For this year’s Women’s History Month, our #IShapeMyWorld campaign celebrates women who are game-changers, rule-breakers and risk-takers. We teamed up with Girlgaze, an L.A.-based company that generates work for female photographers and directors, to create four short documentary films about women who have stepped up and made a difference in their communities and the world at large.
All four films debuted in New York City on International Women’s Day (March 8, 2018) and will be available here on “Off The Cuff” over the next week.
Founded to give women a community and platform to be hired for their behind-the-camera talents, Girlgaze was the perfect partner for the #IShapeMyWorld campaign. We sat down with Girlgaze founder, Amanda de Cadenet, for an interview about the project, the role of women in the fashion industry, how the #girlgaze movement started and more.
Can you describe what #girlgaze is and what inspired you to launch it?
I’ve witnessed first-hand the gender imbalance within the photography industry for many years, although what actually inspired me to start Girlgaze was reading an article in the “New York Times” that addressed the disproportionate number of men to women working as film directors. I thought, “Why is no one doing or saying anything about this within the photography industry?” That was when I knew I had to take action and came up with the hashtag #girlgaze.
It started as a call to action, a competition, where female photographers could submit their work on Instagram using the hashtag, and the winner would get to do an editorial shoot for “Teen Vogue.” We didn’t realize how many submissions we’d get. In just six months, there were over one million, and now we’re up to something like three million images submitted. We received so many submissions that we ended up needing more than just that story in “Teen Vogue” to recognize this work, so we ended up curating the entire September issue, which was the first time an entire issue had been created by girls, for girls.
Then we went on to create the #girlgaze book, hosted several exhibitions, a short film competition, as well as countless partnerships with international brands. What started as a call to action has continued to evolve in ways we could’ve never imagined.
What do you want to come out of Girlgaze?
Our mission is to close the gender gap by providing paid jobs for our creative community. We’ve created partnerships with some incredible international brands, which have allowed us to provide jobs to over 150 female creatives.
“Our mission is to close the gender gap by providing paid jobs for our creative community. ”
Can you describe the collaboration between Girlgaze and Levi’s® for the #IShapeMyWorld campaign?
Both Levi’s® and Girlgaze want to showcase women who have shaped their own world; these films tell a unique story of how each woman has stood up in a time of adversity and inspired other people to stand with them. Each of these films is directed by a talented Girlgaze community member and also helps shift the perspective we’re used to seeing in mainstream media.
How did you find the directors who were chosen for this project?
We’re lucky to have so many unbelievably talented female-identifying filmmakers in the Girlgaze network. We always look for girls who want to take their work to the next level and who are active in the community. Most of the directors we considered have been working with us since the beginning, and we did a deep dive to find the right directors whose films we felt would embody the spirit of this project.
Where do you hope to see the world of fashion going vis-à-vis having more women in decision-making positions?
My hope is that we begin to include a broader range of people in senior positions. I don’t necessarily believe that this is up to women in decision-making positions, it’s up to everyone. We are all responsible to be inclusive of all identities. No one should have to struggle to find fashion that makes them feel comfortable and confident. Girlgaze is leading by example and encouraging brands to change their perspective on what their customer-base looks like today. We are in a pivotal time and if you are not changing with us, you are being left behind.
We’ll be bringing you more insightful conversations with the directors of the four #IShapeMyWorld films over the next week as we release each highly-anticipated short. We’re proud to support the women who work in creative fields. We understand the tremendous amount of work that happens behind-the-scenes to take any creative endeavor from concept to delivery, and we are excited to see more women taking on ambitious leadership roles.
Here’s a preview of what’s to come.