International Women’s Day: In Conversation With Inspiring Creatives

Today marks our second instalment of our month-long International Women’s Day series, where we feature prominent, trailblazing women. In this series, we spoke to Lynda Latner of Vintage Couture, Luanne Ronquillo, pastry chef and founder of Ruru Baked, as well as Whitney Geller and Yasemin Emory of Jems. S/ asked all of these women two important questions: How do women inspire you in your personal life and your work? and how do you celebrate women all year round? Get inspired by their responses below.

Lynda Latner, Founder of Vintage Couture

Photo Courtesy of Lynda Latner.

“I have always found inspiration in the creativity of women in every generation. When faced with the challenge of writing my final paper to complete an MA in Fine Art, I chose to write about Rosa Bonheur and Mme Vigée LeBrun, two under represented female artists who would have been celebrated today. 

In my personal life I have to look no further than my late mother Florence Cooper, who understood the meaning of dressing well, buying mindfully, and reusing her classic wardrobe basics year after year by adding an accessory or changing the hem length to keep in tune with the dictates of the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s fashion trends.

Professionally, I admire so many women in the fashion industry who respect the mostly male-dominated past while moving steadily into the future; Miuccia Prada, Stella McCartney, Sonia Rykiel, Vivienne Westwood, Rei Kawakubo, just to name just a few.

The way I celebrate women is to give them a voice, listen to their wisdom, support their individuality, embrace their humour, celebrate their choices, subscribe to their values, and above all, be there with an open mind and heart to share, explore, and welcome their contribution into my life. I cannot imagine a life without my sisters, daughters, daughter-in-law, grand daughters, and my tight circle of life long female friends….and of course offer them fashion advice when asked.”

Luanne Ronquillo, Pastry Chef and Founder of Ruru Baked

Photo Courtesy of Ruru Baked.

“There are so many examples of women in my life that have persevered through life challenges, as well as many societal pressures and barriers. They’ve been able to create fulfilling lifestyles while also helping the communities around them — I find this resiliency very inspiring. 

I celebrate women year round by supporting female-run businesses and organizations, helping to mentor or provide advice to women around me, and donating to charities and organizations that support women. Also just literally celebrating them, any milestone or accomplishment, no matter how big or small. We are all able to achieve great things and that should be recognized.”

Whitney Geller and Yasemin Emory of Jems

Photo Courtesy of Whitney Geller and Yasemin Emory.

“In our experience, there is a real spirit of collaboration among women working together. The collective good is prized over individual achievement, which leads to some really groundbreaking discoveries. Yasemin and I have 5 children between us, which certainly impacts the way we work. We choose to be more efficient, more empathetic, and ultimately more driven to do work that is meaningful. 

When we launched our design studio 10 years ago — there weren’t as many women-led companies as there are today. Thankfully female leadership continues to increase, which is something to celebrate and support.”