“Regarding girl power, I am still banging on that drum, and I’m not going to stop.”
“When I used to sing, I’d get that feedback all the time when I went onstage,” says Victoria Beckham, as her microphone buzzed when she started speaking at Forbes’ Women’s Summit. She is, of course, speaking of her career as Posh Spice, one of five women to make up the pop music group the Spice Girls in the 1990s.
But in the last ten years, Beckham has taken on a new title: the founder and creative director of Victoria Beckham Ltd., a fashion brand that has, despite all odds, taken the fashion world by storm and was recently valued at over $130 million.
The company, which on Tuesday announced new CEO Paolo Rivera, has grown from a small collection of dresses into a full line of ready-to-wear (the brand will show at London Fashion Week for the first time this year), handbags, shoes and eyewear. Beckham also has an athletic line with sports brand Reebok coming out later this year.
“I was aware that people would have preconceptions—I was a Spice Girl, married to a footballer—but I didn’t focus on that, and the clothes spoke for themselves,” she says, referring to her husband, David Beckham. “I liked the fact that I didn’t know a lot [about the fashion industry] because knowing what I know now, would I have had the guts? Probably not.”
But Beckham believed in her product and was hands-on in the designing process, choosing seams, corseting and fabrics. She created the clothing that she wanted to wear and that she assumed others would as well. That authentic desire to help women, she says, is the common thread between her career as a singer and her career as a fashion designer.
Just as girl power was a theme in her pop music, Beckham hopes that her clothing brings confidence to the women who wear them.
Of course, clothing itself cannot bring gender equality, and Beckham recognizes that. She actively ensures that her company hires female leaders and that companies she works with, like Reebok, also have women in positions of power.
At home, the Beckhams practice gender equality, with both parents playing all roles according to this article on Forbes.
“When I’m away, he is at home doing the school run, cooking dinner, helping with homework,” she says, adding that when she is the one at home, she is working on balance and is known to sneak into the bathroom to send a work email. “It’s about being in a working partnership.”
That work isn’t ending anytime soon: After raising $40 million last year, her company is continuing to expand. She is developing a skincare line and would like to work on a fragrance, as well as menswear or children’s clothes.
Women, however, will always remain her focus.
Read more on Forbes.com.