“I looked for secrets in white shapes, the precious nothing of wide margins, the white space no one notices between the lines and lies, behind the scenes & in my life” – Barbara Stauffacher Solomon
A true design and typography legend, Barbara Stauffacher Solomon is a San Francisco-based artist, graphic and landscape designer, and writer. She is perhaps best known for her interior Supergraphics of the 1960s Sea Ranch and her 1991 Ribbon of Light installation. Her unique design style mixes modernism, pop and cool – and now in her 80’s, she continues to create and inspire.
“In order to be irreplaceable, one must always be different” – Coco Chanel
The first and last name in fashion, French designer and businesswoman Coco was the founder and namesake of the Chanel brand. Her iconic styles broke free from the constraints of the ‘corseted silhouette’ of the post-World War One era and redefined style through her sporty, casual-chic aesthetic. As much of a legend today as at the height of her work, she is infamous for her lifelong determination, ambition, and energy.
“My motto is ‘forever forward’ and it’s about putting that work in. Being a work in progress and doing the work to actually progress” – Piera Gelardi
Co-founder and executive creative director of online fashion and lifestyle magazine Refinery29, Piera Gelardi has redefined what it means to work hard and lead in the digital age. She jokes that she started her company in 2005, having only one internship and one job on her resume, but famed for her determination, creativity and drive, she’s one to watch in 2018 and beyond.
“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much” – Helen Keller
Author, political activist and lecturer, we don’t even know where to start with this one! After overcoming substantial difficulty, Helen became the first deaf-blind person to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree. Her incredible legacy, documented in the film The Miracle Worker, continues to be a source of inspiration for many, as Helen broke through the isolation imposed on her by a near complete lack of language with the support of her teacher, Anne Sullivan. Empowered by communication, Keller proved that deaf people could survive, flourish and lead in the hearing world.
“I believe in the beauty of work when we do it properly and in humility” – Steve Shirley
Stephanie Shirley arrived in the UK aged five as a Kindertransport child refugee, and after being reunited with her parents, completed school but chose not to go to University, with the only subject available to women at the time being science. Instead, she forged her own career, building computers and coding, before forming Freelance Programmers in 1962 to create opportunities for women in tech. To create an even playing field for her and her business, she infamously went by ‘Steve’ to better position herself as a strong female role model carving a niche in (what was at the time) a man’s world.
Who are your favourite feminist icons? Let us know in the comments below – they could be modern day or from history, techies or creatives, industry leaders or revolutionaries – we’d love to hear their stories and yours.