While quarantine might have slowed down productions and halted fashion weeks, it has given birth to a huge wealth of talented Black designers. Since George Floyd’s death and various international protests and civil unrest, people around the world are speaking out and showing support to the black community. With statistics showing that black-owned business facing a disproportionate financial struggle in the face of COVID-19, now is the time to show appreciation and love to those on the come up and the labels are quickly becoming our go-to shopping sites.
We’ve rounded up some of the best black-owned fashion companies that you should get to know and who we think are currently taking the fashion world by storm.
Congolese designer Anifa Mvuemba, recently changed the game with her 3D digital fashion held on Instagram Live, using 3D “ghost” models to showcase her Pink Label Congo clothing line. Taking inspiration from the majestic women from her hometown in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Mvuemba incorporated bold prints and bright colours into the collection resembling the colours of Congo flag. With her label being worn by Kelly Rowland and Ciara, the pacemaker is changing the conversation and leading fashion in a new direction.
He broke the internet when Queen Bey wore one of his dress while strutting into her office in 2015. Since then the designer has been making leaps and bounds in the fashion industry and is well on his way to becoming a household name. Hunte’s label embodies an edgy yet sophisticated aesthetic, emphasising on chic outerwear attire. With transferable pieces and contemporary transitional styles, Romeo Hunte’s creative approach to fashion is distinctive and striking.
Listed on Forbes 30 under 30, the London-hailed designer has been making waves in the fashion industry with her minimalistic tailoring for men. Taking black masculinity with a feminine edge, Saunders transforms and redesigns the existing notions of menswear clothing with staple jersey t-shirts reconstructed with delicate ruched designs and satin textures blended into formal trousers. Saunders’ refreshing and ambitious collections have established the designer as part of a fresh new wave of fashion, as she explores her cultural British-West Indian heritage with artisanal craftsmanship and classic streetwear.
Almost overnight, Creative Director and Founder Jedidiah Duylie life changed thanks to The Kylie Jenner Effect. One Instagram post led to everything on their site selling out immediately and the small all-black team of creatives suddenly we’re left with hundreds of orders worldwide. From cling-fit trousers to stretch tie-dye dresses, Loudbrandstudios are redefining sexy with vintage-inspired materials and day-to-night time looks.
Built on the beliefs of how fashion should be effortless and chic, is contemporary womenswear brand Abiola A Olusola. With eye-catching prints and often asymmetric silhouettes, Abiola is capturing the essence of African women and mixing them with tie-dye and batik fabrics. The undeniable talent was shortlisted for the prestigious Alara Emerge Award and boasts a clientele consisting of Eku Edewor and singer-songwriter Tomi Owu.
The Louisiana-hailed designer has dressed everyone from Cardi B to Michelle Obama with his innovative and dramatic eveningwear styles. Joyful bursts of colours are married with unapologetically cheerful fashion for a timeless and modern look. At just 26-years-old, the young designer won the CFDA/ Vogue Fashion fund last year, and hosted two critically acclaimed collections at New York Fashion Week – all while balancing a full-time job. Like most designers, Rogers started designing as a kid, drawing costumes for his favourite anime and comic book characters – and from that moment on the designer began relating fashionable clothing to having superpowers.
Kerby Jean-Raymond first caught our attention with his powerful and emotive 2015 NYFW collection, where he opened with a 12-minute video about police brutality. With interviews from relatives of many black men that have been killed by the police, Raymond thrust his unknown label on to a global stage as he forced fashion to take accountability for role regarding race. The designer’s label quickly exploded into a brand that speaks about heritage and activism while refining nostalgic hip-hop silhouettes with supreme tailoring. The Haitian-American consistently delivers thought-provoking collections for his menswear label and is primed for greatness.
Designer Telfar Clemens is fashion history in the making. Scoring the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund prize back in 2017, the eccentric and unquestionably stylish designer uses clothing and accessories to explore areas of identity and consumerism. The designer has had an unstoppable rise in the fashion industry with sell-out launches to memes being created in his honour. His ICONIC Shopping Bag is what fashionistas dream of, but with virtual queues longer than the sale lines on Boxing Day we will have to wait patiently to get our hands on his sumptuous collections.
A sustainable eco-friendly fashion brand? We’re already sold. Founded by Toronto-native Aurora James, Brother Vellies holds craftsmanship at its core with one of a kind pieces made from responsibly-sourced materials and made by local artisans from Kenya to Mexico. James has been using her voice as a means to change systemic issues within the fashion industry, as recently she suggested that shops and brands should show genuine support to black-own businesses by pledging at least 15 per cent of their profits to support the community. From flat sandals to statements boots, the designer has caught the eye of some of the most style women in the world, including Solange and Beyonce.
If you haven’t seen their stunning Gaia dress posted all of social media then you’ve been hiding under a rock. London-hailed Farai London has skyrocketed in recent months with the likes of Kylie Jenner and Kristen Noel Crawley rocking their dresses in sun-filled paradises and lockdown getaways. Having formed in the middle of a pandemic and on the cusp of an economic recession, founder Mary-Ann Msengi adventurous spirit and appetite for fashion has lead her to create the dress of the year, that fast-fashion companies will envy for months to come.
Since athleisure has become all the rave with celebs rocking lounge joggers with heels and cycling shorts with knee-high boots, we haven’t been able to get enough. But ready to shake things up in the fashion industry with their inclusive clothing and shapely designs is WMNS WEAR. With the modern-day female in mind, founders Liza, Valerie and Lola accentuate the female body natural curves with luxurious skin-tight motorsport two pieces and dangerously sexy tie-back dresses. Created for women by women? We are already sold.