This story was originally published on June 1, 2020.
As important as it is for corporations to support and encourage Black-owned businesses, it’s just as crucial that we as consumers also uplift the Black fashion community.
Ahead, we’re helping you put your money where your supportive Instagram post is, by highlighting Black-owned businesses where we love to shop and think you should, too.
To help bring attention to the police killing of George Floyd, you can sign the Change.org petition here, or donate to local organizations like Black Vision Collective or Reclaim the Block via the Minnesota Freedom Fund here.1 of 61
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A A K S founder, Akosua Afriyie-Kumi, handcrafts her can't-miss raffia bags and accessories — often available in bold colors and adorned with fun details like tassels, fringe, and pom-poms — using traditional weaving methods she learned in Ghana, where artisans make every A A K S piece using local materials.
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Ethical and sustainable practices are at the forefront of this Bay Area-based label, whose offerings range from denim to outwear, founded in 2015 by designer Aliya Wanek.
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Nigerian designer Dumebi Iyamah created her label Andrea Iyamah — most known for its bold swimwear — with the intention of designing colorful clothing "with hints of a retro yet contemporary edge."
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Known for its patchwork baguette bags and ready-to-wear pieces, sustainable brand Asata Maisé crafts all pieces by hand. Other offerings include bucket hats, clothing, and face masks.
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Moya Annece and Ashley Cimone make up the design duo behind leather goods brand Ashya, which specializes in modern travel gear ranging from bags to passport holders, all made and assembled in New York's Garment District.
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Gina Feldman, the designer and co-founder of Auvere, got her start as a Manhattan real estate lawyer, before starting night classes at Parsons, where she studied handbag design. After realizing that fashion was her passion, she founded a leather goods brand called Peryton before eventually launching Auvere. The brand — which, according to the website
, uses "high karat gold and traditional craftsmanship to make jewelry with a modern aesthetic" — specializes in men's and women's jewelry, with new pieces launching every month. If you ask Feldman, Auvere can be summed up in five words: "architectural, uncluttered, fresh, linear, and solid."
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Craftsmanship and simplicity are at the center of this Brooklyn-based jewelry brand, whose pieces range from floral-adorned, mixed-metal rings and earrings to chain necklaces.
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A line of handcrafted, sustainable shoes, and handbags, Brother Vellies
is a favorite of the fashion crowd. In response to the Black Lives Matter protests, its creative founder, Aurora James, launched the 15 Percent Pledge
and called on retailers, like Net-A-Porter and Saks Fifth Avenue, to commit to buying 15% of their products from Black-owned businesses.
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Hand-dyed and produced locally in L.A., Comeback as a Flower is a loungewear brand specializing in 100% recycled cotton tie-dye co-ords.
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Carly Cushnie’s New York City-based brand is known for its minimal selection of bridal and ready-to-wear designs made for the modern woman.Update: On October 29, 2020, Carly Cushnie announced she'd be closing down her brand after 12 years.
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The product of three childhood best friends Jefferson Osei, Abderrahmane Trabsini, and Hussein Suleiman, Daily Paper, an Amsterdam-based men's and womenswear brand, is dually inspired by the three designers’ African heritage and modern design aesthetics. In October, the brand announced the opening of its first international store and flagship, in Manhattan's Lower East Side.
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Detroit-based label DIOP was co-founded by Mapate Diop, who grew up watching his mother design clothing using Ankara, a patterned fabric that's popular throughout West Africa. Now, Diop uses the same fabric his mother did for his own namesake brand of shirts, shorts, and, accessories.
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London-based Nigerian designer Duro Olowu is beloved by many A-listers. Notable among them: Michelle Obama, Solange Knowles, and Iris Apfel.
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Felisha "Fe" Noel's Brooklyn-based label draws inspiration from her Grenadian roots and is known for its vibrant hues, luxury fabrics, and tropical prints.
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Based in New York City, The Folklore
is a multi-brand retailer that offers up artisan-made products from South Africa, Nigeria, Ghana, Morocco, Cote D’Ivoire, and more. The selection also includes designs from notable brands like Andrea Iyamah, MaXhosa, and Loza Maléombho.
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In 2020, influencer and designer Gabi Fresh
launched her 13th collaborative collection with size-inclusive swimwear brand SwimsuitsForAll, which features a back-to-basics selection of bikinis and one-pieces modeled on herself, Nadia Aboulhosn
, and Maxey Greene
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Congolese designer behind Hanifa, Anifa Mvuemba made headlines in May 2020 for showing her new collection on Instagram Live via 3-D models — an innovative move that, according to Teen Vogue
, she had planned before the stay-at-home orders.
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Known for his workwear-inspired designs, San-Francisco-born designer Heron Preston has worked with all the streetwear giants, from Kanye West to Nike and Virgil Abloh. Now, Preston, a 2019 CFDA Emerging Designer of the Year nominee, shows his collections during Paris Fashion Week and is beloved by A-listers like Ariana Grande and Gigi Hadid, among others.
