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Black designers are really doing big things these days. From streetwear and athleisure to formalwear and straight-up haute couture, the creatives behind Black-owned fashion brands definitely have the range.
While you may be tempted to keep hitting up the same stores you always shop, why not mix things up for the culture? Whether you’re doing a seasonal closet update or you’re looking for a standout piece for a special occasion, the Black-owned fashion brands below offer something for everyone.
Supporting Black-owned businesses isn’t just something to do in February; it should be happening all. the. time. Luckily, the Black-owned fashion brands below make it easy to shop Black, and to do it fabulously.
Founder: Akosua Afriyie-Kumi
About the Brand: Since launching in 2014, Akosua Afriyie-Kumi’s handbag company AAKS has become a handbag brand to watch. All of AAKS’ pieces are handmade in Ghana and thoughtfully designed. The creations “maintain the spirit and durability of their ancestral counterparts characterized by bright, exuberant colors.” These gorgeous handbags are made of “ecologically harvested” raffia and leather and take about seven days to construct. Each bag is inherently unique and has its own signature tag of authenticity.
Read more about AAKS here.
Founder: Dumebi Iyamah
About the Brand: Owned by Nigerian fashion designer Dumebi Iyamah, Andrea Iyamah is one of the most authentic resort brands I’ve ever seen. Filled with retro colors and modern silhouettes, the next time you’re in the market for swimwear or a chic beachside ensemble, consider this Black-owned fashion brand known for its eccentric designs.
Founder: Buki Ade
About the Brand: Buki Ade has created a collection of anything-but-basic swimwear. The Nigerian-American designer and entrepreneur dreamt up B Fyne after she realized that the fashion industry was lacking unique swimwear with an emphasis on culture. Her designs have been featured on the cover of Vogue, Glamour and Sports Illustrated.
Founder: Brandon Blackwood
About the Brand: The Brooklyn-native designer, who launched his namesake label with a four piece collection back in 2015, has quickly grown a contemporary leather goods brand, including everything from handbags, trunks, backpacks and wallets. The Jamaican-Chinese designer only uses ethically sourced materials, and works with craftsmen in Asia, Europe and the US.
Read more about Brandon Blackwood here.
Founder: Aurora James
About the Brand: Under the creative direction of Aurora James, Brother Vellies’ collection of handcrafted shoes and handbags from South Africa, Ethiopia, Kenya and Morocco has become one of the most coveted brands amongst fashion “It” girls and celebrities. James has been committed to using locally sourced textiles and employing artisans from these places whom she pays a living wage.
Christopher John Rogers
Founder: Christopher John Rogers
About the Brand: Don’t @ me, but Christopher John Rogers is by far the most important and exciting designer to come out of New York Fashion Week in recent seasons. The 26-year-old Louisiana-born designer won the 2019 CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund and has since dressed everyone from Rihanna to Tracee Ellis Ross and more. Rogers’ refreshing approach to the runway comes in the form of rich fabrics and fearless, bold colors. You can shop his collection exclusively online at Net-A-Porter.
Founder: Elyon Adede
About the Brand: This stunning resort-wear brand focuses on sustainably Nigerian craftsmanship using locally sourced yarn. With advanced crochet designs at the forefront, Elexiay’s stunning pieces are all handmade by female sartorially advanced crocheters.
Founder: Felicia Noel
About the Brand: Based in Brooklyn, Felicia Noel has quickly become one of my biggest fashion inspirations. The influence of her Caribbean heritage can easily be seen throughout her collection of vibrant and cool designs. If you’re looking to elevate your wardrobe basics, I suggest checking out Fe Essentials. From an updated take on the classic white button-down to everyday trousers, Fe Noel has you covered.
Fear of God
Founder: Jerry Lorenzo
About the Brand: Jerry Lorenzo built his pioneering streetwear label on the idea of providing people “solutions to their closet.” Lorenzo’s Fear Of God, which he launched from the ground up, is one of the originators of high-end streetwear, making its mark before it became mainstream. The brand has gone on to do major capsule collections with Nike and has developed a fanbase of loyal customers.
Founder: Dami Adepoju
About the Brand: Black-owned fashion brand FINI is unlike most sneaker brands that you’ll come across. If you take the kicks at face value, the designs are cool as is. However, what makes the brand unique is that you can destruct and reconstruct the sneakers with Fini’s shoe attachments. Depending on the shoe, the brand includes one to three separate shoe attachments to transform your kick into high tops, low tops and mid-tops with the choice of zippers or laces. Options range from the simpler Bold Desert, which features a zipper attachment, to the more elaborate Fini Classic White “Snow”, which comes with three attachments to change the height and style of the shoe itself.
Read more about FINI here.
Founder: Beyoncé Knowles
About the Brand: When Beyoncé initially launched her athleisure collection Ivy Park in 2016, she shared the company with Topshop and Topman owner Philip Green. After the businessman was accused of sexual misconduct and racial abuse toward staff members in 2018, the famously pro-Black superstar bought out Green’s 50 percent share of the company, making her the sole owner of the brand.
After teasing the then-forthcoming venture in a 2019 Elle Canada interview, Queen Bey re-launched the brand in collaboration with Adidas in January 2020. If the “Formation” singer had any doubts about the venture, they were quickly put to rest. The capsule collection sold out in minutes during its pre-sale launch, and worldwide, during its physical launch the next day. Authorized resellers still have a few pieces from the collection for sale, with Goat as one of the most reputable.
Founder: Brittany Freeney
About the Brand: Founded by fashion editor and stylist, Brittany Freeney, Jade Swim is a minimal collection of swimwear that is crafted from luxe fabric with shape retention technology to smooth and sculpt the body.
Read more about Jade Swim here.
