March 8, 2016

GRLPWRGANG, the new all-female collective, is raw, honest and fearless. Hosting a range of talks and events about girls, for girls, the collective is all about self-empowerment and lending a sister a hand. Founded by Vice Fashion Editor at large Kylie Griffiths and Kirsti Hadley of Kirsti International, GRLPWRGANG is made up of British female creatives with a desire to alter perceptions and raise awareness of women’s issues. To celebrate International Women’s Day, and the official launch of GRLPWRGANG, we caught up with Kylie Griffiths and Kirsti to find out more.

UO: Can you tell us a bit about how the concept for GRLPWR came about?

We were away on a work trip in Sweden when we started chatting about how amazing it would be to tell your younger self everything you know now. We felt there was a real gap for places women can go to support each other in their creative endeavors. We’re both freelancers, which can be quite lonely, so we wanted to create a space where women could come together and network. It was important for us to show younger girls that having a creative career is viable. We started talking to women about getting involved, everyone said yes and it has snowballed really quickly. It just goes to show there are so many amazing creative women out there who want to make changes for the next generation of girls.

UO: How would you describe the ethos of GRLPWR in three words?

Kylie: Supportive, inclusive, kind

Kirsti: Girls helping girls

UO: What does GRLPWR mean to you?

Kylie: Supporting other women in whatever they do, and being proud of other women’s achievements.

Kirsti: It means being a part of something bigger than yourself. The only way we’ll achieve great change is to work together instead of competing against one another. Saying that, we want to find ways down the line that extend those opportunities to the boys too. I’m a mum to a four-year-old boy and I’m 100% bringing him up as a feminist.

UO: How do you think social media has altered the way in which girls can creatively express themselves?

Kylie: It’s given women the means to promote themselves and their work – if you want to show the world what you do, you can pop it on Instagram or Twitter rather than being reliant on more traditional promotion such as through print magazines. Social media has allowed girls to express themselves more easily and to a wider audience.

Kirsti: It’s so amazing because girls can put themselves and their work, right out there. Everything is right at their fingertips; the negative side of that is that we all live in a filtered world. It’s important to remember that the images we see online are not always the real deal. As long as that’s taken into account, it’s one of the most exciting times to be a young girl in the creative industries.

UO: The word feminist sadly comes with a lot of negative connotations – how do you hope GRLPWR will change the perception of what it means to be feminist?

Kylie: We wanted to shake off the negative connotations associated with feminism and make it feel more modern – we hope that GRLPWR will help update feminism and make girls proud to be feminist.

Kirsti: I know right?! I don’t know how or when it happened, but it was definitely a key part of what we discussed at the beginning of this project. We wanted to repackage the word ‘feminism’ and inject some fun back into it. I think feminism still conjures up images of burning your bra, while GRL PWR conjures up images of the Spice Girls and zig a zig aaaaa!

UO: What advice would you like to pass on to someone starting a career in the creative industries?

Kylie: Work hard! The creative industries are tough because the competition is high. Work hard, assist and don’t give up.

Kirsti: Jump in at the deep end. If you have a good idea, just start it and see what the reaction is. Don’t spend any money on your business until you’re sure it will make money – you can do things on a shoestring nowadays, especially if you’re part of a collective that swaps its skills – like GRLPWRGANG. Instagram is one of the most powerful tools to communicate your ideas and build your audience. Use it.

UO: Who’s your ultimate GRLPWR icon?

Kylie: My mum! She’s a hero of mine; she brought me up solo and balanced a super successful career whilst being a mum. She always stood by me in whatever I wanted to do.

Kirsti: Caitlin Moran hands down.

UO: What are some of your favourite feminist reads right now?

Kylie: Not That Kind Of Girl by Lena Dunham and Girl Boss by Sophia Amoruso

Kirsti: All of Sophie Heawood’s columns, How to be a Woman by Caitlin Moran, and I also think reading Harry Potter is pretty feminist. There isn’t a woman alive who’s not inspired by the story of J.K Rowling’s trajectory to success. That’s proper ballsy girl power in my book.

UO: Can you tell us a a bit about the upcoming talks and events you have planned at GRLPWR?

Kylie: We are planning a series of talks for younger women aimed at helping them break into the creative industries and to discuss women’s issues. We are partnering with Baby G and Smashbox on the first series and various girls from the GRLPWR collective will share their knowledge.

Kirsti: The first set of talks will be held at the newly launched Smashbox Studios. We’re so excited about it because these talks will give us the chance to meet the girls who want to be running things tomorrow. To be a part of that journey is such a privilege; I’m excited about who and what we’ll discover. You can’t beat bringing people offline and face-to-face.

UO: Where do you see GRLPWR heading in 2016 and beyond?

Kylie: World domination! We want to create a network of creative women across the globe.

Kirsti: I’d love for GRLPWRGANG to be a global support network for females within the creative industries – and for girls wanting to break into the creative industries – if our generation of girls can make things easier for the next generation of girls, then that is the dream. What a legacy to leave behind!

Shop: GIRLS Tee

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