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Created by iconic designer Tracy Reese, Hope For Flowers is a womenswear label — most recently, seen on Meghan Markle
—that's dedicated to designing clothing without adding to the world's environmental impact.
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L.A.-made fashions rooted in the Black experience are at the core of House of Aama, the product of mother-daughter design duo Rebecca Henry and Akua Shabaka.
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For swimwear needs, fashion editor and stylist Brittany Kozerski’s Jade Swim carries high-quality, minimalist designs with a twist.
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Helmed by designer Jasmine Elder, Jibri is a style-conscious line of plus-size fashions — available in sizes 10 to 28 — with a loyal fanbase of celebrities including Toccara, Brittany Howard, and Tess Holiday.
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In June, amid the pandemic and protests around racial injustice, Kendra Duplantier
's phone blew up. Why? Because her brand — which was 10 years in the making when she launched it during lockdown — was featured on Black Owned Everything
, Zerina Akers and Beyoncé's platform for supporting Black-owned brands. Since then, her namesake brand has flourished, so much so that Issa Rae wore a piece from her collection
on the cover of Bustle
's The Rule Breakers Issue.
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Kenneth Ize may have made his PFW debut in February, but it was his runway show during Lagos Fashion Week a few months prior that really put the Austrian-Nigerian designer on the map. At the show, Naomi Campbell and Imaan Hammam both not only supported Ize's Nigerian-inspired designs but modeled them.
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Never to be missed, LaQuan Smith
’s runway shows are always a celebration of in-your-face designs shown on models like Winnie Harlow and Halima Aden.
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Leimert Park Threads is the brainchild of Ashley Sky Walker, an L.A.-born designer who made his way to D.C., London, and New York before settling back in his native area of South Central Los Angeles to create both his streetwear brand and a strong community around it. Walker's latest collection, titled COLORED, was designed to reclaim a word that he grew up feeling was charged. Now, he's creating pieces "for every race, sex, and creed that stands for equal rights for all."
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Founded by '90s-obsessed streetwear designer Olivia Anthony, LIV Streetwear
is a genderless line of fun, nostalgic, and stylish bike shorts, hoodies, and T-shirts. Sound familiar? That's probably because Anthony's retro biker shorts
can be spotted in every New York Fashion Week street style roundup from the last two spring seasons.
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James Flemons, the designer behind Gen Z favorite fashion brand PHLEMUNS
, is the
label to know. With fans including Paloma Elsesser, Lil Nas X, and Kelsey Lu, we're expecting a long and successful future for this L.A.-based, gender-inclusive brand.
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Model Liya Kebede’s apparel and accessories line works with artisans in her native Ethiopia to create sustainable, one-of-kind pieces that range from handwoven maxi dresses to graphic swimsuits.
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Praised by Lupita N'yongo, Solange Knowles, and Thandie Newton, Maki Oh combines traditional African design techniques with modern styles and construction. A finalist for the LVMH Prize for Young Fashion Designers, Amaka Osakwe was personally invited to the White House after Michelle Obama wore one of her designs in Johannesburg.
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Originally from Montego Bay, Jamaica, Matthew Harris, the founder of jewelry brand Mateo, discovered his passion for jewelry making after completing his degree in New York City. Since launching the brand in 2009, Harris has been featured in Vogue
, and The New York Times Style Magazine
, and was a finalist for the 2017 CFDA/Vogue
Fashion Fund. His fine jewelry is designed with simplicity and minimalism in mind and can be found at the brand's Soho brick-and-mortar and popular retailers like Net-a-Porter and Shopbop.
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London-based menswear designer Martine Rose has been a favorite amongst Britain's fashion scene since she launched her eponymous brand in 2007.
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Haitian-American menswear designer Whitney Michel is now, on top of her usual selection of silk and cashmere ties and bandanas, selling protective face masks, with 20% of the proceeds going toward The Dream Defenders, an organization serving people who are homeless in Miami during COVID19.
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Founded by London-based Nigerian designer Mowalola Ogunlesi, Mowalola specializes in '90s-inspired silhouettes paired with design techniques courtesy of her heritage.
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L.A.-based brand No Sesso, which means "no sex, no gender" in Italian, was founded by designer Pierre Davis in 2015. After presenting two collections during NYFW, the brand returned to the West Coast for fall '20 with a community-driven presentation at the Museum of Contemporary Art.
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Made "with joy" in Brooklyn, Octave Jewelry is stocked full of pieces like Mother of Pearl chandelier earrings and sterling silver rings accessorized with opal and abalone.
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Based in Lagos, Orange Culture is the brainchild of Nigerian designer Adebayo Oke-Lawal, who serves up streetwear sweatshirts in vibrant hues and oversized button-downs in traditional Nigerian patterns and fabrics.
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Courtesy of stylist Nasrin Jean-Baptiste, Petit Kouraj — which translates to "little courage" in Haitian Creole — is a line of beautifully crafted handbags that are each made by hand in Haiti and sold out of the designer's studio in Brooklyn.
