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How Karen Millen is empowering its team of women – Drapers

4 April 2023
Premium womenswear brand Karen Millen is on a mission to shine the spotlight on its female workers with the launch of a monthly video series that showcases influential women from the fashion industry. Natasha Hackett, brand director, discusses how these profiles will celebrate their wins and achievements.
A brand for career women over many decades, Karen Millen has been known for its tailoring and workwear offerings since its inception over 40 years ago. Continuing this momentum, we have continued to champion these styles, cementing our position as the go-to destination for working, empowered women.
With career women one of our most engaged audiences (over 50% of our customer base are career women), we wish to serve them more than just clothes. With this in mind, Karen Millen is proud to be introducing a new monthly series surrounding strong, influential women – KM Power Women [featuring external women with a fashion background]. With a focus on the real person behind the scenes, the females featured will come from a range of backgrounds, with their occupations varying [the occupations are under embargo until the launch of each interview].
This series [which started on International Women’s Day – 8th March 2023] is set to explore the personality – and strength – behind these, strong female forces. Each month will have its own theme [including being assertive in a male dominated industry; how to become your best self; founding your own business] tailored to the woman at the centre. The Karen Millen brand team will explore their story, who they are and where their power comes from.
Natasha Hackett, brand director
Harriet Geoghegan, communications manager
Elise Lorenzo, influencer executive
Amy Priestley, senior social media manager
Ruby Cox, social media executive
Maria Loizou, copy & content manager
Alba Andres-Shaw, copywriter
Sally Davies, head of creative
Chloe Leigh, senior creative
Jacob Jones, mid-weight graphic designer
Ella Davidson, junior graphic designer
Naturally, fashion will serve as an underlying thread, but will not be the focus, as we seek to collaborate with figures that represent the brand in both style and substance.
The first Power Woman discussion which launched on International Women’s Day, was Carol Kane, the co-founder of Boohoo, [fast-fashion etailer Boohoo acquired the online business and IP rights of Karen Millen along with Coast in August 2019] with the theme of embracing equity. Carol discussed the highlights of her career, her biggest challenges, and her views on female representation in the industry. She delved into situations where she felt she may have been negatively impacted as a female and how she combatted those situations.
Within the [wider] group [Boohoo Group] we’re proud that 47% of our workforce is female, and 37% of our directors are female. [The company is tackling the gender pay gap and released its 2022/23 gender pay gap report earlier this year. It revealed that women earn £1.02 for every £1 that men earn when comparing median hourly pay. Their median hourly pay is 2.2% higher than men’s. This compares with the group’s 2021/22 report where women’s median hourly pay was 0.9% higher than men’s.]

The company offers opportunities for staff to get involved and inspire one another. Our regular staff engagement programme around diversity and inclusion encourages employees across the business to spend time with some of the women in senior leadership, asking them questions about their career.
An example of this would be a recent podcast with Simone Roche MBE, founder of Northern Power Women, a community of 95,000 individuals and organisations who are combatting gender equality, who sat down with our co-founder Kane to discuss her career journey, with nine of our younger team members invited to join the audience and ask questions. In the past we have also held intimate round tables with heads of departments across the group, where junior team members could attend and pick the brains of those successful women in their career positions, inspiring and encouraging staff across the board.
We hope the women listening [to the video series] will feel empowered to hear our experts discussing the ongoing challenges females face daily when it comes to their careers. We want to cover common challenges that women in business have faced, be it sexism, upskilling with new technologies, confidence, mental health. Further topics in the line-up include discussions around assertiveness in male dominated industries, the ever-evolving topic of wellness, and the fashion industry as a whole.
This is such an important launch for Karen Millen. With such a strong brand identity for women’s workwear at our core, we feel its Karen Millen’s duty to have these conversations internally and ensure the content we are putting out to the world is reflective of this. We want to be challenging industry norms and highlighting important factors for women in business.
 
Tagscareers culture diversity Karen Millen womenswear workplace
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