Black-owned fashion brands doing incredible things around the world

Get to know the brilliant Black-owned fashion brands empowering the community, giving back and breaking boundaries.

Not too long ago, it was difficult to find or buy Black-owned brands because there weren’t enough platforms celebrating them and resources were limited. But Black entrepreneurs are continuously finding new and authentic ways to showcase their work, sell their products online and remain relevant despite the unprecedented times we’re living in.

These brands are still facing problems, however, many of which are rooted in institutionalised racism and the wealth gap. But it’s time to break the cycle and proactively encourage the change we want to see, and we can do this by shopping and supporting Black-owned brands, even after the trending attention is over. 

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Despite social justice movements such as Black Lives Matter having initiated serious discussions on systemic racism – Google Trends revealed an increase in searches for Black-owned businesses between May and July 2020 following the murder of George Floyd, with Yelp reporting a 7,000% increase compared to the same period in 2019 – the momentum must be sustained.

While the surge in support has been encouraging, it’s important that the momentum is sustained in order to help Black brands continue to create more jobs and new opportunities, and further encourage innovation and growth in the community. Which is why we must continue to offer support – buying from Black brands directly ensures the redistribution of wealth and growth in the Black community.

Above all, Black brands are rich in culture and can be sustainable and tailored to perfection. Put a Hanifa piece on and you’ll have all eyes on you; a Thebe Magugu jacket will have you feeling fearless. On that note, we’ve put together some Black-owned brands empowering the community, giving back and breaking boundaries despite prevailing circumstances or location. Follow them on social media, tell your friends and family, invest in their products, write great reviews and continue to speak about them. This is how we can help create sustained change.

Best Black-owned fashion brands to buy now and wear forever

Yema KLASSIC 2 CROP JACKET IN BLUE

Yema

Yema is an incredible brand from California that creates cutting-edge pieces crafted from vibrant colours, prints and graphics while channelling African aesthetics through activewear. This Alicia Garza-approved streetwear also gives 20% of all purchases to orphaned kids in Ethiopia and Kibera slums in Kenya. You can currently shop Yema within the US.

OMI WOODS NEFERTITI NECKLACE

Omi Woods

This brand offers ethically handmade jewellery with Fairtrade African gold and globally sourced conflict-free fine metals. Sourced from small-scale artisanal mines while supporting the wellbeing of these miners and their communities, the brand equally contributes to their health care, education and living conditions. Omi Woods is based in Canada and ships internationally.

KENNETH IZE YABA FRINGED COAT

Kenneth Ize

Nigerian designer Kenneth Ize uses handwoven Nigerian fabric known as Aso Oke to create impeccable garments steeped in the culture and tradition. His eponymous brand also supports a community of weavers and designers across Nigeria; creating powerful statement pieces full of life, art and the luxurious experience of Nigerian tradition.

HANIFA ORÉLIE TOP

Hanifa

Founded by Anifa Mvuemba, Hanifa is known for its bold and bright statement pieces. Her latest collection, Pink Label Congo, was inspired by the “hope of the Congolese spirit. The DC-based designer has become a force to be reckoned with, showcasing the first virtual 3D fashion show on Instagram live during the Covid-19 pandemic.

THEBE MAGUGU KNITTED DRESS

Thebe Magugu

South African brand Thebe Magugu is the first African designer to win the prestigious LVMH fashion award for emerging talent. The eponymous label celebrates African culture with a modern approach. A new T-shirt line called Extracurricular, which launched exclusively to Dover Street Market stores this year, features emerging SouthAfrican voices across various creative fields.

OGUN CORDUROY MILITARY JACKET

House of Aama

Founded by mother and daughter design duo, Rebecca Henry and Akua Shabaka, House of Aama explores Black experiences through its timeless garments using historical research and storytelling. The LA brand continues to raise awareness and conversations around Black heritage. Take a look at their brilliant designs and tailoring and you’ll be sold.

HAVANA SET

Earth Toned Collective

This beautiful brand based in the US crafts from sustainably sourced materials while supporting women artisans. Its approach monitors and reduces their its and environmental impact, which makes us love them even more. Earth Toned Collective is definitely a Black-owned brand to watch and support. It also ships internationally.

COLLECTION 7 PRINTED DRESS

Sindiso Khumalo

Sindiso Khumalo is a South African brand on the rise creating sustainable designs with a modern twist. Her eponymous label focuses on storytelling and designing by hand through watercolours and collage. Inspired by her South African heritage, Khumalo's designs are also influenced by her mother, who was an activist fighting against apartheid when she was younger. She also works very closely with non-profit organisations.

Images: courtesy of brands

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