ND COMMUNITY | International Women's Day 2023

Inspiring Women in the Design World You Should Know About

On International Women’s Day and beyond, it is fundamental to recognize and honour the achievements and impact of women in the design world and the immense role they have played in shaping the creative industries and inspiring others with their creativity, resilience and diversity.
It’s impossible to measure the contribution made by women to the design world, but we have chosen a handful of inspiring, industry-leading individuals who are part of the ND Community, who have told us about their experiences, what inspires them, and what IWD means to them and their businesses.

June Mineyama-Smithson

Artist & Designer, MAMIMU

June Mineyama-Smithson is a London-based Japanese artist and graphic designer on a mission to spread optimism. Alongside her design work, June lectures at UAL as well as judging and speaking at a number of major design events. Her bold, joyful designs have been featured internationally on ITV, Creative Boom, Design Milk, SCMP and Cow Parade Niseko. 

What does International Women’s Day mean to you?

‘Celebration of sisterhood and empowerment. It’s a brilliant opportunity to shine a spotlight on as many fabulous women as possible.’

Why do you think it’s important to celebrate IWD?

‘I’ve never met anyone who is blatantly sexist in day-to-day life, but that does not mean that society and the system have overcome the gender gap. I think IWD is important to raise awareness of this issue, as well as to celebrate our progress.’

If you could choose one woman in the design world who inspires you, who would it be and why?

‘Rei Kawakubo, a Japanese fashion designer and the founder of Comme des Garçons. She is as old as my late mother, but her creativity shows no sign of stopping! What a great role model for all of us. I hope to be designing and creating art in my 80s, inspiring the next generation as she does.’


Design Director, Hallmark


Having exhibited at New Designers in 2003, Kelly Wykman is now Design Director at industry leading greeting card company Hallmark and attends ND in order to spot new talent and fresh ideas. Specialising in Surface Pattern Design, Kelly says that versatility, problem solving and conceptual thinking are key to her design practice.

What does IWD mean to you?

‘I love that there is a global day for IWD. So proud to see all the issues and themes IWD champions and celebrates to continually affect positive change, increase visibility, and raise awareness for all women in their daily lives.

IWD is inspirational, seeing woman come together globally is both humbling and empowering.’

Why do you think it’s important to celebrate IWD?

‘For me being able to celebrate IWD with my family is important to my role as a parent. Discussing highlighted issues with my daughter provides us with a collective drive and additional talking point to the normal teenage daughter Mum discussions we have. Empowering a younger generation of women to achieve, take ownership and strive is galvanised by IWD. My son is also a huge part of our discussions and it’s great for my kids to engage in positive and honest points of view about the world around us.’

If you could choose one woman in the design world who inspires you, who would it be and why?

‘I am lucky to work with the most amazing creative women so couldn’t possibly choose one woman in design as an inspiration. In my role I am surrounded by intelligent, funny, caring, compassionate and exceptionally talented women who all collectively make my working life and absolute pleasure every day.

Their talent and empathy enable the most productive working relationships, true friendships, and great product for the business.’

Resized Flora Daly, Harlequin Designer, Design in background is Dance of Adornment from Harlequin's Colour 1 Collection (Image 1)


Designer, Sanderson Design Group

ND 2019 exhibitor Flora Daly now works as a designer at Sanderson Design Group, with her designs having been featured in many major publications such as Elle Decoration, House and Garden and Living Etc.

What does IWD mean to you?

‘International Women’s Day, to me, is about celebrating women and their accomplishments. I’ve always felt a strong connection with women in design, a shared desire to collaborate and celebrate each other’s work means we can continue to push the boundaries of creativity. Recognising this day offers women the opportunity to reflect upon their accomplishments and continue to project that positivity across our industry.’

Why do you think it’s important to celebrate IWD?

‘I think it is important to recognise the pioneering women in our industry who we are taught, inspired, and mentored by daily. I feel very privileged to work for a company which is led by so many female figures and it compels me to continue the investment in upcoming designers. Textile based crafts have noticeably been neglected as types of art forms for decades, with their accessibility to women, many accomplished female artists have excelled in this area. I think it’s important to share with society at large the valuable contributions of women throughout history and how we are continuing to push the boundaries within these fields.’

If you could choose one woman in the design world who inspires you, who would it be and why?

‘Kit Kemp is my greatest inspiration within the industry. Her signature style is so unique and recognisable, with bold uses of colour, pattern and crafts. She has always championed creatives within various fields and her interiors to me, feel like a celebration of design.’


Director of People, Culture & Communication, Romo

Felicity Mould

Felicity Mould trained in Fine Art & Interior Design, initially joining the Romo team as a showroom designer and manager and now directs the People, Culture & Communication department of the renowned fabric company.

What does IWD mean to you?

‘IWD is about inclusion and celebrating women’s achievements.

As a business, we believe in promoting equal opportunities and are committed to ensuring equality across the whole of our workforce. We are proud that women play a significant role in our business working in our leadership, design, administration, sales, production and support teams and that women currently hold a higher percentage of senior or managerial roles in the company. This hasn’t always been the case but gradually over the generations our workforce has changed and we are proud of the many women that have successfully developed their careers at Romo.’

Why do you think it’s important to celebrate IWD?

‘It’s a chance to come together and recognise the incredible contributions of women in society – whether that be social, economic, cultural or political but also to recognise that for many women, achieving equality is still a struggle. We believe in the importance of girls’ education around the globe to ensure a more equal future for all women. For over 18 years, The Romo Group has partnered with Oxfam to implement a program improving access to education for primary school children in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), with a specific focus on encouraging & supporting girls to complete their education. It is programmes such as these that illustrate why there is still a need for an International Women’s Day.’

If you could choose one woman in the design world who inspires you, who would it be and why?

‘My sister and fellow family Director, Emily Mould. Whilst helping drive the business forward with energy and enthusiasm, Emily continues to inspire me with her innate passion for colour, pattern and design.’

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