In this season of gratitude and appreciation, Collaborate to Win would like to celebrate the many inspiring women who have served as role models from the very start of our industry.
As a matter of fact, the first official interior designer was a woman: Dorothy Draper.
Born into a privileged family in 1889, Dorothy was a trail blazer and a true inspiration. Not only was she the first person — male or female — to establish an interior design company in the United States (thereby “professionalizing” the industry), but she opened her business, Dorothy Draper & Company, in 1923.
That was only three years after women in this country had won the right to vote! The extraordinary talent and legacy of this revolutionary designer still lives on today — in her fabric, wallcovering, and furniture lines.
A few more recent female interior designers stand out as leaders who have conquered the design industry and become household names, while making it all look easy.
Barbara Barry is one such “rock star” designer. Barbara founded her design firm in Los Angeles in 1985, and, according to her website, it has since “grown to international renown and her interiors and product design are celebrated through partnerships that include furniture, lighting, textiles, bedding, carpets, crystal, plumbing and tile.”
If we are talking top household names, we have to give Bunny Williams a spotlight! Bunny established her design firm in 1988.
“A trailblazer and a tastemaker, Williams style is classic, but never predictable,” says her Wikipedia page. For three decades, Bunny Williams has built a legacy and lifted up other women designers by mentoring the next generation.
There are so many inspiring women in interior design that it would be difficult to name them all, but I would be remiss if I didn’t at least list of few of my current favorites: Candice Olson, Tobi Fairley, Libby Langdon, Sarah Richardson . . . and so many more.
I am excited to see the next generation of up-and-coming interior designers continue the tradition of making the world a more beautiful place and inspiring the next group of girls to follow in their footsteps. Cheers to all who inspire us!