In light of recent events and amidst national-wide protests, it is important for everyone to do their part in helping black communities with calls for justice and change. Fashion has long been an industry focused on human expression, not shying away from representing contemporary issues in fabric and art alike. However, lack of diversity and cultural appropriation still plague the industry, making it more important than ever to support businesses and brands, big and small alike, hailed by black leaders and creators. Companies are coming together to make a difference. Sephora just launched an initiative to allow VIB members to use their points as a donation towards the National Black Justice Coalition, an easy action we can all get behind. Others, including Rihanna‘s undergarment line, SavagexFenty, are donating profits towards respective charities such as BLM and her own foundation, providing a reason to shop for good. With such a diverse and creative industry, take the time to learn about these eight great black-owned fashion brands helping to give back and support a movement toward justice.
Kerby Jean-Raymond founded the contemporary designer and street style brand Pyer Moss in 2013. The brand features bright colored tracksuits and loungewear, in addition to fashion-forward work clothing and accessories. The company uses its networks and designs to promote social good, often by telling stories. They recently started a super cool collaboration with Reebok that includes socks and shoes, along with avant-grade athleisure.
TIER is a small casual loungewear brand ran by designers Nigeria Ealey, Esaïe Jean-Simon, and Victor James. Their logo, Art Never Dies, echoes their philosophy of making comfortable clothes into a statement with fun graphics and colors while keeping the brand eco-conscious. Keep your eye out for this brand on the rise!
Hanifa recently made headlines when it debuted its pioneering 3-D model-less fashion show while brands grappled with campaigns and publicity during the COVID-19 lockdowns and stay-at-home orders. Beyond their remarkable show, Hanifa proves itself revolutionary, providing a wide range of sizes (0-20) and focusing on clothes that emphasize the beauty of every woman. Their eye-catching dresses, skirts, and pants are reasonably priced given the craftsmanship that goes into designing and making each garment.
A small start-up company created by Uyi Omorobge, NASO’s colorful prints and designs pay homage to Omorobge’s family’s Nigerian background. The brand strives to make a difference in Nigeria, where the clothing is ethically sourced and produced, helping empower local communities. NASO also uses profits from the apparel to build and refurbish schools back in the Nigerian communities, helping to provide education and encouraging futures. NASO is genuinely a brand striving to make a difference.
Tracy Reese’s brand Hope For Flowers sells whimsical and feminine clothing through stores such as Anthropology and other smaller retailers. The line strives to be socially conscious by creating various capsule collections such as her latest, which was all produced and made in Flint, Michigan. She also sourced print artists out of her native Detroit for the collection, helping to give back to the community and reinforce good. The colorful designers are incredibly wearable and fun.
The polarizing and notorious street-style brand Off-White is infamous for its eccentric logo and font that has spear-headed many trends and fashion movements in the last few years. Founder Virgil Abloh helped to pioneer the street style movement when he founded Off-White in 2013, focusing on how fashion, and a fashion name, can be empowering. The brand is particular and expensive, yet a marvel at the same time. Abloh remains a force within the world of designer fashion as the men’s Artistic Director for Louis Vuitton, in addition to Off-White.
Cushnie specializes in sleek formal women’s wear that oozes class and glamour. Cathy Cushnie founded the brand in 2008 and continues to design their ready-to-wear collections. The designs are timeless and beautiful, so it doesn’t come as a surprise that Michelle Obama and Beyoncé are among many of Cushnie’s celebrity clients and fans.
Fenty By Rihanna
In addition to her initiative at SavagexFentry, Rihanna continues to grow her influence in the fashion industry. In the fall of 2019, she launched her ready-to-wear line through LVMH, becoming the first woman at the helm of a brand for the mega fashion power-house (talk about empowerment). Rihanna’s clothes echo her personality and character with bold, bright, and over-the-top designs and are fun and clever. With her charitable efforts and recent initiatives, Rihanna’s expansion into the world of fashion is one we can definitely all support.
*While many designer brands and labels sell clothes that we can only dream of purchasing, it’s easy to get behind them and support them without shelling out a fortune to consume their items. Supporting the art of fashion design is as easy as following an Instagram page or immersing yourself in a new ad campaign. Seeing fashion as art helps to look past the mundane and find inspiration every day, even if it seems farfetched. #PullUp