When it comes to Black pride, it's something we wear loudly and proudly on our hearts and our on our sleeves. Self-expression is one of the many ways we celebrate and unapologetically uplift who we are as people. From popular sayings to mantras, we have an array of elements that remind us of how creative, how dope, and how multifaceted we are as a people, and dope ass apparel is a way for what we wear to speak for us. Style is an extension of self-expression, so quite literally some black-owned apparel and accessory companies aid in that freedom of owning the fullness of ourselves as well as our love affair with our people.
Since the 2020 Revolution started, everyone has been doing their research about how to support the culture. xoNecole has always been in the business of highlighting black women-owned businesses, so the new trend of supporting black businesses is actually our mission. Keeping that same energy, we rounded up some women making waves in the apparel realm.
Photo Courtesy of Raven Nichole
"I was born and raised in Phoenix, Arizona. I founded Legendary Rootz while attending Arizona State University and earning my Bachelor of Science degree in Biochemistry. I love all things creative and I was inspired to create Legendary Rootz because I needed a safe space to just be myself. My ultimate goal is to inspire Black girls worldwide that they can accomplish anything they put their hearts to. I want the world to know that this brand is more than just a business. It represents the messages and encouragement that's been poured into me that I hope every Black girl and Black woman internalize. My passion for reclaiming our history and celebrating black culture pushes me to strive for that vision."
On The Why Behind Legendary Rootz:
"Whenever I looked around, whether that be on TV or in magazines, I didn't see anyone who looked like me. There wasn't a space where I could vent about things that were important to me such as my natural hair or even the microaggressions I faced in daily life. To be honest, when I started, I did not have the vision of starting a business. I just knew that I wanted a safe space where I could be my authentic self and express my blackness comfortably.
"I remember going to visit a local college in one of the smaller cities in Phoenix. While there, a student came up to me and told me how much she loved the brand. She went on to tell me how her little sister was being bullied at school about her hair and skin tone. After she found out about it, she grabbed a few Legendary Rootz items for her and she said how much that helped her. Knowing that my art could be of help is all I needed to keep creating and pouring into this brand."
Photo Courtesy of Nareasha Willis
"I am a fashion designer from Jersey City, NJ. I'm a firm believer to always create what you want to be a part of. I'm inspired daily by my ancestors. AVNU targets the modern-day fashion activist who loves fashion and acknowledges the importance of its role in our society. AVNU is unafraid to disrupt the fashion industry by setting its own trends. Featuring an array of controversial statements, colors, and textures, AVNU boldly creates a voice for garments, and the individuals wearing them."
On The Why Behind AVNU:
"I used to feel like I didn't have a place in the fashion industry. I always felt like an outsider in the industry that I loved the most. I was dismissed and told 'no' so many times that I finally created my own lane to pursue whatever avenues I had in mind in celebration of my Blackness. Initially, Avenue N was a fashion blog that highlighted Black designers. It later birthed my own fashion line, AVNU."
Photo Courtesy of Holly Draper
"Draped is a handmade headwrap and clothing boutique dedicated to helping the outspoken modern woman outwardly express her innermost authentic self through our bold fashion power pieces. I founded Draped in 2016 after losing my job as a drug and alcohol counselor. Sewing was already a hobby of mine and in my huge amount of spare time, I started creating and designing my own clothes and accessories. We pride ourselves at Draped in handcrafting many of our pieces with daring prints and vibrant colors. Many of our prints are sourced from West Africa. We also are proud of our original tee line which boasts bold female empowerment statements."
On The Why Behind Draped:
"Here at Draped, we support and source many of our unique jewelry pieces from local female jewelry artisans. We truly believe in sisterhood, supporting small businesses, and straight-up celebrating girl-power! Draped's goal is to inspire and create more contagiously confident women inside and out. I started Draped to create a space for women (especially women of color), to boldly express who they are. I want to help the modern woman outwardly express their inner-most authentic self. I want the world to know that Draped's goal is to inspire more women to be contagiously confident. Our motto is 'Rock it. Own it. Spread your colors'. And I hope that more woman take the time to embrace who they truly are."
Photo Courtesy of Kalilah Wright
"I'm a Jamaican native, born and raised in Brooklyn, but have made Baltimore my home. The quintessential creative, my mind is always going thinking of new MESSages, business ideas and ways to continue our growth. If you know me or follow me on social media, you'll see that I'm never shying away from the ups, downs and sideways of not just business but life in general. I do all of this while also being a mom to my son Kaiden."
On The Why Behind Mess in a Bottle:
"I started Mess in a Bottle as a way to be vocal about my feelings, injustices and life in general without having to say a word at all. As the company grew, I realized so many other people agreed with me and I've been able to continue to create MESSages that resonate deeply with others.
"I want the world to know that we all have a MESSage and we're here to help everyone share them. Everyone may not be as vocal but it is important to give a voice to the voiceless, to stand in solidarity and be the catalyst for important conversations. No matter how you feel about a particular subject matter, sharing your MESSage allows others to think past their own experiences or beliefs."
Featured image by @shopavnu/Instagram