Founder: Kenneth Ize
About the Brand: The Lagos-born fashion designer, who made his debut at Paris Fashion Week in February of 2020, has become synonymous for his signature handwoven stripes and checks. Crafting interwoven fabric into fringe that utilizes the heritage art of the Yoruba origin, Kenneth Ize is a name-to-know.
Founder: LaQuan Smith
About the Brand: LaQuan Smith, who started his namesake label at the age of 21, has quickly become one of New York’s most sought after fashion talents. Known for his sexy fabrications and bold prints, his collection of dresses is a must-have for a night out. His designs can be spotted on Beyoncé, Kim Kardashian and more A-listers.
Founder: Amber Tolliver
About the Brand: When Amber Tolliver set out to create Liberté, a premium lingerie brand, inclusivity was top-of-mind. The supermodel-turned-business-women, who self-funded the brand’s February 2019 launch, created her debut collection with 24 bra sizes ranging from 32C-38H. The New York-based brand, produced by artisans from all over the globe, uses high-quality fabrics like Italian lace and antimicrobial, moisture-wicking micro-jersey.
Read more about Liberté here.
Founder: Vera Moore
About the Brand: Love, Vera is a woman-owned, Black-owned lingerie brand known for its shade diversity that specifically caters to browner and darker skin tones. The line is now available at Nordstrom, and the selection there includes styles that are available up to a size 4X.
Read more about Love, Vera here.
Founder: Sherri McMullen
About the Brand: This luxury inclusive concept shop, founded by Sherri McMullen in 2007, houses some of the best labels in fashion included Jacquémus, Khaite, Christopher John Rogers and more. Women’s Wear Daily named McCullen one of the top boutiques in the country.
Founder: Kerby Jean-Raymond
About the Brand: The brainchild of Kerby Jean-Raymond, Pyer Moss has become a force in the fashion industry for not only its ambitious designs but also for the political stance that the brand represents. His work continues to focus on the power of understanding what it means to be Black in America. In 2019, it was announced that Jean-Raymond was appointed to the artistic director role at Reebok.
Founder: Toyin Omisore
About the Brand: Not all athleisure brands think about diverse body types and skin tones when creating their products. And that’s why Toyin Omisore stepped up and created Roam Loud. Her collection of premium activewear stands out amongst so many others because “brown skin is at the forefront and not an afterthought.” What does that mean in real life? Roam Loud’s styles fit and flatter many different body types; athleisure designed to complement brown skin.
Read more about Roam Loud here.
Founder: Romeo Hunte
About the Brand: Specializing in intricate details and strong outerwear, Romeo Hunte has become a permanent fixture at New York Fashion Week. The definitive lifestyle brand was founded in 2014 by the Fashion Institute of Technology graduate and has transformed the New York fashion scene for the better.
Founders: Gwendolyn Floyd, Catherine Mahugu, and Ella Peinovich
About the Brand: Soko is a women-led, people-first ethical jewelry brand that connects Kenyan artisans with global markets. According to their site, Soko uses “mobile technology to connect marginalized Kenyan artisans directly to the global marketplace,” focusing on technology that “enables the human workforce.” Essentially, the brand is building a virtual factory that connects artisans with others in their network. As a result, artisans working with Soko earn nearly five times more than an average artisan workshop.
Read more about Soko here.
Founder: Stoney Michelli
About the Brand: Gender-fluid Black-owned fashion brand, Stuzo, sends a with every single garment it creates. The collection includes tees, sweatshirts, joggers and accessories with phrases like “boi girl,” “Yup, still gay!” and “gender-free” emblazoned on them. “Fashion and the things that you wear is a form of self-expression. It really is what’s within. As we’ve seen over the years, it’s not just male and female. There are so many other aspects of who we are,” Michelli told In The Know. With many people having intersectional identities, Stuzo is a brand encouraging you to rock them all proudly.
Read more about Stuzo Clothing here.
Subrina Heyink Vintage
Founder: Subrina Heyink
About the Brand: This small bridal and designer vintage shop is a hidden gem when it comes to finding unique pieces. From archived Valentino to one-of-a-kind styles, you can follow the brand’s Instagram to shop vintage fashion that is hand-sourced by Subrina herself. Subrina grew up in Lagos, Nigeria, before moving to the U.S. to attend college and eventually become a fashion stylist.
Founder: Telfar Clemens
About the Brand: Founded by 35-year-old Telfar Clemens, his eponymous New York-based brand has quickly become one of the most sought after in the accessories space. In 2019, Telfar was nominated for a CFDA Award for the American Accessories Designer of the Year. If you’re in the market for an everyday practical tote that is not only high-quality but chic, we suggest the brand’s iconic Shopper bag.
Founder: Tia Adeola
About the Brand: Tia Adeola made her NYFW debut in February 2020. The Nigerian-born and London-raised designer initially rose to fame after her clothing brand, Slashed by Tia, went viral in the fashion world. Eventually, she rebranded to her full name and has since created forward-thinking designs with elements of sheer sexiness.
Founder: Victor Glemaud
About the Brand: The Haitian-born designer was a finalist in the 2017 CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund and has built an incredible brand of statement-making leisurewear. His collection of geometric knits and color-blocking styling is worth taking note of.
Founder: Grace Wales Bonner
About the Brand: Launched in 2014 by Grace Wales Bonner, the Central Saint Martins-alum is known for her tailored-to-perfection menswear and womenswear brand. Made up of classic wardrobe essentials, you can find Wales Bonner at Net-A-Porter, Ssense and more.
Contributors: Ari Bines, Ellie Conley, Moriba Cummings, Katie Dupere, Jeanine Edwards, Laura Galvan, Jamé Jackson, Julia Webb
If you found this story helpful, check out 75+ Black-owned brands to support today and every day.
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