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You may have heard of designer Aurora James from the 15 Percent Pledge she founded in 2020, which holds retailers accountable to committing 15 percent shelf-space to Black-owned businesses. But when she’s not working to change the retail industry’s infrastructure, James is busy running her wildly successful fashion label, Brother Vellies.
James’ authentic approach to fashion made her luxury accessories brand what it is today. Founded in 2013 with the goal of preserving traditional African design practices, the line of shoes and leather handbags quickly became one of the most coveted brands amongst fashion “it” girls and celebrities. Even Beyoncé and Zendaya are loyal fans.
Sustainability is at the forefront of Brother Vellies, with products made with vegetable-tanned leathers, recycled tires and floral dyed feathers. James even employs local artisans from South Africa, Kenya, Haiti, Mexico, Morocco, Ethiopia and more, paying a living wage.
Recently, global fashion search platform Lyst included Brother Vellies on its Brands To Watch in 2021 list. According to Lyst, searches for the brand increased 23 percent year-over-year in 2020. However, the Brooklyn-based label has already been recognized by fashion insiders over the years. In 2015, Brother Vellies won the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund. Just three years later, James was first Black women ever nominated for the Council of Fashion Designers of America’s Swarovski Award for Emerging Talent.
Check out some of the best-selling styles from Brother Vellies below. They’re sure to become the most coveted pieces in your closet.
Shop: Brother Vellies Lijadu Billfold Handbag, $1,295
Shop: Brother Vellies Wilson Loafer, $615
Shop: Brother Vellies Greg Shoe, $395
Shop: Brother Vellies Whiskey Nile Handbag, $995
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