Emma McIlroy is the co-founder and CEO of Wildfang, a clothing and apparel brand with viral acclaim and activist roots.
In 2013, Emma McIlroy left a career at Nike and joined her co-founder Julia Parsley to set out to create “a home for badass women everywhere.” The mission of Wildfang? “We exist to empower every kind of woman to be the best possible version of herself, smashing gender roles and the patriarchy in the process. Sometimes this means giving her the confidence to rock a suit to the party. And other times it means supporting her in taking a stand against reproductive injustice, gender violence, labor inequality and, well, the current administration. Our store may be founded upon a woman’s right to menswear, but our core is founded upon a woman’s right to rights.”
In addition to online retail, Wildfang has stores in Portland, Los Angeles, and New York, and counts a number of high-profile actors, music artists, and activists as partners, brand ambassadors, and “heroes”: from Evan Rachel Wood to Janelle Monae, Lizzo to Megan Rapinoe, Kim Gordon to Ellen Page.
Emma was born in Northern Ireland and became an American citizen in 2017. In a profile in Forbes, Emma says, “I never intended Wildfang to be political—but then I also never intended it to be political to be a woman,” she says. “As an entrepreneur and as a leader of the organization, I’m not going to talk about selling you jeans when DACA’s going to be revoked—there are just bigger conversations to have with our girls. Our customer doesn’t care about a pair of 501’s when she might lose her ability to access healthcare.” This is not just talk: Wildfang has contributed over $400,000 to causes supported by marginalized communities in the last year alone.
Emma has spoken at TEDxPortland; you can watch it here. She is a passionate entrepreneur working to empower others to believe in their ideas.