The last time I introduced this issue, I prefaced it by saying that the objective was to start conversations around the intersections of gender identity, design and power – and to keep having them long after August.
Well, very recently, I was having one of those conversations with another incredible woman, Boity – a self-made, one-woman empire in her own right – about the very thing that this issue is about: the machinations of power, who shares it and who holds onto it – guarding it – tightly. She told me how, even as a successful woman – and a woman of colour – having the power to speak freely, openly and to be heard was far from a given.
That every moment of autonomy and being seen as an equal had to be hard won. It is clear that having a seat at the table is not enough – we need a whole new table. Brigette Romanek embodies for me the very best of what this issue is all about. Optimistic, inquisitive, adventurous and inspiring, unapologetically herself and dazzling in personality. So much so that when I spoke to her from my load-shedding darkened living room one Friday evening a few months back, her megawatt presence lit the room through my small laptop screen. I had approached Brigette and her team months ago about the issue, and not only did she agree to be a part of it, but she and her team also moved mountains – and time zones – to make it happen. (Word to the wise, cross-continental cover shoots are no joking matter). The result is easily one of my favourite covers. Ever.
We need women like Boity and Brigette and the incredible pioneers, creatives and changemakers featured in this issue because they represent the shifting tide, the real change that gradually fills the halls of power, moving the needle in our society closer to something that looks like equity.
As with any annual, House & Garden’s Women Shaping Design issue has become a marker in time for us, a moment to reflect, take stock and look ahead. We have come a long way, but as the line goes, there are miles to go before we sleep. I hope you will take the journey with us.
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