'Blazers for Trailblazers' Project Backs Women-Led Startups
Late this summer, French fashion brand ba&sh launched "Blazers for Trailblazers," a limited-edition campaign where blazers were designed and created alongside woman entrepreneurs in the U.S., France and China.
"Blazers for Trailblazers," created by BETC Paris, builds on ba&sh's "Born Collective" platform. It stems from the insight that only 3 percent of startup investment goes to female founders, and it's found a clever way to address that divide … at least for a handful of entrepreneurs.
Four blazers were created in total, and are named for the women who inspire them:
- Emna Everard, founder of Kazidomi, a clean-living e-commerce startup in France.
- Chloé Hemmary, founder of Ada Tech School, a coding academy in France that's designed with women in mind, but open to anyone.
- Candace Reels, founder of Female Collective in the U.S., which brings women together in a mission-driven networking environment.
- Yemeng Li, founder of the Shanghai Yuxuan Cultural and Creative Company in China. This group uses art to inspire sustainable living.
"Trailers for Trailblazers" doesn't veer far from ba&sh's own brand story. The company is named for its founders, Barbara Boccara and Sharon Krief (the name uses the two first letters of their first names), who created the brand in 2003 in hopes of bringing women lasting wardrobe standards for practical living. At the time, the effort was supported by Dan Arrouas and the Vog Group; since then it's received funding support from L Catterton, LVMH and the Arnault Group.
In 2015, Pierre-Arnaud Grenade became the company's CEO, in hopes of giving it an omniplatform positioning. Ba&sh is now available in over 280 points of sale across 15 countries.
"Ba&sh has always been about supporting the autonomy and empowerment of women," says Grenade. "Because work is a powerful vector of emancipation, ba&sh fervently supports female entrepreneurialism and is committed to expressing that through our new dedicated program. It's already pulverized its own glass ceiling: Women at ba&sh compose 75 percent of leadership roles and represent over 85 percent within the enterprise at large."
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Candace's blazer goes for $435, Chloé's costs $395, and Emna's is $425 (we unfortunately couldn't find pricing information for Yemeng's). Each is available as a limited series everywhere ba&sh items are sold in the U.S., France and China; all sales go back to the startups. Ba&sh will also provide each participating entrepreneur with a separate bonus.
In an interview with Muse, BETC Paris managing director Anne-Laure Brunner shared her insights from the campaign.
Muse: What's the ba&sh story to you?
Anne-Laure Brunner: We pitched the brand earlier this year. They were looking for an agency that would help them articulate how different a fashion brand they were.
We came in with the line "Born Collective," as they were founded by two best friends, and despite having grown tremendously, they always refer to themselves as a family. They have also always tried to be a positive force in the greater fashion collective, pushing for sustainable sourcing, rental options, secondhand shopping, etc.
What was the brief? What led you to the insight?
In the wake of the launch of the "Born Collective" platform, and founded by two female entrepreneurs, the brand wanted to "pay it forward" to the next generation of female entrepreneurs.
Upon reading documentation on female entrepreneurships, we came across this terrible figure that only 3 percent of investments go to female-founded ventures. And we thought: Well, only 97 percent to go!
Interestingly enough, the blazer is both a staple of the ba&sh vestiaire and a very iconic piece of clothing to any woman meaning business. That's how the idea of "Blazers for Trailblazers" came to be: renaming blazers from the collection after female entrepreneurs, and giving them all the profits from the sale of their namesake blazers.
Who is this work for?
For any woman that wants to support women. And dress nicely along the way.
Why do you think it matters?
This initiative matters because the brand is committed to running it long-term. Which means that each year, we will change the fortunes of more and more young female entrepreneurs.
What made BETC want to take this on?
BETC Paris is its own kind of female collective, housing amazing female talent, in proportions unmatched in the industry. I find it only natural that we collaborate and bring our creativity to brands like ba&sh, who want to create a better world for women.
Check out the other brand videos below.