A Running List of Black-Owned Fashion Brands That Need to Be on Your Radar
These are the names you need to have in mind the next time you're shopping and all the times after.| June 3, 2020
When the video of George Flyod brutally suffocated by the police went viral on the internet, it flipped a switch. People across at least 75 American cities have taken to the streets in protest against racial injustice and police brutality. On social media, people from all across the world have raised their voices in support of #BlackLivesMatter. No matter where you live or the colour of your skin, change starts with you. If you’ve signed the petitions, donated and taken a step forward to educate yourself, good on you.
But there’s more work to be done. The conversation must continue.
In the fashion space, black designers have long been underrepresented. Right off the top of your head, how many black designers can you rattle off? We’d think, not that many. And this has to change. The grim reality of the industry is that designers of colour just don’t have the same support. Aurora James, the founder of Brother Vellies, took to Instagram to call for big players in the industry like Net-a-Porter to commit to stocking more black-owned businesses. While the big industry players sort that out on the business end, as a consumer, you too, have a part to play.
Black-owned brands might not be in plain sight but there are many of them around. The next time you go shopping and all the times after, here’s a list of designers to have in mind, look into and support.
Founded in 2013 by Auror James, Brother Vellies works towards keeping traditional African design practices and techniques alive. Handmade artisanally, you can think of the luxe range of contemporary accessories from Brother Vellies are a celebration of cultural histories.
In the fashion business for more than a decade, Cushnie is a ready-to-wear and bridal brand designed by Carly Cushnie. For clothes designed with a deep understanding of the feminine form, Cushnie is the place to go. Languid lines, luxurious fabric and a stellar fit, it checks all our boxes.
Pyer Moss counts himself amongst the more prominent names in the fashion industry. Heritage and activism stand are at the core of his eponymous womenswear and menswear label. In the luxe streetwear arena, Moss is a name to look out for.
Founded by designer Telfar Clemens, Telfar is a brand that stands for a lot of causes beyond anti-racism. Clemens has long used fashion as a platform for discussion on weighty issues like identity, homogeneity and consumerism. Beyond its ready-to-wear offerings, the brand is also the place to go for fuss-free carryalls to grab and go.
New York based jewellery and accessories label Edas is everything you’d want to align yourself with. You’d find the sustainable, social-conscious brand on the forefront of issues that matter. If you’re spending the buck, honest brands like Edas might be where you want to look to.
A winner of the LVMH prize, Thebe Magugu is a contemporary South African brand where heritage finds context in the everyday wardrobe of women. Forward-thinking designs that have a timeless appeal, the brand takes the lead in bringing black culture into the doorstep of fashion.
Victor Glemaud is a favourite amongst Tinseltown’s A-listers like Selena Gomez and Jennifer Hudson. Glemaud’s runway presentations and his lineup of ready-to-wear have been a platform for the eponymous designer’s Haitian heritage.
At Phlemuns designed by James Flemons, turns what was once old into something new. The result: clothing that is quite literally meant to last forever. While the trends come and go, Flemons has committed his brand to reinvention and recycling of fabrics.
Austrian-Nigerian designer Kenneth Ize made his Paris fashion week debut earlier this year. Ize has been working with weavers in Nigeria to preserve the age old craft that might soon just disappear.
Christopher John Rogers
Bright! Bold! Beautiful! Those would be the adjectives to describe Christopher John Rogers’ designs. The CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund winner is a rising name amongst the fashion set. Also no stranger to Hollywood, he has dressed the likes of Michelle Obama and Cardi B. His dresses are an absolute dream, just as fashion should be.
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