Emma Watson Grills Fashion Designers On Feminism & Gender Equality


In September 2014 British actress Emma Watson became known for something other than her iconic role as Hermione Granger in the ‘Harry Potter’ films. She launched a campaign under UN Women called ‘He For She‘ which is a solidarity movement aimed at mobilizing men to become advocates of gender equality and allies of women.

Her speech went viral, and has been influencing people all over the world, including politicians and everyday activists to take up the gender equality mantle.

As the campaign continues to extend its reach across the globe, He For She continues to challenge the areas where gender equality is still sorely needed.

British Vogue recently featured Emma on their cover of their September issue, and teamed up with her to discuss feminism and gender equality in the fashion world. While fashion is generally seen as an industry that is very female-dominated and “woman friendly”, there are still many areas it could improve when it comes to diversity in inclusivity.

You might be interested to know that at the very top of the fashion world, the majority of brands, conglomerates and companies that control the industry and essentially everything we wear are owned mostly by men. So how does this affect the way the industry promotes gender equality? The majority of these corporate heads may not have an effect on day-to-day issues involving the brands we wear, it is more likely the designers, magazine heads, and fashion spokespeople that influence the way consumers see the industry.

So Emma Watson asked 4 fashion designers their thoughts on this issue: Stella McCartney, Jonathan Saunders, Erdem Moralioglu and Bella Freud.


“I want to get this dialog, this conversation happening specifically within the fashion industry to ask the leading voices about gender equality,” says Emma in the video.

The first question asked was “are you a feminist?”

Jonthan Saunders answers “100% feminist.” Erdem Moralioglu said: “The idea that men and women should be, on every level, treated equally, so in that sense, yes.”

Emma asked the group what are the biggest challenges facing women in fashion today. The answer both women gave was interesting, as this specific topic is starting to become more of an issue worldwide: parental leave.

“It’s not only our industry its every industry. There’s a massive issue with women not having equality. We need to allow for maternity and paternity leave,” said Stella McCartney.

“The real thing about equality between men and women is about fair pay. I think there should be better maternity leave for men as well as women and that would make it less of a thing you do as a woman because somehow women aren’t really serious about their work which is an incredibly unfair and warped approach,” said Bella Freud.


Jonathan Saunders makes a great point that fashion is often seen as a very liberal environment where there is assumed equality, which makes it easy for issues of inequality to continue to prevail or not get noticed.

The fashion industry has been called into account on many occasions when it comes to body image standards and beauty standards for women, and while this may seem like something only affecting females, it plays a huge role in advancing or regressing gender equality. If women are also allowed to feel empowered the way men are, imagine the difference it would make in the trickle-down effect.

“We need to give a better message to women of all ages, all sizes and all nationalities. We need to allow women to feel comfortable in who they are,” said Stella, who added that the fashion industry has a great platform and voice to be able to make a change.

It’s awesome to see Emma, and these designers use their elevated voice for a purpose. It is something we really admire in Emma, a young girl who could’ve easily gone the way of all young starlets who experience fame from such a young age, but instead she chose the path of inspiration.


In her Vogue UK interview for same edition, she talks about how the He For She campaign was the very thing that brought purpose back into her life after finishing Harry Potter and figuring out what she wanted to do next.

“Part of me relaxed after I took on that position, it gave me a sense of belonging and purpose. Everything clicked in to place, in a way that it hadn’t before. I understood what I’m here to do and knew where to channel all this energy that has been coming at me. I now feel this sense of peace. People say that I’m different since I did it,” she said about her role as Goodwill Ambassador.

Gender equality is one of the biggest global fights of our time, and harnessing the power of celebrities and influential people is a great way to mobilize all of us to get involved. Here’s hoping the fashion industry can be more aware of the effect it has on women and be a leader for change.

Take a look at the full British Vogue video below:

One Comment

  1. Pingback: Emma Watson Interviewed Malala About Her Film, Her Father, & Her Thoughts On Feminism

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