Women's Lifestyle

Northern Fights Negative Gender Norms with Fashion

Presented by T1

It’s all about getting the language right.

By Magdalena Munao

In a time where females have more power and resources at their disposal than ever before, women everywhere have taken over headlines with trending topics like International Women’s Day and the #MeToo Movement. But for recently established fashion brand Northern, the goal isn’t to just start a conversation, but rather to offer a solution to the problem.

Motivated by countless workplace encounters where she was condescendingly labeled with traits such as bossy, chatty, and emotional, Northern’s founder, Jenna Hage-Hassan decided it was time to address the issue head on. The CEO of tech company 4Thought Studios, Jenna found herself questioning and challenging the social norms for terminology used in the workplace when speaking about women.

“I wanted to change people’s language [when referring to women] at work in a less confrontational way,” says Jenna.

Based in Detroit, Michigan, the brand was birthed when Jenna had her first t-shirt printed with the word “bossy” crossed out by a red lipstick-like streak over a strong capitalized “LEADER”. Instead of confronting people individually, the small, yet powerful message speaks volumes to combat negative language.

Northern’s message cuts to the chase suggesting a more appropriate vocabulary when describing female professionals. The idea is that women can now proudly wear a t-shirt to work under a blazer that will subtly stimulate a necessary change amidst a corporate culture. Northern Fashion doesn’t just expose the issue, it provides a remedy.

No, I am not emotional. I’m passionate. Do not call me bossy. Call me a leader. Don’t say I’m stubborn; say that I’m determined.

Officially formed in October 2018, with the help of her co-founder Ludwin Cruz, Northern Fashion was Jenna’s opportunity to share a social-impact message that would help women take control of the narrative used in the workplace and in school.

“As a non-artist, fashion to me is the most visible artistic medium. It’s the thing that people pay the most attention to,” says Jenna.

With their products available at their website, Northern Fashion looks forward to continuing to influence a social impact with their debut in The Market at Macy’s Twelve Oaks on April 7th.

All photos are courtesy of Northern Fashion.


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