She’s got her Equal Pay Day message down to a Tee
Dress for the change you want.
Alice + Olivia, the celeb favorite brand known for its whimsical designer clothing, shoes and handbags is championing pay parity for women everyday — and especially on Equal Pay Day.
Its timely Communi-T capsule collection of limited-edition tees designed in partnership with Global Fund for Women is donating 10% of proceeds to the organization’s female empowerment efforts, including gender equality, economic and environmental justice. Leading the charge is a money-green cropped crew neck T-shirt that spells out “Equal Pay” in bold black letters.
The message behind the $125 tee is short, sweet and so necessary, Alice + Olivia CEO and Creative Director Stacey Bendet tells Moneyish.
“When we speak about female empowerment, feminism and advancing women’s rights, it is unfathomable to me that women can be paid less than men for the same work,” says Bendet.
Bendet, who founded the company in 2002 when she was 23-years-old, says she never had to fight for equal pay because she was always her own boss — and she would never consider paying a man more than a woman with the same experience in the same position. That’s the exception to the rule, as women working full time in the United States typically were paid just 80% of what men were making in 2016, a wage gap of 20%, according to the American Association of University Women.
“It is a modern-day constitutional miss for it to be ok for companies to pay women less than men for the same work! This has to change; this must change,” she says. “We will not see real progress regarding women’s rights until professional respect is accepted as equal. I hope other CEOs will make equal pay their mission.”
Bendet has found a way to weave political statements into her signature floral patterns and feminine frills that rally women together. One graphic logo tee that reads, “When women support each other great things happen.” Another says, “Never underestimate the power of a girl who knows what she wants.” The messages are meant to be shared on social media and beyond to strike up discussion — like when actress Olivia Wilde wore a black skirt by the brand with the word “Feminist” printed all over it during an interview with Andy Cohen last July.
She’s not just using her fashion platform to speak out to her consumers; Bendet is also trying to send an empowering message to her three daughters: Eloise, 9; Scarlet, 6; and Athena, 2. “I want them to grow up in a world where there is no professional divide between men and women,” she says. “I grew up in a household where I never thought there was anything a boy did that I couldn’t do, and I am doing my best to raise my daughters the same way.”
When asked what advice she has for young women hustling at work, Bendent says it’s all about confidence and owning your worth.
“Set out goals for yourself, discuss these with your employer, show your ambition and your desire to succeed.”
And, since timing is everything, know when to speak up and ask for aht you deserve: “Ask for a raise when you have done something great, or when you have taken extra initiative and reached those goals,” she adds.
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