Celebrate Black History Month in style
It's Black History Month and as this year's theme is "Saluting our Sisters", it's a brilliant time to shine a light on the black owned businesses you can support right now - many of which are women owned too.
New York based Aurora James, founder of Brother Vellies, previously spoke out about where big retailers were falling short, announcing: "So many of your businesses are built on Black spending power. So many of your stores are set up in Black communities. So many of your sponsored posts are seen on Black feeds. This is the least you can do for us. We represent 15% of the population and we need to represent 15% of your shelf space."
Aurora started the 15% percent pledge, and retailers have started to notice, but there is much more to be done. As a consumer, if you want to help, you can get involved by reassessing how you spend your money, and supporting black-owned brands and businesses.
Over in the UK, Black Pound Day was launched a few years ago, which encourages shoppers, on the first Saturday of the month, to buy from local and online Black-owned businesses rather than their usual stores. It's an easy and achievable call-to-action that will go a long way towards re-adjusting the economical imbalance that we see across the UK and globally.
With that in mind, here are some incredible designers of colour - such as Louisia-born Christopher John Rogers, whose iconic and colourful designs have been worn by everyone from Beyonce and Rihanna to Michelle Obama - and Black owned fashion brands - such as the timeless TOVE and Cushnie - some UK-based and others from around the globe (which deliver worldwide by the way), that you can discover now.
Scroll down for a mix of gorgeous dresses, swimwear, blouses, handbags and accessories, where to buy them and our top shopping picks.
Míe is a lifestyle brand that provides design and fashion consciously made to be nature-friendly. Their focus is on resort wear, made with natural and biodegradable fabrics, that are breathable, elegant and functional, for conscious women and all women with refined taste. All clothes are locally made by seamstresses and artisans in Lagos, Nigeria.
A A K S was founded by Akosua Afriyie-Kumi with the goal of introducing the world to her favourite weaving techniques done by the women of Ghana while also creating and igniting sustainable jobs within Africa. Shop the unique and colourful bags hand-crafted in Ghana.
London-based duo Camille Perry and Holly Wright wanted to pool their experience in the fashion industry to create timeless clothing that balances modernity and femininity.
This store on vintage finds and handmade pieces embellished with the treasures of tropical islands.
Toronto-native and New York City-transplant, Creative Director and Founder Aurora James founded the brand in 2013 with the goal of keeping traditional African design practices, and techniques alive while also creating and sustaining artisanal jobs. Her pieces are vintage-inspired and one-of-a-kind.
A ‘leather accessories hinting spunk in effortless ways of impression’ founded by self taught designer/artisan Valerie Blaise, in Brooklyn New York. All designs are made in house.
UK-based Maison Bent was created by Shanna Bent, an alumni of Central Saint Martins and London College of Fashion, who showcased her first collection in February 2020. Enlightened by heterogenous disciplines entailing literature, art, sustainable practises and history, Maison Bent celebrates a plurality of perspectives, sharing stories through finery for the “femme du mode”.
Founded by Maïna in 2015, Underargument ‘exists to remind ourselves to always embrace authenticity. So we can find our vision, fulfil our purpose, and simply live our best lives.’ Designed to remind the wearer to embrace everything that makes them them the labels site has become a platform for sharing authentic, inclusive stories that empower. Expect beautiful sets with thought provoking stories - all the models on site were selected for the stories they chose to share with the brand - part of Maïna's innovative anti-casting policy.
Mixing African and French influences, the collections are feminine and chic, and created in limited numbers to promote sustainability.
Shola Ajayi is a British born, Nigerian descent designer based in London. Her tailoring is anything but boring, thanks to colourful details and cut outs.
CUSHNIE is a luxury women’s ready-to-wear and bridal brand designed by Carly Cushnie. Established in 2008, the label was founded on the desire to serve the modern woman.
Earth Toned Collective is a sustainable and ethical women’s apparel brand. Designing with the Earth in mind via eco friendly, and revived materials.
This luxury sustainable brand was founded by fashion editor and stylist Brittany Kozerski. Her aesthetic is minimal and flattering.
This New York-based jewellery brand was created by self-taught designer Matthew Harris launched Mateo New York in 2009 with a contemporary jewellery offering, taking inspiration from the working man’s toolbox. Starting off as a men’s collection, a women’s line was added in 2014.
This LA-based brand was founded by Alexandra Bunch, and focuses on simple and timeless designs made sustainably, using deadstock material to reduce waste and carbon footprint.
Sincerely Nude was founded by London based Michelle Asare in 2018, because she ‘noticed that I could never find any nude clothing close to my skin tone whenever I went shopping or even browsing online. This realisation became somewhat of frustration as I noticed it everywhere I went. I’ve always loved fashion and it felt dear to my heart to be part of the change I wanted to see in the world. From a discussion to fruition. Sincerely Nude wants to empower women to feel beautiful and sexy in their skin tone no matter what shade or size.’
Central St Martins graduate Sindiso Khumalo is a sustainable textile designer based in Cape Town, who creates modern sustainable textiles with a strong emphasis on African story telling. You can’t buy her creations online yet but watch this space.
SIKA was founded in 2005 by creative director Phyllis Taylor with the vision that fashion has the power and potential to make a positive contribution to society. All SIKA garments are designed in London and handmade in Ghana (West Africa) by our skilled garment production team.
Established in August 2016, Kai Collective is a London-based womenswear brand of attainable clothing with luxury aesthetics founded by fashion and travel blogger, Fisayo Longe.
Founded in 2015, by London-based designer Nina Hopkins, Jakke is an ethical fashion brands that specialises in creating animal friendly, cruelty free garments. While Jakke is known for its fun, faux fur jackets, the brand has also expended into dresses, knitwear and more.
Launched at London Fashion Week 2020, this modest label created by Deborah Latouche focuses on occasion wear in luxurious fabrics.
andVerv is a London based contemporary womenswear brand. Eschewing ideas of trends or seasons, its intention is to create - with consideration - a continuous conversation with our woman.
Lisou is a London-based fashion brand specialising in beautiful silk pieces with a twist, founded by Tanzania-born Rene MacDonald.