making waves in the industry.

    At Holt Renfrew, you can find many women-owned fashion labels, including Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen’s brand The Row, which has become known for its unique interpretation of everyday, timeless staples, Kim Kardashian’s SKIMS, which has set the bar for making shapewear more accessible to all skin tones and body types, and Simone Rocha’s eponymous label, which has become wildly popular with fashion girlies thanks to its feminine, romantic and high-fashion silhouettes.

    Other female-owned brands at Square One include Kate Spade, the beloved fashion brand started by the late designer Kate Spade, and whose handbags and accessories are now designed by Jennifer Lyu. Tory Burch, the trendy women’s fashion label named after its founder and creative director that’s known for its American, bohemian-preppy sportswear. Plus, Oak + Fort, the Vancouver-based fashion retailer founded by Min Kang and led by a female executive team that offers contemporary styles at affordable prices.

    A woman wearing a cream coloured dress and purse

    Tory Burch

    Oak + Fort

    Oak + Fort

    Makeup Mavens

    A woman wearing makeup

    Cheekbone Beauty at Sephora

    A close up shot of a woman's lips and a tube of lipstick

    Tower 28 at Sephora

    When it comes to the beauty industry, there is an abundance of women-founded brands that have revolutionized the way we approach cosmetics. Rea Ann Silva’s BEAUTYBLENDER single-handedly changed how we apply makeup, while Rihanna’s Fenty Beauty set new standards of inclusivity when it came to shade ranges. In the clean beauty space, Amy Liu’s Tower28 is one of very few brands designed for sensitive skin (and the only beauty brand to earn the National Eczema Association’s Seal of Acceptance), while Kosas founder Sheena Zadeh-Daly has proven that high-performing makeup that is actually good for your skin is possible. Then there’s Jen Harper’s Cheekbone Beauty, the very first Indigenous-owned and founded cosmetics company which is helping to create a space in the beauty industry where everyone, including Indigenous people, feel represented and seen. Find all these brands and more at Sephora.

    Skin Saviours

    If you look at your skincare closet, chances are your holy grail products are ones created by women. Take the celeb fave Tatcha Dewy Skin cream (available at Sephora), for example, which was created by founder Vicky Tsai who aims to marry Kyoto’s age-old beauty rituals with modern skincare tech. There’s also the TikTok viral Sol de Janeiro Brazilian Bum Bum Cream (available at Sephora), created by Heela Yang, Dr. Barbara Sturm’s highly coveted Glow Drops (available at Holt Renfrew and Hudson’s Bay) and Drunk Elephant’s innovative Beste No. 9 Jelly Cleanser (available at Sephora) from founder Tiffany Masterson.

    Two white bottles and some red fruit

    Dr. Barbara Sturm at Holt Renfrew

    Tatcha at Sephora

    Tatcha at Sephora

    Leaders in Lifestyle

    A layout of books


    Various makeup powder cases and lipstick tubes

    Sukoshi Mart

    In the lifestyle space, there are several women who have made great strides in creating brands and businesses to make everyday life better. For instance, Canadian founder and CEO of Indigo, Heather Reisman, reinvented book selling by transforming itself into a “cultural department store,” filled with lifestyle goods, while Canadian serial entrepreneur Linda Dang has brought everything exciting in the world of Asian beauty and lifestyle to the masses with her store, Sukoshi Mart.

    Shop Local Love

    While showing your support for women-founded brands, don’t forget to show some love for local makers, too! By shopping locally, you’re helping foster economic growth in your community. Some local women vendors at Square One include Blossom Moments, a one-stop shop for gorgeous bouquets and BRØD by Danish Pastry House, which offers a variety of authentic Danish baked goods and coffee.

    A bouquet of flowers

    Blossom Moments

    BRØD by Danish Pastry House

    BRØD by Danish Pastry House

    With so many incredible women-owned brands, there are plenty of ways to inspire inclusion through your shopping choices. By consciously supporting these female-owned and operated brands, you’re contributing to an inclusive and empowered community not only during International Women’s Day, but also year-round.

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