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Black History Month is observed from Feb. 1 to March 1 and honors the game-changing contributions of Black leaders who have shaped our country. During this time (and throughout the year), it is also imperative to show your allyship by hiring and investing in Black creators, donating to organizations that fight to end racial inequality, supporting retailers who have pledged to make change, and — of course — shopping today’s many stylish Black-owned brands.
“Buying from minority business owners helps sustain their enterprises, while affirming the journeys they took to get there,” stylist Jason Bolden (who works with Yara Shahidi and Taraji P. Henson) previously told The Hollywood Reporter in 2020 following the murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin. “This is a moment for people, especially white people, to understand the value of Black businesses.”
Supermodel Joan Smalls last year spoke to THR about the fashion industry’s “conscious” appropriation of Black culture. “It’s a point where you get frustrated, where you give your body, mind, and time to an industry and you feel like, ‘Can you now support us, we’ve been the pioneers of your creativity, of your artistry, and of your inspiration so give us the platform and the voice that we need in order to continue,” she said.
Just as with our Latinx fashion brands roundup, we’re giving you the scoop on some of the best Black-owned fashion brands to put your dollars behind today and always. From Beyoncé and Rihanna’s red carpet favorites to the labels making television cameos to the rising stars disrupting the streetwear industry at large, here are a handful of the designers and labels to support during Black History Month and beyond.
1. Sami Miro Vintage
Sami Miró founded her eco-conscious label in 2016 using locally sourced deadstock and vintage fabrics. Since then, Sami Miro Vintage’s progressive designs — which are all produced from start to finish within a 15-mile radius of the brand’s Los Angeles headquarters — have been spotted on just about every “It” girl on the planet, including Bella Hadid, Hailey Bieber, Rosalia, Selena Gomez, Halsey, Dua Lipa, Megan Fox and all the Kardashian-Jenners. In 2021, Miró was one of five designers recognized and awarded a grant by the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) and Fashion Trust US.
2. Brandon Blackwood
Although Brandon Blackwood launched his eponymous brand in 2015, the Brooklyn-born designer noticed a significant uptick in sales during the Black Lives Matter protests. In an effort to use his newfound platform to impact change, he created a small tote bag printed with the words “end systemic racism” with a portion of its proceeds to be donated to Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights, a pro bono legal assistance program. The first 500 bags sold out in two hours. From that moment onward, Blackwood’s stylish statement bags have been spotted on Jodie Turner-Smith, Tessa Thompson, Olivia Rodrigo, Jessica Alba and more stars.
EDAS is a New York-based accessories brand founded in 2015 by creative director Sade Mims. From hats to bags to earrings, each piece is designed with intention, as Mims utilizes storytelling and community-building as driving forces behind the brand’s growth and development. Star items include colorful crochet hats and beaded belt bags.
4. Brother Vellies
Brother Vellies was founded in 2013 by Aurora James (who also created the Fifteen Percent Pledge) with the goal of keeping traditional African design practices and techniques alive while also creating and sustaining artisanal jobs. The Brother Vellies collection of shoes, bags and accessories is produced across the globe, and sustainable touches include vegetable-tanned leathers, hand-carved wood and floral-dyed feathers. The beloved brand is stocked at Bloomingdale’s, Nordstrom and Saks Fifth Avenue, and has had its share of red carpet moments on stars such as Zendaya, Karlie Kloss, Katie Holmes, Vanessa Hudgens and even Meghan Markle.
5. Denim Tears
Another cult-favorite brand is Denim Tears, founded in 2019 by designer Tremaine Emory. The brand’s approach to heritage and design has earned its place in The Met Costume Institute in New York’s permanent collection, and has earned successful collaborations with a range of brands, include Ugg, Stüssy, Champion, Converse, Asics and Dior. The brand’s art-forward apparel and accessories are all bestsellers, but its collaboration with Levi’s is certainly a fan favorite, as the trucker jacket was spotted on Cardi B’s entire family.
6. House of Aama
Founded in 2015, House of Aama is the spiritual expression of mother and daughter design duo, Rebecca Henry and Akua Shabaka, through colorful, joyful designs. The brand “explores the folkways of the Black experience by designing timeless garments with nostalgic references informed by historical research, archival analysis, and storytelling.” The brand’s fashion film, “Salt Water,” was nominated last for nine awards at the La Jolla International Fashion Film Festival.
7. Heron Preston
Heron Preston invents trends. Founded in 2016 by former Nike designer and Kanye West art director Heron Preston Johnson, the brand is just as multifaceted as the designer himself (who is also a DJ and a co-founder of luxe streetwear collective Been Trill alongside the late Virgil Abloh, Matthew Williams and Justin Sanders). Johnson’s namesake line offers a unique range of apparel and accessories that you know are Heron Preston originals when you see them, such as its best-selling workwear-inspired items like belts and denim. The brand’s mesh styles are also a cool kid fave and have been spotted on the likes of Lori Harvey, Kylie Jenner, Kaia Gerber, Hailey Bieber and Yara Shahidi, and you can shop Heron Preston online at Farfetch, FWRD, Saks Fifth Avenue, Ssense and other retailers.
