20.01.2022

Support these fashion brands founded by black people now – and forever

Carly Cushnie’s collection of luxe ready-to-wear caters for a glamorous mood with bias-cut slip dresses and slinky bodies.

Grace Wales Bonner’s menswear label quickly expanded into womenswear as the fash pack fell for her innovative tailoring. Expensive – yet worth it – Wales Bonner won the British Fashion Awards Emerging Menswear Designer prize in 2015.

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Handcrafted by Ghanaian women and founded by Akosua Afriyie-Kumi, this collection of woven bags are bright and colourful. A delight to carry all year round. You can shop for Aaks on Fy!

The perfect skin-toned underwear is a wardrobe essential but for so long finding colours that matched any skin shade other than peach was impossible. Founder Ade Hassan set out to remedy this and the thongs are now essentials in every stylist’s prop kit.

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New garments are “made to order, ensuring we don’t overproduce, as well as providing a custom fit.” This sustainable label uses recycled and reclaimed textiles and the full-sleeve blouse is currently at the top of our shopping wishlist.

Celebrity fashion labels are not a new thing. But tapping into the zeitgeist for drop led collections and see now, buy now retail IS. And of course, with Rihanna at the helm, how could it fail? We stan.

This is a label that takes up space, literally, and Michelle Obama, Lizzo and Cardi B love it. Couture level craftsmanship, voluminous silhouettes and saturated colours… Rogers is bringing exaggerated glamour back to the catwalk.

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This footwear brand, founded by Titi Adesanya (who divides her time between Lagos and London) drips in glamour. Made in Milan, the heels are high and the scallop-details and ankle straps are classically sexy.

Creating upclycled individual pieces from pre-loved fabrics, designer Nuala Ferrington is a former High Street fashion buyer. The vintage kimonos and hand-painted sportswear are stand-out pieces.

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Designer Aurora James wants to keep traditional African design practises alive in her luxury accessories line and employs artisans in Ethiopia, Morocco and Kenya. She’s been most vocal on Instagram this week asking major retailers to make a pledge to buy from black-owned businesses. “So many of your businesses are built on Black spending power. We represent 15% of the population and we need to represent 15% of your shelf space.”

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Hitting the sweet spot between affordable and expensive this silky dress label was founded by Camille Perry and Holly Wright, who worked together at Topshop before launching their own label. Nothing feels trendy so will last for many seasons while all are still perfectly of the moment.

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Italian-based Jean has always drawn on multi-cultural references from her Haitian heritage for her ethical womenswear brand. We love the vibrant femininity of her collections and so does Giorgio Armani, who was an early supporter.

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Specialising in exclusive printed silks, inspired by designer Rene Macdonald’s African heritage and her vintage collections, Lisou is vibrant, feminine and chic.

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One of the British fashion industry’s hottest names, Martine Rose’s namesake label draws on the mix of her Jamaican heritage and London upbringing. A menswear brand, cool girls are buying for their boyfriends, brothers and selves alike.

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The New York designer has created private order pieces for fans including Beyonce, Cardi B and Rihanna and his high octane glamour also landed him a collaboration with ASOS.com in 2018.

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Lemlem was founded by supermodel (and former GLAMOUR Woman of the Year) Liya Kebede, and is as chic as you’d expect with lines of children and mens clothing as well as womenswear. Airy cotton blouses and rompers feel right for this season and always.

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Trained in London but now based in New York the “artistically designed” contemporary label focus on cool, easy pieces that make dressing a breeze. Currently all sale profits are being donated to BLM organisations of the shoppers choice.

Clothes that shout out your presence in a room with loud patterns, prints and colours. An instagram favourite, the full skirts are a signature piece while the jersey slogan t-shirts work for every style. Kemi is also committed to ethical and sustainable practises – it’s the opposite of fast fashion.

This online lifestyle store has become famous for their striped tote bags. Founded by Chloe Forde (a stylist) and Heidi Murray (a former model) the printed lounge sets and tie-dye t-shirts are favourites too.

Pared back and perfect for minimalists, We are Kin’s Creative Director Ngoni Chikwenengere has halted SS20 production due to C-19 but is planning her next step. You can still buy previous collections and show your support for future collections on the site.

Designed in London and made in Ghana, paying fair wages and creating sustainable employment is at the heart of founder Phyllis Taylor’s ethos. There are elegant dresses and swishy full skirts mixed with puffer jackets and boiler suits too.

London-based label founded by fashion and travel blogger Fisayo Longe, KAI is an obvious fave with influencers. The collection is full of bright satin blouses, puff sleeve broderie anglaise and edgy ‘vegan leather’ dresses. KAI’s sizing also runs up to UK 20 on some pieces to ensure extra inclusivity.

Mother and daughter duo Rebecca Henry and Akua Shabaka look to the history and their heritage in the southern American states to inform their collection of dreamy ruffled dresses, faux fur coats and pussybow blouses.

Unapologetically sexy, Mowalola Ogunlesi’s eponymous label mixes up her Lagos upbringing and the London life she leads. Kanye West is a fan and she has designed kit for the Nigerian World Cup football team. In a 2018 interview, Mowalola said “Working with a variety of cultures will allow fashion to not operate in a bubble. We should be aware of what is going on in the world and constantly think of what we can do to make it more progressive.”

This jewellery brand focuses on geometric pieces that are like miniature sculptures for your body – which makes sense considering designer Malaika’s day job is an an architect.

Based in South Africa but with a global outlook, Menisci’s label is bold, bright and clashes prints and colours with perfect ease. Sustainability is a major influence and the brand has already pivoted to make and sell masks during C-19.

Designer Kerby Jean-Raymond brings the spotlight on heritage in his collections and outspoken personal activism. From denouncing cultural appropriation at a Business of Fashion gala (where a gospel choir sang to a mainly white guest list), holding catwalk shows in one of the first areas of New York to have black homeowners and creating bold slogan t-shirts, Pyer Moss is going to shape fashion’s next era and beyond.

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