There is a huge wealth of incredibly talented black fashion designers and black businesses in the fashion industry that don’t get the attention they should have. Major retailers only hold and support a handful of black-owned brands, while many deserving artists that create stunning and unique pieces struggle to garner a wider audience and shelf space.
We’re highlighting some of the best black designers and black-owned businesses in the industry that create wearable art, utilise traditional African design practices that help keep those techniques alive, empower women, and imbue their creations with black cultural influence and their African heritage.
From a lifestyle brand to a footwear brand to a luxury designer, here are just a couple of black-owned fashion brands and names you need to know about.
While he may have only launched his eponymous brand a few seasons ago, Christopher John Rogers has quickly become a force to be reckoned with thanks to his signature style that uses bright colours, flowy dresses, and striking yet timeless silhouettes.
Worn by the likes of Rihanna, Ashley Graham, and Michelle Obama, Christopher John Rogers is sure to become a favourite among many.
There are so many black-owned fashion brands that create fantastic swimwear, just like Jade Swim. Created by former fashion editor and stylist Brittany Kozerski, Jade Swim is a black-owned business all about eco-conscious and thoughtfully designed swimwear that highlights feminine silhouettes.
Founded by designer Kerby Jean Raymond in 2013, Pyer Moss is a men’s and women’s fashion brand that evokes social activism and commentary on African culture through captivating and wearable designs that are basically modern art in themselves.
The latest collection from the brand celebrates black women in rock and roll through its artistic and colourful prints.
Coco and Breezy is a black-owned fashion brand founded by twin designers, DJs, and visual artists Corianna and Brianna Dotson in 2009. The namesake label creates fun and practical eyewear with a modern aesthetic that sets itself apart from other brands.
Kemi Telford is just one of many black-owned fashion brands that aim to empower women. The label creates classic silhouettes with Nigerian-inspired print fabrics that are bright and incredibly cheerful.
Footwear brand Chelsea Paris was founded by designer Theresa Ebagua in 2012 as an ode to her African heritage. This black-owned fashion shoe brand combines European and African history in its every design for ready-to-wear styles that exude understated elegance perfect for the modern woman.
Haitian-born designer Victor Glemaud formed his eponymous leisurewear collection in 2006. The contemporary brand creates modern essentials and ready-to-wear statement knitwear designed for everyone that blend comfort and style.
Petit Kouraj makes fun, stand-alone pieces, each of which is a wearable art project that celebrates knitwear, identity, and the black community. The Brooklyn-based brand, launched by fashion stylist Nasrin Jean-Baptiste, creates all of its stunning bags in Haiti.
Brother Vellies is a shoe and accessories brand founded by Aurora James in 2013. The Brother Vellies brand consists of everyday essentials and staple accessories made by artisans in Nairobi to New York City.
This black-owned fashion brand was created by Grenada-born designer Fe Noel. The eponymous label is based in New York City but heavily influenced by Noel’s Caribbean heritage, and the clothing line delivers feminine silhouettes that are glamorous yet comfortable.
Created by Edvin Thompson, Theophilio is inspired by Thompson’s Jamaican heritage and the progressive culture of New York City. The brand focuses on creating custom pieces using sustainably-sourced material and upcycled fabric.
Founded by self taught designer Valerie Blaise, Vavvoune is a luxury leather accessories brand that creates stunning feminine and staple accessories using premium leathers. The brand regularly donates extra material scraps to art programs across the country.
This Los Angeles-based brand is one of many black-owned fashion brands that create thoughtful and sustainable clothing for us to love and wear. Come Back as a Flower was founded by Esper Knows and creates one-of-one hand-dyed garments that are ethically produced and created from raw materials.
LaQuan Smith started his namesake brand and clothing line in 2013. Inspired by his grandmother from whom he learned how to sew, LaQuan Smith is now renowned for his impeccable tailoring and has been worn by stars like Rihanna, Kim Kardashian, Beyoncé, J.Lo, and many more.
From a brand that proudly creates its pieces in Nairobi like Brother Vellies to a brand that outspokenly displays black heritage on its clothing like Pyer Moss, there are so many black-owned fashion brands and designers that deserve praise and recognition for their ingenuity and creativity.
Supporting black-owned fashion brands is an important way for many of us to support black creatives and artists in fashion during such a critical time. By discovering these names, we hope this can lead you to even more talented creators who deserve support.
Prada is not a black-owned brand, as it was founded by Italian designer Mario Prada in 1913. In fact, Prada has come under fire for creating racially-insensitive designs in recent years, leading many luxury consumers to discover and support black-owned businesses.
While Louis Vuitton was founded by its namesake designer in 1854 Paris, the luxury brand made history by appointing Ghanaian-American Virgil Abloh as its artistic director in 2018, making him the first black person to hold the top position at the company. Abloh is also the founder of popular luxury brand Off-White.