I’sha Dunston, the founder of Izayla, is inspired by Diane von Furstenburg, Tory Burch, and Aurora James. These three women designers and entrepreneurs embody empowerment and resiliency. I’sha was moved & inspired by Furstenburg and Burch when she first started designing as an undergraduate student. She loved how both women stood for empowering women and how intricate, colorful and unique their designs were. Aurora James is a shapeshifter and a voice for the people. She advocates for underrepresented Black designers while creating and sustaining artisanal jobs across the globe. All three are powerful and continue to inspire women to empower one another, including us at Izayla.
Diane von Furstenburg
One of the most prolific fashion designers of the 20th century, Diane von Furstenburg, remains a force to be reckoned with. Furstenburg, a Belgian immigrant and the daughter of a Holocaust survivor, was taught that “fear is never an option.” After graduating from the University of Geneva with an undergraduate degree in economics, Furstenburg worked in Paris and Italy gaining valuable fashion knowledge. At 26 years old, Diane von Furstenburg invented the famous wrap dress for women to wear at work. The wrap dress became an empowering symbol of liberation for women of the 1970s. Furstenburg is still empowering women to be in charge and her brand DVF has remained strong in 2022.
Tory Burch is the founder, designer, and executive chairman of the Tory Burch brand. As stated on the brand's website, “Giving back and supporting other women was part of the plan when Tory started the company. In 2009, she established the Tory Burch Foundation to advance women’s empowerment and entrepreneurship by providing access to capital, education and digital resources, and tackling stereotypes that hold women back.” The American Luxury Womenswear Brand is clear on its mission. The mission to advance women’s empowerment through entrepreneurship, fashion, and community is shared with Izayla.
Aurora James is the creative director and founder of the luxury accessories brand, Brother Vellies. The handmade brand was founded in 2013 with the goal of keeping traditional African design practices and techniques alive. James is also the founder of The Fifteen Percent Pledge. The Fifteen Percent Pledge is an initiative that urges retail giants to commit 15% of their shelf space to Black-owned businesses. Over 28 retailers have taken the pledge and actionable steps, resulting in over $10B of revenue for Black-owned businesses.