This month March, celebrating Women’s History has given us at SKYLENCE much food for thought. We are proud to be a brand designed by women for women, constructing garments that aren’t just pretty but that seek to empower the women who wear them to tackle any of the obstacles of modern life. The inspiration for our designs often comes from looking to the past of Imperial China, and thus recently we have been looking to the past of women for inspiration as well.
As a brand that prides itself on seeking inspiration from our Chinese heritage, the extraordinary Empress Wu Zetian had to be first on our list. Hailing from the Tang Dynasty (618-907AD), she was the only woman to ever single-handedly rule China, being a figure of incredible strength of character and intelligence.
First starting as a lowly concubine to Emperor Taizong, she fell in love with his son and earned a place in the court of the Imperial Palace once Li Zhi became Emperor. Within court, she gained power and influence over Li Zhi, truly embodying the saying ‘behind every great man, there is a great woman’. After her husband’s death, she declared herself Empress and renamed the dynasty ‘Zhou’, continuing in great success to unify China and expand China’s empire considerably. Against all odds, this woman rose from being a lowly concubine to being one of the most powerful women in history. SKYLENCE clothes are made with this inspiration in mind - that once on, the SKYLENCE woman can take on any battle in her way. (To learn more about this incredible woman, watch the 1963 film ‘Empress Wu Tse-Tien’)
A further inspiring woman was the early 20th century suffragette Emmeline Pankhurst, who campaigned successfully for the women’s right to vote in the United Kingdom.
Founding the Women’s Social and Political Union in 1903, Pankhurst and her daughters, along with other suffragettes, campaigned hard for the vote - often ending in imprisonment, where they continued in protest with hunger strikes. Emmeline pioneered the movement and following the end of the First World War, her protests were paramount to the passing of the Representation of the People Act in 1918 which gave voting rights to women over 30, with equal voting rights with men to follow in the next decade. This inspirational woman embodies the qualities SKYLENCE was built on - compassion, commitment and tenacity. (To learn more about the battle for suffrage, watch the 2015 film, ‘Suffragette’, featuring Meryl Streep and Helena Bonham-Carter.)
Our final two inspirational women were simply children when they started changing the world for the better. Malala Yousafzai campaigned for girl’s rights to education under the extremist Taliban rule in her home of the Swat Valley, Pakistan. When they threatened to kill her, she continued to go to school, when the Taliban shot her in the face out of the retaliation, she survived and continued to fight for women’s right to education. Her story inspired millions of girls across the world to value their education and pushed world leaders to do more to support girl-learning. She deservedly is the youngest Nobel Peace Prize Laureate in history. A contemporary of Malala is the unshakeable 17-year-old Swedish climate activist, Greta Thunberg. Greta has brought world leaders to shame over the ever worsening impact of climate change and global warming caused by pollution. Her powerful speeches inspired young people across the globe to unite and strike for changes to be made. The battle for a cleaner planet is ongoing and Greta Thunberg continues to lead the charge. In recognition of the extraordinary efforts, Time Magazine named her ‘Person of the Year’ for 2019. Greta and Malala have inspired us at SKYLENCE to make sure our clothes are as sustainable as possible and to keep on promoting women’s (social) entrepreneurship.
(To find out more about these incredible women, read Malala’s ‘I am Malala: The Story of the Girl Who Stood Up for Education and was Shot by the Taliban’ and TIME magazines 2019 article on Greta Thunberg, readily available online.)
At SKYLENCE, we are in awe of the amazing things women can and have achieved. We make our clothes so that any women can feel empowered to take on any challenge or obstacle of modern life.