Founded in 2019 by celebrity makeup artist, mother and motivator Felicia La Tour, MindfulFee is more than a fashion brand — it’s a community and lifestyle. The brand is best known for its mood-boosting tie-dye hues, as well as its wildly popular “Somebody’s Mama” tees and crewnecks that have since expanded to “Somebody’s” styles for the whole family. MindfulFee’s “Somebody’s Auntie” tee can be seen in season five of Insecure, as worn by Molly (played by Yvonne Orji).
9. Martine Rose
As seen on Rihanna, Kim Kardashian, Dua Lipa and Bella Hadid, in-demand design consultant Martine Rose is the secret sauce behind all your faves’ contemporary streetwear sensibility. Not new to the game whatsoever, she established her eponymous label in London in 2007 and it has since evolved from a shirting collection to an internationally renowned and critically acclaimed menswear brand worn by all genders and stocked at Bloomingdale’s, Farfetch, FWRD, Matches Fashion and Ssense.
10. Savage X Fenty
We salute Rihanna and her Savage X Fenty label of lingerie, loungewear and activewear. With inclusivity at the helm of its design ethos, Savage X Fenty has fiercely disrupted and redefined the marketplace with its accessible price points and extensive assortment of styles made for a variety of body types and gender expressions.
Look up cult-favorite in the dictionary, and you might as well see Telfar’s entire business model there. Founded in 2004 by Telfar Clemens, the brand has won the 2017 CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund, the CFDA American Accessories 2019 and the CFDA American Accessories 2020 — all for good reason. In addition to inventing a new It-bag, the Telfar shopping bag, which continues to sell out and spawn and exciting collaboration with UGG (also available at Saks and StockX), the brand was also crowned one of Oprah’s “Favorite Things” in 2020.
12. Third Crown
Founded by husband and wife team Kristin and Kofi Essel, Third Crown is a NY-based brand inspired by geometry and architecture to create conversation-starting jewelry for all. In addition to being featured in shows like Insecure, the brand’s sculptural accoutrements have been worn by Beyoncé, Solange, Ziwe, and Jonathan Majors.
13. Post 21
Founded by mother-daughter duo Juana Williams and Blair Paysinger, Post 21 is a marketplace filled with design-forward products by Black-owned businesses. The company also offers candles, corporate gifting, as well as jewelry — like this bralette made of cowrie shells that would be the coolest touch to your spring break beach looks.
14. Born To Roam
Founded by designer, mother and jetsetter Jennifer Sinigal Bell Cornelius, Born to Roam is a rising star in the accessories game for its bold headwear and travel essentials. Standout items include straw hats (complete with an adjustable inner drawstring), gold coin bag straps and convertible chain belts that give just the right amount of ’90s Versace energy.
15. Brooklyn Lighthouse
If you’re looking for pint-sized versions of on-trend streetwear, look no further than Brooklyn Lighthouse. This kids online store has something for every future style star in your life, from checkered jogger pants to quilted jackets (revisit our list of women’s quilted jackets to match with your mini!) to teeny-tiny sunglasses.
Founded in 2020 by Melissa Meister, Seymoure is known for its ultra-chic leather gloves, reviving a retro trend that needed just the right comeback. The brand uses ethically-sourced Italian leather and accessories come in a variety of colors and accents, like these pearl-studded driving gloves. For some star factor, the brand recently collaborated on a capsule collection with renowned stylist and costume designer Patricia Field of Sex and the City fame.
Founded by Charles Harbison in 2013, Harbison is known for its modern and sustainable apparel, jewelry and accessories for all, and the label is stocked at Nordstrom and Saks. In addition to dressing icons including Beyoncé, Michelle Pfeiffer, Janelle Monae and Jodie Turner-Smith, Harbison’s most recent achievement was creating a custom look for Sheryl Lee Ralph for her memorable performance at the 2023 Super Bowl.
18. LaQuan Smith
If you want to turn heads at any function, chances are that you’re turning to LaQuan Smith. With praise from legends including Tom Ford who said he has “great instincts, and a sense of style that is remarkable,” the 34-year-old designer is in a lead all his own. Since making his New York Fashion Week debut in 2010, Smith has dressed a slew of fashion muses in his sultry styles, including Beyoncé, Rihanna, Ciara, Lady Gaga, Selena Gomez — the list truly goes on, and on. Shop the label online at FWRD, Nordstrom, Revolve and more.
19. Wales Bonner
Launched by Grace Wales Bonner following her graduation from Central Saint Martins in 2014, Wales Bonner started as a menswear brand and has since expanded to womenswear. The designer’s accolades include winning Emerging Menswear Designer at the British Fashion Awards in 2015, the LVMH Young Designer Prize in 2016, the British Fashion Council/ Vogue Designer Fashion Fund in 2019 and CFDA International Men’s Designer of the Year in 2021. Famous fans include Rihanna, Bella Hadid, Gigi Hadid and Kendall Jenner; shop the label at its website and at Mr. Porter, Net-A-Porter, Saks, Ssense and other online luxury retailers.
20. Christopher John Rogers
No red carpet conversation is complete without mentioning Christopher John Rogers, who was featured in the reboot of Gossip Girl and who created a collection for Target in 2021. Known for bright hues, show-stopping silhouettes and playful yet sophisticated design, the brand is often selected for stars’ most notable moments. Michelle Obama, Rihanna, Tracee Ellis Ross, Gabrielle Union, Tessa Thompson and Lizzo are just some of the many names that can be found wearing CJR, which is available at Bergdorf Goodman, Matches Fashion, Net-A-Porter, and Saks.
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