25 Black-owned fashion brands you need to add to your radar ASAP
WARNING: You will want to buy absolutely everything
If you are looking for a way to support creative individuals of colour, starting with black-owned fashion brands is a great place to start. In the wake of recent events, (the murders of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor - and sadly many others), it is apparent that more needs to be done to support black-owned brands, businesses and communities. Mona Chalabi, a British data illustrator and journalist, recently published her findings that 40% of black-owned businesses have had to close down due to Covid-19. It is crucial that we support and buy from these businesses now, and forever, to make sure we don't risk losing them.
I have compiled a list of my favourite brands, and whether you can invest in pieces now or later, make sure you add these fantastic brands to your radar ASAP!
Founded in 2013 with the goal of keeping traditional African design practices, and techniques alive while also creating and sustaining artisanal jobs. Now handmade artisanally across the globe, Brother Vellies creates luxury accessories that celebrate cultural histories and timeless design.
Sustainable handbag label founded in the UK, uses the remnants of left over vintage fabric. Founder Natasha Fernandes Anjo makes everything by hand at her home. All pieces are one of a kind, so watch closely as she sells out very quickly.
Besides the timeless and handmade pieces, the brand also puts great effort in expressing the female body in the most sophisticated way. The aim is to give women a certain sense of power along with raising environmental awareness.
London based contemporary brand run by couple Ola and Cerise. Cold Laundry was created to bring quality contemporary clothing to the world at an attainable and ethical price.
OMA-is a women's wear brand focusing on high end tops and bodysuits. Their jewellery is to die for, and affordable. My favourite item has to be the Zoe earrings, which I am patiently waiting to be restocked.
Established in 2014 by mother and daughter design due, Rebecca Henry and Akua Shabaka, House of Aama is poised to become the next "great expression" in fashion and design. Manufactures in Los Angeles, California, House of Aama explores the folkways of the Black experience by designing timeless garments with nostalgic references informed by historical research, archival analysis, and storytelling.
Founded by Samuel Ross in 2015 and at the age of 25, A-Cold-Wall is a London-based streetwear label that merges British working-class uniforms with elements of Savile Row tailoring. Named the Fashion Award's 2018 British Emerging Menswear Designer, the Virgil Abloh protégé and a finalist for both the LVMH Prize and ANDAM Award
Hanifa is a contemporary ready-to-wear apparel line for Women Without Limits. Collections cater to sizes 0-20 that are feminine and chic. Featuring an array of colours and textures that help to emphasise the natural curves of a woman's physique. Hanifa design for everyday extraordinary women that embody class while setting their own rules.
Founded by Monti Landers, Riot Swim boasts luxe, minimalistic swimwear with versatile colours and flattering styles.
The shop sells the most beautiful hand picked vintage pieces, and is home to a plethora of well-cut jackets, slip dresses and denim. This stunning account is worth the follow, not only for the clothes, but how it also provides inspiration for how to dress vintage pieces.
“Eat well, travel often, and dress to inspire”, this is the philosophy behind the Brooklyn based, womenswear brand Fe Noel. The labels founder, Felisha “Fe” Noel, is deeply influenced by her Grenadian heritage and this can bee seen through the bold prints, vibrant colours and sensual designs.
TELFAR is a unisex line Established in 2005 in NYC by Telfar Clemens, and designed to be a clothing brand that can be worn by everyone. Clemens won the top prize of $400,000 at the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund Awards, and his 'it' shopping bag has been labeled the 'Bushwick Birkin'.
CUSHNIE is a luxury women’s ready-to-wear and bridal brand designed by Carly Cushnie.
Established in 2008, the label was founded on the desire to serve the modern woman. Artfully crafted with clean, sculptural lines, the CUSHNIE collection is precisely tailored to achieve the perfect fit for the female form.
One to watch this wear, Rogers has sold made-to-order designs from his Brooklyn studio since 2016. And thankfully this year he has started selling his eponymous label in stores like Net-A-Porter for the first time. Sharp tailoring and spectacular colour helped him earned a CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund Award.
lemlem is an artisan-driven collection of women’s, en’s, children’s and home goods made entirely in Africa. Supermodel Liya Kebede was inspired to launch the ethical brand following a trip to her native Ethiopia, where she met a group of traditional wavers who no longer had a market for their craft. Women are at the heart of lemlem and the brand is committed to helping them thrive both within its workshops and beyond through its support for lemlem Foundation.
Daily Paper is an Amsterdam-based fashion and lifestyle brand established in 2012 by three childhood friends. The once blog established by Hussein, Jefferson and Abderrahmane shared a love for music, art, fashion, and culture, growing the brand into a household name. Fuelled by the rich heritage of African culture wrapped in contemporary designs, Daily Paper has truly become one of the fastest growing fashion brands out of Europe.
Often referred to as the first black Italian fashion designer, Jean has long used her platform to shine the spotlight on social change. Multiculturalism and sustainability are each at the heart of her work: loud prints and vibrant block patterns reference her Creole heritage and pieces are sustainably produced using ethically sourced materials.
Pyer Moss was founded in 2013 by Kerby Jean-Raymond. Jean-Raymond describes the brand as an “art project” or “a timely social experiment” at times. Pyer Moss aims to use its voice and platform to challenge social narratives and evoke dialogue.
Born and based in London, Bianca Saunders launched her eponymous label in 2017. ‘BIANCA SAUNDERS’ pushes at gender, and investigates construction to propose fresh ideas for menswear. Both her Black-Caribbean roots and her signature cutting which captures movement in clothes, have been the base to the collections.
EDAS was created from an innovative standpoint, that focuses on sustainability while using unusual home-goods and refurbished elements. Each piece of jewellery is made by hand, delivers feminine and staple accessories, accommodating the everyday, eclectic woman.
Mahnal is a collection of contemporary brass jewellery that studies natural forms and elements to inspire contemplation. The owner and designer, Shayba, takes inspiration from places that we find most meditative, exploring themes like silhouettes in nature, the repetition of lines in architecture, and how light plays against texture throughout her designs.
Grace Wales Bonner launched her eponymous label in 2014, following her graduation from Central Saint Martins. Established as a menswear brand, Wales Bonner’s soulful tailoring soon expanded to womenswear, and in 2016, she received the LVMH Young Designer Prize. WALES BONNER embraces a multiplicity of perspectives, proposing a distinct notion of luxury, via a hybrid of European and Afro-Atlantic approaches.
Tracy Reese has built a reputation in the fashion industry as not only a leading talent, but a champion for diversity and inclusion. Hope for Flowers is designed for women who are inspired by beauty and also desire to use their power as consumers to be agents for positive change in the world.
Kenneth Ize uses Nigerian craft to create an original perspective on luxury production within textile and fashion. The brand supports a small community of weavers, and works directly with a variety of artisan and design groups across Nigeria. The creation? Beautiful combinations of fabrics and clashing colours.
Sindiso Khumalo is a sustainable textile designer based in Cape Town and is a Central St Martins graduate. Khumalo focuses on creating modern sustainable textiles with a strong emphasis on African story telling. She designs the textiles in her collections by hand through watercolours and collage. She was the LVMH Prize Finalist 2020, and with the use of vivid colours and detailed prints, draws upon her Zulu and Ndebele heritage, creating spectacular garments.