Stylist has rounded everything from chic wardrobe essentials to cult accessories from black-owned fashion brands to buy now and support forever.
When it comes to racial diversity in fashion, the industry’s slate is not the cleanest. And, while progress has undoubtedly been made over the past few years to shape the fashion industry into a more represented space, it is still considerably lacking.
Without a doubt there are more black models on the catwalk, being cast in campaigns, fronting magazine covers than ever before, but there are still emerging black talents not receiving adequate recognition and a hesitation from shoppers to stray from places they are already familiar with.
Black fashion brands and business want us to help them share their creativity with opportunity, so we are doing just that. If you, like all of us here at Stylist, have pledged to do better, then this is a place for you to start – a curated list of the chicest pieces from brilliant black-owned business and brands to wear now and forever.
A fashion insider favourite, politics, identity, and race are at the core of all Grace Wales Bonner’s collections. The British-Jamaican designer began her eponymous company crafting menswear in 2014 after graduation from Central Saint Martins, later segueing into the women’s category. Now, Bonner’s inspired tailoring is being snapped up by the industry’s biggest taste-makers along with her eclectic prints.
Liya Kebede was one of the world’s most sought after models in the 90s, gracing multiple covers of Vogue and walking every major runway. Upon returning to her native Ethiopia, Kebede met a group of artisanal weavers who no longer had a market for their craft. And so Lemlem was born, a brand that celebrates African culture and gives back to the communities who need it most, whilst also creating elegant and effortless pieces.
Lisou’s head designer Rene Macdonald moved from Tanzania to the UK as a child but continually travelled back to Africa, where the aesthetic and culture has infiltrated her designs for Lisou - a brand that focuses on luxury silks with a twist. This classic A-line shaped skirt has been given an overhaul with brightly coloured silks. Wear yours with a tucked in T-shirt and mules.
Founded by Akosua Afriyie-Kumi, with the goal of introducing the world to the weaving techniques used by the women of Ghana, AAKS creates playful but practical bags perfect for the summer months and beyond.
Telfar is a unisex line created by Telfar Clemens, whose mission is to build a democratic collection for everyone. Telfar’s shopping bags have become something of cult status and a symbol of black creatives in America, and are often referred to as the ‘Bushwick Birkin’. Made from vegan leather and available in a range of colours, we can see why this bag has become an insider favourite.
Founded by fashion editor and stylist Brittany Kozerski, Jade Swim is all about chic minimalism, smart details and versatility. Take this one-shoulder swimsuit for example: team this beach one piece with an open linen shirt, or wear it as a body with high-waisted washed out denim jeans.
Reebok x Pyer Moss
Kerby Jean-Raymond is a Haitian-American fashion designer and founder of the label Pyer Moss, which has seen international success after winning the prestigious CDFA award for emerging designer of the year. Pyer Moss aims to use its voice and platform to challenge social narratives and evoke dialogue. With a focus on streetwear it was no surprise that footwear giant Reebok wanted to work with this incredibly talented designer.
Aurora James has been a prominent and important figure in the fashion industry since launching her footwear brand in 2013. James has used her platform to highlight traditional black craftsmanship which are used to create her footwear, as well as extolling the need for brand transparency, fair trade, and support for women’s organisations around the world.
London-based fashion stylist Irene Agbontaen is the brains behind TTYA London, a fashion brand that specifically caters to women who are 5’9” or taller, as well as style staples for all shapes and sizes. Stocked on Asos, TTYA London uses Nigerian prints and refashions them into contemporary pieces making for affordable stylish collection.
A NEWGEN recipient, Martine Rose has never followed convention and that’s what makes her brand so exciting. Choosing to steer away from the usual fashion calendar and create a unisex collection, London-born Rose continue to push creative boundaries in the industry. We’ll be wearing these slit-front trousers with an oversized shirt and barely-there mules.
The perfect nude shade is difficult to come by for many people, particular people of colour. Sincerely Nudes aims to eliminate that problem by creating both underwear and outerwear garments in a wide range of nude colours.
Based in Johannesburg, South Africa, Thebe Magugu is a fashion brand that celebrates its African cultural roots with a contemporary approach, serving culturally-rich luxury fashion. The success of the brand meant that in 2019 Thebe Magugu won the LMVH prize, one of fashion’s most esteemed awards.
With a focus on contemporary workwear for women, New-York based Undra Celeste is committed to making women feel their best and most powerful. “Whether you’re just starting a career, transitioning to something new or spent decades running the show; we understand the importance of showing up every day as your authentic self.” We couldn’t agree more.
Images: courtesy of brands / Getty