Helene Rother - Interior designer

Helene Rother
The very first woman to work as an automotive designer at American car giant General Motors in Detroit was German born Helene Rother. She studied design at Bauhaus in Weimar, Germany before moving to Paris to design high fashion jewellery. However, when the Nazis invaded France Rother fled to America, via north Africa, where her career would take a couple of interesting turns.

She initially worked as an illustrator for Marvel Comics before joining the staff at General Motors in 1942. It's thought that here she earned more than three times the average man's salary.

Her incredible skill caught the eye of Nash Motors, who soon hired her to design elegant interiors for their cars from 1948-1956. During this time she addressed the Society of Automotive Engineers in Detroit (the first woman to do so) and also won the Jackson Medal, given for excellence in design.

Rother's influence on interiors was undoubted - Nash Motors even included her name on advertisements. Rother's automotive skills didn't stop at car interiors however; she also designed ambulances and hearse interiors for Miller-Meteor.

While many women have become prominent figures in the automotive industry for defying established gender boundaries, Rother's achievements in what is considered a more feminine role still shouldn't be diminished, as the industry was male-dominated as a whole.