Five Female-Founded Brands to Know at Maze

In honour of International Women's Day, we’re shining a light on five of the extraordinary women behind our favourite brands. These are the female-helmed labels that inspire the way we dress and celebrate the finest in craftsmanship. We're honoured to work with these wonderful women season after season.

Emma Francois SessunEstablished by Emma Francois in 1998, Sessun brings a feminine touch to ethical fashion. Taking care to create garments that are as beautiful as they are mindful of their impact on the world, Sessun has become a pillar of the French fashion scene and a firm favourite at Maze.

Twenty-six years on from the introduction of the brand and Emma François remains as committed to her original vision as she was on day one. Her collections, inspired by travel and culture, draw upon the skills of artisans and small-scale producers, to foster fair labour practices and support local economies. Traditional production is prioritised, with low-impact materials like OEKO-TEX certified cotton, muelsing-free merino wool, vegetable-tanned leather, and fabric made from recycled plastic bottles are firm favourites with the brand. Each component is entrusted to artisans around the world who are masters of their craft, from Portuguese leatherwork to Tunisian denim, Indian embroidery, or Japanese lace. The result is a considered, eco-conscious collection steeped in love and tradition. We adore the romantic designs and flattering, feminine silhouettes. 

Louise Markey

Australian-born designer Louise Markey was set on a creative career from a young age. From beginnings in Sydney, Louise followed her passion to London via Paris to study at Central Saint Martins — a crucial springboard to launching her first brand, LF Markey, much-loved by the creative crowd for its brightly-coloured, utility-inspired garments. 

With her eponymous brand up and running, Louise followed LF Markey's success with the addition of Meadows — a dreamier sister brand that draws upon Victoriana, prairie-style, and folklore.

Like all the designers we love, Louise is committed to slow fashion and has made a it long term aim to source sustainable fabrics for her brands, prioritising ethical manufacturing, fair working conditions and living wages. Those ethics, combined with her unique and individual designs have gained Louise Markey a loyal following because they feel so very genuine, each in their own special way.

Ellen Brookes Sideline

Designed in the UK by Ellen Brooks, Sideline is committed to producing good quality, well designed clothing in a way that is considerate to the planet. The brand only uses waterless ozone washing on all their denim and cottons, and eliminates all single use plastic from their packaging. This is a brand that puts thoughtful design and subtle, understated detail front and centre – relaxed, feminine clothing that feels really special.

The collections are designed to be worn, returned to, and loved again and again – the antithesis of faddy, throwaway clothing, which we explored in an interview with the designer. Ellen's background in casual-wear design and trend consultancy mean she is an expert in designing clothes that last and have integrity. Guaranteed to garner compliments whenever you're wearing them!

Kate Sheridan

Firmly rooted in East London – a area with a rich history of small scale manufacturing business – Kate Sheridan stands as a testament to the power of craftsmanship, creativity, and female entrepreneurship. Her contemporary leather goods and clothing are the perfect blend of functional modern aesthetics, contemporary design and ethical production practices.

This is a brand for whom craftsmanship is key, and we love that Kate bucks the trend of over consumption and mass produced products. Creating pieces that endure beyond the season and last for generations, Kate Sheridan is a proud supporter of British Manufacturing, with the entirety of the collections made in England. By prioritising transparency and traceability throughout the supply chain, Kate Sheridan ensures that each piece is made with care and integrity, from start to finish.

Kate's designs are driven by a love of traditional manufacturing processes as well as an appreciation for high quality beautiful materials like ecological vegetable tanned leathers which improve with age, taking on their own patina and personality. As Jenny Garcia writes in our journal, a Kate Sheridan bag really is a bag for life.

Caroline Kent Scribble & Daub

In the age of instant messaging, Caroline Kent stakes a claim for the beauty of the handwritten card with Scribble & Daub – a collection of very beautiful, whimsical, hand-painted designs. Traditionally letter-pressed, Caroline's original dip pen and ink illustrations are little works of art, individually hand-painted in the studio with Andy Warhol’s favourite brightly coloured inks.

Previously a curator of contemporary art, Caroline founded Scribble & Daub in 2012 and has since created illustrations for international luxury fashion, beauty and lifestyle brands, and collaborated on collections with two of Britain’s most famous and beautiful gardens, Charleston House & Great Dixter. This is a producer who really cares about her craft, and the passion Caroline has for her work shines through each of her joyful designs. Tactile treasures that encourage the art of letter writing - we're big fans.


While we believe that all founders, regardless of gender, deserve to be celebrated and supported all year round, women's work is too easily overlooked and underserved, so today, International Women’s Day, join us in championing the female founders making waves. 

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