As the recent murder of George Floyd and other Black citizens at the hands of police has incited international protests, rage and many other reactions, one thing has become clear: our country has a great amount of work to do. While immediate actions, such as donating to charitable causes, voicing desire for law change and convictions are helpful, activism does not end with one single action. Though difficult, it is time to start questioning all the institutionalized systems we have in place and consciously address the easily-ignored details of how we spend our every day lives – and how we spend our money.
Black ideas and culture are often watered-down and re-packaged by non-marginalized groups, and it is no secret that the fashion industry has been the culprit of such cultural appropriation. As a country built on capitalism and an industry riddled with racism reflecting US history, there is dispropotionate success amongst non-Black designers in comparison to their Black counterparts. As a consumer, every brand we support with our hard-earned money is a testament to what we value. If we are to be aligned with the idea that Black Lives Matter, it is time to prove it in more ways than one. We are looking to support Black-owned fashion brands not as a diversity checklist, but because their talent has proven to be worthy of our physical and financial attention.
We've included 24 Black-owned fashion brands we are honored to give our support to not just today, but year-round. Shopping with these brands is an everlasting and intentional way to spend your money.
Christopher John Rogers
Winner of the 2019 CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund, Christopher John Rogers is now one of the most well-known Black designers. At only age 26, his unforgettable, signature designs have dresssed influential women such as Michelle Obama, Lizzo, and Tracee Ellis Ross to name a few.
CEO Kerby Jean-Raymond has worked to build a narrative through his clothing that speaks on activism and heritage. Known equally for using his voice to address racism and discrimination within the fashion industry, Jean-Raymond has utilized fashion as a tool to spark change, shifting the horizons of meaningful menswear.
SAVAGE X FENTY
The vocal and inclusive brand is headed by none other than one of the most well-known Black icons. In 2019, Rihanna was named LVMH’s first Black designer after the establishment of Fenty. Since, the brand has seen nothing but growth and recognition for the consistently relevant and non-conforming designs.
LaQuan Smith launched his brand in 2013. Known for his body-hugging dresses that were made for flaunting, the designer instills confidence in women and prioritizes inclusive sizing. Channeling his unique designs through extraordinarily bold colors and femine silhouettes, Smith encourages individuality and authenticity.
Aurora James is the CEO of Brother Vellies, and one of the biggest activists you will ever meet. After witnessing the violent demonstrations that took place this past week, James has insisted that the retailers that sell her handcrafted accessories line (including Saks Fifth Avenue and Net-A-Porter) commit to buying at least 15% of their products from Black-owned businesses.
Telfar Clemens, the CEO of Telfar, has created designs worn by the likes of Dua Lipa, Selena Gomez and Solange. The 35 year old Queens, New York native was nominated for the CFDA American Accessories Design Brand of the year award in 2019 and his now famous signature logo handbag has been affectionately renamed amongst customers as "The Birkin of Brooklyn". Clemens reinvigorates activism through fashion and inclusivity by utilizing his voice through his genderless designs.
London-based label, by Camille Perry & Holly Wright, has the best simple slip dresses a woman could ever ask for. Their collections also include blouses and flowing trousers made out of silks and organic cotton in subtle colour palettes. Perry and Wright equally advocate for women in business and the African American community.
Stella Jean is recognized as the first Black Italian designer. Fueling the pillars of a multicultural society, Jean uses bold patterns and bright colors to create her fashion identity. Once known to be Giorgio Armani’s protegé, the designer is now capturing the importance of individualism through her clothing.
Founded in 2014 by Grace Wales Bonner, this menswear collection (womenswear coming soon!), is the perfect brand for modern designs and great tailoring. Known to address the affairs of race and sexuality through her collections, Bonner makes strides as a politically vocal designer.
Designer and DJ Heron Preston works to redefine art. The famous streetwear brand is most famously known for their recent Nike collaboration and NASA hoodie seen on celebrities everywhere. Intermingling modernism and abstraction, Preston works to make strides towards sustainability and culture.
This Nigerian owned brand aims to make an inclusive line for women to embrace their femininity. CEO Fisayo Longe is a London based designer that merges fashion and travel to inspire her designs.
Sindiso Khumalo focuses on textile sustainability. The Capetown-based womenswear brand was a LVMH Prize finalist in early 2020 and is known for incorporate patterns found in nature in collections.
Fe Noel shifts the Eurocentric portrayal of fashion through designs that mix Renaissance art and designer Felisha Noel's Grenada identity. The vibrant designs have been worn by Michelle Obama and Beyonce.
CEO Amira Rasool brings contemporary African fashion to the global community with her new online boutique. With headquarters in Cape Town, South Africa and New York City, Rasool debuts twenty-two emerging designers that encompass culture and heritage on The Folklore website.
Founded in 2008, Cushnie is a luxury women’s ready-to-wear brand. Designed by Carly Cushnie, it aims to inspire the next generation of female designers while showcasing body-conscious clothing for the modern woman.
Originally established in 2012 by Anifa Mvuemba, Anifa has recently made waves for her innovative 3D model digital runway presentation in light of quarantine measures made necessary by the Coronavirus. The digital show quickly went viral for its foward-thinking qualities and challenged the creativity of her peers in producing designs in the age of a pandemic.
Victor Glemaud uses his dress designs to tell a story. Glemaud is known to celebrate femininity, and his color-blocking designs are immensely popular among fashion insiders.
Founded by Ethiopian supermodel Liya Kebede, Lem Lem is a resortwear brand known for its ethical craftsmanship. The sustainable label helps to create jobs for Ethiopian local artists as well as preserve the weaving techniques present in Ethiopian communities.
This Nigerian brand focuses on reinventing consumers' perspective of luxury fashion. A small group of Nigeria-based artists and designers worked under founder, Kenneth Ize, to create and produce well-crafted clothing. Naomi Campbell is one of this emerging designer's most ardent fans.
This Brooklyn-based accessory and jewelry designer knows a thing or two about innovation. Famous for her cage handbag design, the brand commited to always making a statement.
This urban menswear line was created by Ouigi Theodore. The retro-prep brand finds inspiration in history. Telling the story of American style, Theodore uses slogans and simplistic design to cultivate culture.
Meshing utility and excessive detail, Nicholas Daley never fails to show up. The LVMH finalist uses his Scottish-Jamacian roots to enable a multicultural twist on his taste in menswear, encompassing true heritage.
Sarah Diouf is the creative mind behind Tongoro. In the last two years the brand has seen exponential growth after Beyonce debuted Diouf’s designs in her 2019 Spirit music video. The strictly e-commerce brand was established after Diouf saw how successful fast fashion was and decided to make a change.
Offering both bespoke and ready-to-wear apparel, Casely-Hayford advocates for the practices of slow fashion. The London-based brand, founded by Joe Casely-Hayford, OBE, takes appointments in-store to offer expert tailoring services and assure a modernized take on classic suiting. Today, Casely-Hayford's son Charlie leads the brand.