Brother Vellies was launched by Aurora James in 2013 as a way to celebrate traditional African craftsmanship. The footwear and accessories label uses sustainable materials including vegetable-tanned leathers, recycled tires and hand-carved wood, with techniques that have been passed down for generations.
James has also called on larger corporations (such as Net-A-Porter and Saks Fifth Avenue) to stock more black-owned businesses on their platforms. "So many of your stores are set up in Black communities. So many of your sponsored posts are seen on Black feeds," she wrote. "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."
New York-based label is best described by its tagline, "It's not for you - it's for everyone". The unisex label was founded over a decade ago by designer Telfar Clemens, and its cult faux leather rectangular tote with the labels signature logo embossed on it is by far its most recognisable, with a plethora of loyal fans.
With a legion of celebrity fans, including Michelle Obama, Beyoncé, Padma Lakshmi and more, Cushnie has long been a fashion favourite since its inception in 2008. Designer Carly Cushnie says, “As a woman, I understand what my customer wants from her clothes. I’ve grown and evolved alongside her over the past 10 years, and I strive to present her with timeless silhouettes that make her feel sexy, sophisticated and powerful — all at once.”
Haitian-born designer Victor Glemaud launched his eponymous collection of statement knitwear, designed for "all people, genders, races, sizes and personalities", in 2006. Ashley Graham, Florence Pugh and Australia's own Margot Robbie have been seen in his designs, and most recently, the brand moved to include more size ranges.
For many women of colour, finding suitable skin-tone lingerie has long been a near-impossible mission. Founder Ade Hassan, frustrated by the lack of choice, decided to create the line carefully edited lingerie titled 'a different kind of nude'. "My nude isn’t the nude I see in shops," the designer says. "Despite the reality that women of colour have the same needs as all women when it comes to lingerie and hosiery, the industry simply doesn’t cater to us. So, I thought, it’s time to rethink the definition of nude."
Christopher John Rogers
Since launching his eponymous brand, Christopher John Rogers voluminous silhouettes, sharp tailoring and incredible use of bold colours have earned him spots on some of the most prestigious red carpets. The designer has dressed the likes of Tracee Ellis Ross, Ashley Graham and Michelle Obama.
AMA NWOKE's designs take concepts of femininity and molds them to create clothing that boldly represents the fearlessness of today's modern woman. Her brightly coloured two-piece suits and silk dresses perfectly blend the power and beauty of the female form.
Public School New York
Public School was founded by Maxwell Osborne and Dao-Yi in 2008 in a time before Instagram fashion was the new wave. Quickly garnering a reputation for their groundbreaking drops, the collections featured mostly black-and-white tailored pieces but has since grown to create a playful aesthetic that is uniquely their own. On top of their cult streetwear, the brand also actively paves conversation on social consciousness, "in hopes of pushing forward a new conversation into culture and the creative lineage that connects us all at this moment in time."
Savage x Fenty
A brand that needs no introduction, Savage x Fenty is the brainchild of Rihanna and is aimed at creating a more inclusive and diverse fashion industry. The brand is paving a new kind of fantasy, one grounded in reality; based on how women look, and how they want to be able to move in the pieces designed to make them feel their sexiest. In the wake of George Floyd's murder, the Savage x Fenty site is redirecting potential buyers to donate instead.
LaQuan Smith founded his eponymous label in Long Island, New York in 2013, and his statement-making runway pieces have caught the attention of Lady Gaga, Beyoncé, Rihanna and Kim Kardashian.
Founded by model Monti Landers in 2016, Riot Swim offers up a minimalist aesthetic of neutral colours and flattering cuts. If you're in need of a new swimsuit, this should be your go-to.
Celebrity stylist Jason Rembert's label Aliètte may only have a few collections but has already become a red carpet favourite. You may have seen Kelly Rowland, Ciara, Joan Smalls, and Cardi B in the brand's glamorous designs.