The fashion industry has a long history of underrepresentation and marginalization of Black creators, designers, and entrepreneurs. However, despite these challenges, there are many Black-owned clothing brands that are making waves in the industry with their innovative designs, ethical practices, and commitment to social justice. Put together by a Black pride apparel brand, this article introduces you to some of the entrepreneurs behind these inspiring Black-owned clothing brands.
Aurora James, Brother Vellies
Aurora James is the founder and creative director of Brother Vellies, a luxury footwear and accessories brand that prioritizes sustainability and job creation in Africa. James was born in Canada and raised in Jamaica and Los Angeles, and she draws inspiration from her diverse cultural background in her designs. James has received numerous awards for her work with Brother Vellies, including the 2015 CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund and the 2019 Aurora Prize for emerging designers.
Kerby Jean-Raymond, Pyer Moss
Kerby Jean-Raymond is the founder and creative director of Pyer Moss, a fashion label that promotes inclusivity and social justice through its designs and collaborations. Jean-Raymond was born in Brooklyn and studied fashion design at the Fashion Institute of Technology. He founded Pyer Moss in 2013 and has since gained a reputation as one of the most influential designers in the industry. In 2019, Jean-Raymond won the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund, becoming the first Black designer to do so.
Anifa Mvuemba, Hanifa
Anifa Mvuemba is the founder and creative director of Hanifa, a contemporary womenswear brand that uses technology to create innovative designs and promote sustainability. Mvuemba was born in the Democratic Republic of Congo and raised in Maryland, and she draws inspiration from her African heritage in her designs. In 2020, Mvuemba gained international recognition for her innovative virtual fashion show, which used 3D technology to showcase her designs during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Telfar Clemens, Telfar
Telfar Clemens is the founder and creative director of Telfar, a unisex fashion label that prioritizes inclusivity and accessibility. Clemens was born in Queens and studied at the Whitecliffe College of Arts and Design in New Zealand. He founded Telfar in 2005 and has since gained a cult following for his signature shopping bag, which has become a symbol of the brand’s commitment to accessibility and community.
Brandon Blackwood, Brandon Blackwood
Brandon Blackwood is the founder and creative director of Brandon Blackwood, a luxury handbag and accessories brand that prioritizes accessibility and inclusivity. Blackwood was born in Brooklyn and studied at the Fashion Institute of Technology. He founded Brandon Blackwood in 2015 and has since gained a reputation as one of the most innovative designers in the industry. In 2020, Blackwood gained national attention for his “End Systemic Racism” tote bag, which raised over $130,000 for racial justice organizations.
Carly Cushnie, Cushnie
Carly Cushnie is the co-founder and creative director of Cushnie, a luxury womenswear brand that prioritizes sustainable materials and ethical labor practices. Cushnie was born in London and studied fashion design at Parsons School of Design in New York. She co-founded Cushnie in 2008 and has since gained a reputation for her elegant and sophisticated designs.
Darlene and Lizzy Okpo, William Okpo
Darlene and Lizzy Okpo are the co-founders and creative directors of William Okpo, a contemporary womenswear brand that promotes diversity and inclusivity through its designs. The Okpo sisters were born in Nigeria and raised in New York, and they draw inspiration from their heritage and the vibrant culture of their hometown of Brooklyn. William Okpo has gained a reputation for its bold and eclectic designs, which have been worn by celebrities such as Solange Knowles and Issa Rae.
Christopher John Rogers, Christopher John Rogers
Christopher John Rogers is the founder and creative director of his eponymous fashion label, which features bold and colorful designs that celebrate individuality and self-expression. Rogers was born in Baton Rouge and studied fashion design at Savannah College of Art and Design. He launched his label in 2016 and has since gained a following for his extravagant and playful designs, which have been worn by stars such as Lizzo and Michelle Obama.
Fe Noel, Fe Noel
Fe Noel is the founder and creative director of her eponymous fashion label, which combines Caribbean-inspired designs with a modern and sophisticated aesthetic. Noel was born in Grenada and raised in Brooklyn, and she draws inspiration from her Caribbean heritage and her travels around the world. She launched her label in 2016 and has since gained a following for her colorful and bold designs, which have been worn by stars such as Beyoncé and Lupita Nyong’o.
Adewale Adeyemo, Eden Power Corp
Adewale Adeyemo is the founder and creative director of Eden Power Corp, a luxury streetwear label that features bold and dynamic designs that celebrate African and African-American culture. Adeyemo was born in Nigeria and raised in the United States, and he draws inspiration from his African heritage and his love of streetwear fashion. He launched Eden Power Corp in 2019 and has since gained a following for his innovative and stylish designs.
In conclusion, these Black-owned clothing brands and their founders are making significant contributions to the fashion industry through their innovative designs, ethical practices, and commitment to social justice. By supporting these brands, consumers can help promote diversity and inclusivity within the industry while also contributing to a more sustainable and responsible future for fashion.