The black dollar is mighty, and something we've seen a heavy emphasis on in the last eight or so months. Black-owned businesses, especially black-owned clothing brands, seemed to boom in the summer with thousands of online media platforms publishing one listicle after the other. While the listicles have stopped and fewer brands are standing behind the black squares posted on Instagram, black-owned clothing brands are still of the utmost importance.
Historically, the global fashion industry is one of the most underrepresented industries, and that stands true today. For a centuries-old industry, the amount of 'firsts' we've experienced in the past decade is unfathomable. With initiatives like the 15% Pledge, the Black in Fashion Council, and Pull-Up or Shut Up, the dialogue has heightened but actions are still lacking. It will be up to us as a community to show the importance of black-owned clothing by using the black dollar.
With the holidays being one of the busiest seasons of the year, it's important to continue the conversations about shopping black. Below is a list of some black-owned clothing brands to add to your shopping list, no matter the recipient!
Founded by Kerby Jean-Raymond and one of the leaders in the black fashion movement, Pyer Moss is a men's and womenswear fashion label concerned with building a narrative that speaks about heritage and activism. The stunning silhouettes and exquisite use of color are only one part of why this brand is so groundbreaking. Raymond uses his platform to highlight the narratives of the black community, giving a voice to the people behind the inspiration.
If your style borders on professional and sophisticated, Jovana Louis is the label for you. Influenced by French and Caribbean cultures, Jovana Louis was co-founded by Jovana and her husband to create exceptional couture pieces that hug a woman's body perfectly. From the red carpet to reality TV to magazine covers, Jovana Louis is the chosen designer for dynamic and dramatic looks.
Few designers are Beyonce-approved, and Christopher John Rogers is one of them. The NYC-based designer started a label that served to create emotional and sensitive clothing with a focus on effortful dressing. Aside from draping Beyonce for British Vogue, the brand dabbles in ready-to-wear and streetwear, as well as custom-made pieces.
A brand that is equal parts philanthropic and fashionable, A.Au is a lifestyle brand that directly caters to worldly, multidimensional women of today. Each piece is sourced and made in Nigeria by the hand of advanced ateliers, resulting in the most sophisticated and unique clothing. Additionally, 10 percent of every sale goes to building an education bursary in Abua that will fund the next generation through university.
An attainable clothing brand with a luxury aesthetic, Kai Collective is famous for the original GAIA Dress. Started by London-based Fisayo Longe, KAI seeks to create clothing for multi-dimensional women who embrace their femininity in all its various forms. An exquisite combination of statement pieces and luxury staples, Kai Collective has a mission to inspire women with that extra dose of confidence.
A self-taught Congolese designer that brought her designs from IG to NYFW runways, Anifa designed Hanifa with one thing in mind: black women. No stranger to mainstream media, Anifa made headlines when she debuted her Pink Label Congo collection on a virtual model during the height of quarantine. The clientele list is A-list and the designs are for women at every turn of her lifestyle.
If sustainability is important to you, Brother Vellies is the brand for you. Brother Vellies was founded with the goal of keeping traditional African design practices while creating and sustaining artisanal jobs. Since its inception, Brother Vellies has been featured in major publications like VOGUE, received several CFDA awards, and has dressed celebrities like Elaine Welteroth, Solange, and Laura Harrier. The founder, Aurora James, is a huge community activist and started 15% Pledge, which asks major retailers to dedicate 15 percent of shelf space to black-owned businesses, especially black-owned clothing brands.
Named for his daughter and late mother, James Rembert created ALIETTE with the idea that strength, beauty, and grace could coexist in one powerful conception. This modern luxury brand expertly blends traditional design and innovative fantasy, creating exceptional pieces that are as unique as the woman who wears it.
A ready-to-wear brand with a bigger mission in mind, Stella Jean has been a force in fashion since showcasing her 2014 collection at Giorgio Armani's Teatro. The designer, for who the brand is named, uses her collections to articulate a beauty that is rarely seen and transcends borders. Recently, Jean made headlines as one of five black Italian designers handpicked to show at the first digital Milan Fashion Week.
This Brooklyn-based womenswear collection is comprised of the most luxurious staples while evoking sensuality and sensibility. The influence derives directly from the designer, whose penchant for vibrant colors, travel, and her Caribbean heritage are all reflected in every aspect of this label. Aside from designing beautiful silhouettes for women, she also founded the Fe Noel foundation, a program for young girls who are passionate about entrepreneurship.
Undra Duncan, founder and creative director for Undrea Celeste, isn't new to the fashion world, even if her brand is considered emerging. A 12+ year veteran in fashion, Undra founded her namesake label to provide quality modern workwear to multicultural women. The pieces transition perfectly from day to night and the perfect balance of statement and staples.
This West-Coast brand has the most effortless yet stylish pieces for your everyday wardrobe. Inspired by the ease of LA, each collection by Eclectic Bella is the catalyst where quality and affordability meet. The handpicked pieces range from relaxed athleisure to late-night staples, and at an affordable price point without sacrificing style.
Inspired by color, ethnic cultures, and nature, Andrea Iyamah is a ready-to-wear label that dabbles in custom-made special event dresses. Started by a Nigerian designer who shares the name, Andrea Iyamah caters to fearless females who exude confidence and adventure. Through incredible perseverance and determination, the brand has dressed celebrities like Ciara, Gabrielle Union, and Issa Rae.
Based out of Atlanta, Citrus Husk is a ready-to-wear brand that beautifully blends classic pieces with West African roots. From work-from-home must-haves to date-night staples, there's something for everyone. You can also shop the 'West African Shop', that honors the strength and style of Ghanaian women with authentic prints and handmade pieces. All items in the West African Shop are created in Ghana, and all clothing is made with genuine Ankara cotton.
We all know how stressful swimsuit shopping can be, but Nomads Swimwear makes it effortless. Founded on bridging the gap of size inclusivity, Nomads focus on bold swim styles and highlights that real size inclusion is possible. The sizes range from small-4x and adorned with unique prints and patterns inspired by travel and beauty.
One of the more playful brands on our list, Imad Eduso corners the market in sophisticated and functional pieces for the modern woman. A line dripped in vibrant colors, youthful silhouettes, and overstated drama, the brand is focused on creating versatile pieces that are contemporary and timeless.
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