Wild Feminist. Girl Boss. Nasty Woman.
These are the political (and, recently, fashionable) battle cries of women on the left – and now, female entrepreneurs capitalizing on a climate of mobilization and the tendency of millennials to wear their causes on their sleeves.
Portland, Ore.-based tomboy-chic brand Wildfang was founded in 2012 with a feminist ethos, but in the aftermath of the election, its clothes have found a wider audience. On Wednesday, it launched their second line of ‘Wild Feminist’-branded apparel, Wildfang told Women@Forbes exclusively.
Its ‘Wild Feminist’ line of goods includes everything from t-shirts and hats to coffee mugs and bomber jackets branded with ‘Wild Feminist’ logo, sold for between $12 and $88 was their bestselling ever, according to founder Emma McIlroy who formerly worked at Nike.
Wild Fang’s Wild Feminist T-shirts were sold on instant pick up for the Women’s March on Washington in January.
“Fashion is playing catchup to society,” said McIlroy, who inncorporated Wildfang in 2012, in part to fill a gap in the market for clothing appealing to people all along the gender spectrum. Now doing millions of dollars in annual sales, it has expanded from one local flagship to an e-commerce operation with a second brick-and-mortar location also in Portland. McIlroy says that the size of the business is doubling every year.
“I believed that this needed to exist and I wanted it done right.”
McIlroy sees her role as a young, queer Irish entrepreneur as inherently political. Wildfang’s biggest sales days have also centered on political flash points such as the election of Donald Trump, the Women’s March On Washington and their #DressLikeAWoman campaign. (Wildfang offered 2-hour delivery for a ‘Wild Feminist’ apparel in New York and San Francisco in anticipation.)
“We weren’t sure if there was a reason for us to exist,” said McIlroy of the day after Trump’s election. Still, its two biggest sales days in history followed November 8th, with four times the volume of online sales, despite no marketing beyond a letter to their listserv.