VOICES is an annual gathering of fashion leaders and entrepreneurs with visionaries from fields as diverse as science, technology, health and wellness, food, politics, arts, philosophy, and philanthropy. Guest and speakers of VOICES 2017 were invited to take part in one of five salons where they had the freedom to debate burning issues, such as the fashion industry’s need to embrace the circular economy – to go green for the sake of the Earth’s wellbeing.
One of the salon stages of VOICES was hosted by Karlie Kloss – a model and founder of a free coding summer camp for girls aged 13 to 18 – “Kode with Klossy”. This programme happened to be her own way to empower girls. Teaching them to code helps these girls to potentially become future leaders in the tech field. The salon tackled the question: what can fashion do to empower girls?
Karlie Kloss spoke about her vision: “Knowledge is power and it’s empowering for young women, it can change the way that girls think about themselves and [what they think] they are capable of, but confidence is key”.
It is well-known that girls have fewer opportunities than boys in many countries. Тhere are 32 million girls around the world who should be in middle school but aren’t due to discrimination or poverty. Also, women are treated differently in many companies. For example, in Germany and USA it is a common practice for a woman to be paid much less than a man for the same job.
But how exactly can fashion companies handle that problem? One of the possible solutions is to encourage more companies to empower young women by creating peer-to-peer networks of girls and boys where they are able to face different challenges together, learning to lose and win. Another idea is to create supportive communities for young ladies where they will learn to embrace the idea that girls can also make everything they want happen. As a start, fashion companies could communicate more empowering messages to young women through editorial content, brand messaging or even models like Karlie Kloss, who became role models for many girls.
The main idea is: rather than changing the world to support girls, support girls so they can change the world.