Does the world need another ‘Leading Women in a Man’s World’ list? In short – yes. For starters, because it is a man’s word. But you do not need a white cis male mansplaining gender politics to you in 2021. So, instead, let me introduce our Women Shaping Design issue, and the why and who behind it.
We went with ‘Women Shaping Design’ as an invitation to start a conversation. This is not your cheugy Girl Boss slogan tee brand of feminist agenda (though I support the sentiment if not the execution) but rather an opportunity to open discourse around design and gender in its many nuances.
Incidentally, you will not find any lists here, as Taylor Swift once put it, ‘comparing all the girls who are killing it’. There is no pageant. No parade. And instead of telling the stories of the women we feature in this issue, we decided to hand over the proverbial – and editorial – mic and let them speak truth to power their way.
In the process, we have introduced a new section to House & Garden from this issue, Dispatches – a series of essays that address some of the more contentious topics within the creative industry. This month, designer and author Nthabi Thaukobong asks why we are still gendering interiors (‘masculine’ and ‘feminine’ have long been adjectival crutches even here at House & Garden – but what do these terms actually mean, if anything, and why do we use them?). Following that, poly-hyphenate academic Geci Karuri-Sebina attempts to unpack the innately patriarchal concept of ‘cities’ (she makes a fascinating case for ego-ology versus eco-logy in the planning of urban spaces).
Speaking of opportunity and greatness, have you entered the Maxidor | House & Garden Design Innovator Award 2021 competition yet? If you are a designer looking for that big break, this is it: you stand to win a year-long paid mentorship as well as a spread in this magazine to launch your design career. You will find everything you need to know on page 33.
I hope that the voices in this issue will inspire you – you the plural, not just women in the design field – that change is not only necessary but that it is coming, that it is here, that it is happening right now.
As always, stay safe.
Piet Smedy, Editor-in-Chief