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counts A-listers like Beyoncé and Zendaya as fans — no surprise given the brand’s mix of timeless silhouettes in unexpected designs and its coveted outwear styles.
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Founded in 2015 by lifelong best friends Sadé Lewis and Shaniya Charles, Sadé + Shaniya is a fashion brand grounded in creativity, innovation, womanhood, and culture, according to their website. Their standout item? The Mora bag
, an iridescent wristlet bag that, at $60, is also affordable.
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A favorite of Kendall Jenner, Dua Lipa, and Bella Hadid (to name a few), L.A.'s Sami Miro Vintage, which was founded by designer and stylist Sami Miro, started off as a sustainable brand
that sold one-of-a-kind vintage pieces. Now offered in a more traditional ready-to-wear format, Sami Miro's pieces continue to be made sustainably from existing upcycled and vintage fabrics.
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Size-inclusive, diverse, and unapologetically confident, Rihanna’s lingerie brand Savage x Fenty has been an innovator in the lingerie space since the brand’s launch in 2018, both in terms of the branding and its epic runway shows
. Rihanna made history again last year, as LVMH's first black female designer, with the release of her luxury fashion label Fenty
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A popular Brooklyn-based concept store and e-retailer owned by Kai Avent-deLeon, Sincerely, Tommy carries everything from clothing, shoes, and jewelry to home decor and wellness products.
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Vibrant dresses, puff-sleeved blouses, flouncy skirts — Stella Jean, a womenswear brand founded by a Haitian-Italian designer, is full of summer-ready pieces. It's not all about the styles, though. The brand is also dedicated to ethical practices and uplifting multicultural ideals.
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CFDA Lexus Sustainable Fashion Award-winning brand Studio 189 was founded by Rosario Dawson and Abrima Erwiah
, and features artisan-made ready-to-wear pieces fashioned out of ethical fabrics and using natural dyes.
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Started in 2010 by Stoney Michelli and Uzo Ejikeme, Stuzo Clothing is a gender-neutral brand based in L.A.
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Self-taught footwear designer Sunni Dixon founded his line of artisan-made mules and boots in 2012. Dixon — who launched e-commerce mid-pandemic — draws design inspiration from a "broad range of creators in all industries and designing under multiple categories: contemporary, athletic/sneakers, women's, and men's," the brand's website
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London-based fashion brand Taideux has one mission: to make clothing for bustier women more accessible. That, and doing so ethically by only selling handmade pieces.
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Founder of unisex line Telfar, Telfar Clemens has, from the beginning, said that his line is for everyone. He seconded that message when bots began buying up all of the stock
of his "Bushwick Birkin"
bags and reselling them for a higher price. “Telfar is for the people, not bots,” he shared via Instagram stories in the wake of the sellout, before launching an innovative Bag Security Program
that ensured everyone got one.
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Thebe Magugu may have just staged his debut at Paris Fashion Week this past February, but his name — and thoughtful womenswear brand — was already on everyone's minds. Born out of South Africa, his luxury label combines high-quality, beautiful clothing and accessories with a sense of culture and history. It's no wonder he won the coveted LVMH Prize for Young Designers in 2019
, becoming the first African designer to win the prize, ever
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Jamaican-born designer Edvin Thomspon is known by the Brooklyn fashion community for creating clothing for those who celebrate all aspects of life — good and bad. His collections are autobiographical, symbolizing his own struggles and triumphs and drawing from his experience growing up in Kingston before moving to New Jersey and later New York.
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Nigerian-born, London-raised designer Tia Adeola made her NYFW debut (as Slashed by Tia) in 2018 in an explosion of ruffles. But even before then, her styles were seen on the likes of SZA and Kali Uchis.
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Seattle-based jewelry designer Valerie Madison's pieces are not only stunning but also sustainably made. Madison studied environmental science, which led to her making fine jewelry — which includes standout engagement and wedding rings — out of recycled mixed metals and all-natural, precious gemstones.
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designs each piece for her handbag brand Vavvoune out of a small house studio in Brooklyn. After, her leather creations are sent to NYC's Garment District to be manufactured locally, with the scrap leather being donated directly to art programs across the U.S.
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A designer who recently made (deserved!) headlines for extending his sizing, Victor Glemaud is known for his knitwear dresses and separates and the diversity of models he casts for his shows.
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Launched in 2014, Grace Wales Bonner is a U.K.-based men's and women's wear designer whose pieces are a hybrid of European and African styles. In addition to winning the BFC/Vogue
Designer Fashion Fund in 2019, Wales Bonner has also collaborated with Dior's creative director Maria Grazia Chiuri on the fashion house's Resort '20 collection.
Jade Gedeon founded We Dream In Colour in New York City in 2002 before moving her design studio, where she and her team make every jewelry item by hand, to Salem, Massachusetts. Through her vintage-inspired collection of jewelry items, Gedeon hopes to "kick up your look" and "add a little lushness to your every day," according to her website