Inspiring Inclusion: Women Shaping the Design Landscape

Designing a Collective Mindset with Louisa Pacifico

International Women’s Day 2024 is coming up this week, with this year’s edition honouring the theme of ‘Inspire Inclusion’.

We’ve spoken to a number of inspirational members of the #NDCommunity who have shared their experiences of being a woman in the design industry, and what inspires them to forge a more inclusive future. In this series of interviews, meet the individuals who are breaking down barriers and driving inclusion in their practices to shape the future of design with creativity and resilience.

Louisa Pacifico – Founder, Future Icons

Curator of ND Selects 2024

As founder of Future Icons, Louisa selects makers and designers to represent and nurture through business consultancy and curated showcases. Most notably, she developed and managed the curated showcases for The Future of Craft at London Craft Week, gallery venues within the iconic Burlington Arcade in Mayfair and was appointed VIP room curator for prestigious London Art Fair. 

New Designers is delighted to welcome back Louisa as the curator of ND Selects. As a 2004 New Designers alumni and previous sales manager she has a wealth of knowledge of the event and industry that will put her in the perfect position to help and advise ND Selects exhibitors.

This year’s theme for International Women’s Day is ‘Inspire Inclusion’, what does this mean to you and your business?

‘Although I founded Future Icons, I view Future Icons as collective rather than an organisation. Collectively, we support each other regardless of our personal life constraints – this can be through simply listening to each other or physically putting ourselves forward to work with another to complete a project.’


Is there a particular woman in the design world that inspires you?

‘Sarah Burton, the former creative director of Alexander McQueen. Sarah recently stepped down as CD of Alexander McQueen after successfully leading and growing AMQ following Lee’s death in 2010. To take on a role like this is incredibly inspiring as a huge amount of pressure was placed on her by the companies owner Gucci and well as the fashion world to see if she could continue to set Alexander McQueen (the brand) apart from all other fashion houses of the era. The result, Sarah was commissioned to design Catherine Middleton’s wedding dress for her marriage to Prince William. Need I say more? I look forward to seeing what Sarah Burton decides to do next!’

What piece of advice would you give to women pursuing a career in the design world?

‘Keep pushing yourself! Look at the last completed project – how can you better it?’

Is there a particular woman designer or women-run design business you’d like to give a shout out to?

Bethan Laura Wood – Since graduating, Bethan has worked tirelessly to design collections for her own company as well as collaborate with global brands. Yes, she works within the design world, but she is one of the few people who has managed to straddle the gap between design and art. Her outward image is an extension of her artwork, and as someone who shared workshop space with her in the early 00’s in Brighton, I can categorically confirm that she has always been true to herself and her work from day one. She is an utter inspiration to us all, a reminder to always be our self in everything we do.’

Future Icons, Burlington Arcade
Future Icons, Burlington Arcade