This story was originally published on June 1, 2020.
The fashion industry has a long history of exploiting Black creatives — and it’s not a problem that only exists in the past. While some of today’s most prominent fashion designers are Black — including Kerby Jean-Raymond of Pyer Moss, Aurora James of Brother Vellies, Carly Cushnie of Cushnie, and Christopher John Rogers — they don't always have the same support. As James noted in a recent Instagram post, it is imperative for both long-established brands and everyday consumers to do the work of helping Black-owned businesses. James calls for brands like Net-A-Porter, Target, Whole Foods, Sephora, and Saks Fifth Avenue to commit to buying 15% of their products from Black-owned businesses, explaining that companies of this magnitude have the power to offset existing racial disparities — they just have to use it.
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.
A A K S founder Akosua Afriyie-Kumi handcrafts her raffia bags and accessories using traditional weaving methods she learned in Ghana, where artisans make every A A K S piece.
The brand behind some of Ezra Miller's, Issa Rae's, and Ciara's best red carpet ensembles, Aliétte's collection of cocktail wear comes courtesy of celebrity stylist Jason Rembert.
Ethical and sustainable practices are at the forefront of this Bay Area-based label, which was founded in 2015 by designer Aliya Wanek.
Nigerian designer Dumebi Iyamah created her label Andrea Iyamah with the intention of designing clothing — swimwear especially — inspired by her ethnic culture.
Known for its patchwork baguette bags and ready-to-wear pieces, sustainable brand Asata Maisé crafts all pieces by hand
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.
Craftsmanship and simplicity are at the center of this Brooklyn-based jewelry brand.
A line of handcrafted, sustainable shoes and handbags, Brother Vellies is a favorite of the fashion crowd. In response to the current protests, its creative founder, Aurora James, has called on retailers, like Net-A-Porter and Saks Fifth Avenue, to commit to buying 15% of their products from Black-owned businesses.
One of our favorite NYFW shows, 2019 CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund winner Christopher John Rogers inspired us
with the brand's showcase of bold colors and dramatic fabrics that will make you excited to dress up.
This content is currently unavailable. Check it out from your desktop or on our web app!
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.
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.
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.
London-based Nigerian designer Duro Olowu is beloved by many A-listers. Notable among them: Michelle Obama, Solange Knowles, and Iris Apfel.
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.
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.
Last month, 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
Congolese designer behind Hanifa, Anifa Mvuemba made headlines last week 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.
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 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.
Created by iconic designer Tracy Reese, Hope For Flowers is a womenswear label that's wholly dedicated to designing clothing without adding to the world's environmental impact.
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.
For swimwear needs, fashion editor and stylist Brittany Kozerski’s Jade Swim carries high-quality, minimalist designs with a twist.
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.
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.
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.
James Flemons, the designer behind Gen Z favorite fashion brand PHLEMUNS, is the
label to know right now. 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.
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.
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.
London-based menswear designer Martine Rose has been a favorite amongst Britain's fashion scene since she launched her eponymous brand in 2007.
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 homeless people in Miami during COVID19.
Founded by London-based Nigerian designer Mowalola Ogunlesi, Mowalola specializes in '90s-inspired silhouettes paired with design techniques courtesy of her African heritage.
LA-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.
Made "with joy" in Brooklyn, Octave Jewelry is stocked full of Mother of Pearl chandelier earrings and sterling silver rings accessorized with opal and abalone.
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.
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.
Pyer Moss’ Kerby Jean-Raymond has always been a proponent of inclusivity and activism in fashion. His last September show
, for example, was dedicated to uncovering “stories of black peoples’ contribution to popular American culture.”
Romeo Hunte 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.
Size-inclusive, diverse, and unapologetically confident, Rihanna’s Savage x Fenty, both the brand and its runway shows
, has been an innovator in the lingerie space since the brand’s launch in 2018. Rihanna made history again last year, as LVMH's first black female designer, with the release of her luxury fashion label Fenty.
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.
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.
Vibrant dresses, puff-sleeved blouses, flouncy skirts — Stella Jean, a womenswear brand founded by Haitian-Italian, is full of summer-ready pieces. It's not all about the clothing, though. The brand is also dedicated to ethical practices and uplifting multicultural ideals.
Started in 2010 by Stoney Michelli and Uzo Ejikeme, Stuzo Clothing is a gender-neutral brand based in L.A.
Founder of unisex line Telfar, Telfar Clemens has from the beginning said that his line is for everyone. For proof, look no further than the success of the “Bushwick Birkin
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
Launched in 2014, Grace Wales Bonner is a UK-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.