Posting your support and solidarity for the anti-racism movement on social media is one way to tackle racial discrimination, but for a more impactful, long-lasting action consider also buying from black-owned businesses.
There are so many brilliant black-owned fashion brands of all price points and styles, from clothing to jewellery, bags, shoes and more. Here are just a few of our favourites that we can’t get enough of and we think you should know about – keep them (along with these black-owned beauty brands) on your radar for the next time you fancy a little online retail therapy.
20 black-owned fashion brands to shop from now
SIKA was founded in 2005 by Phyllis Taylor, with the vision that fashion has the power and potential to make a positive contribution to society. The brand’s ethos is to produce quality ‘made in Africa’ garments for the international market while proving that garment production can successfully have social and environmental responsibilities at its core.
All SIKA garments are designed in London and handmade in Ghana, Africa. As well as its own collections, it has created collaborative lines for ASOS and YOOX.
lemlem was founded by Ethiopian supermodel, actress and maternal health advocate Liya Kebede. The brand is an artisan-driven collection of women’s, men’s, children’s and home goods made entirely in Africa.
lemlem recently collaborated with high street favourite H&M for a new summer collection showcasing its signature joyous aesthetic play.
Grace Wales Bonner is ‘informed by broad research encompassing critical theory, musical composition, literature and history,’ for her designs, embracing ‘a multiplicity of perspectives, proposing a distinct notion of luxury, via a hybrid of European and Afro-Atlantic approaches.’
Since graduating from esteemed fashion college Central Saint Martins and launching her eponymous label in 2014, she has been the recipient of multiple awards, including Emerging Menswear Designer at the British Fashion Awards and the LVMH Young Designer Prize. Oh, and she also designed the dress Meghan Markle wore for Archie’s first press shoot as a baby.
The head designer for Lisou, Rene Macdonald, moved from Tanzania to the UK as a child but always travelled back to Africa. The culture has influenced her designs for Lisou, which focuses on using luxury silks in a creative, exciting way.
Forbes described Lisou as: ‘The London-based fashion brand that brings happy vibes’.
Savage X Fenty
Savage X Fenty is the lingerie brand from mega star Rihanna, who became the first black woman to head a luxury brand for LVMH in 2019 with her origin brand, Fenty. ‘Savage X Fenty celebrates fearlessness, confidence and inclusivity. In partnership with a team assembled from the industry’s elite, the label has disrupted and redefined the marketplace with its accessible price point and extensive assortment of lingerie.’
The brand has been such a hit with fans, it was included in the TIME100 Most Influential Companies of 2021 list.
Designer Yvonne Telford describes her label the best: ‘The clothes we sell are more than just stylish clothes; they are loud, bold and tell the whole world, “Look at me, I am fabulous.” Some of the clothes sold here have a Nigerian influence, but with a western twist. What is important is that our clothes speak for the women who wear them. Our clothes encourage women to take up their rightful place. They encourage them to stop shrinking themselves… something I have had to work on, and I am still working on.’
Recently, Kemi Telford launched an exclusive collection with John Lewis and it’s everything we hoped it would be.
This London-based brand has a fan club including Brit Award 2020 nominee Joy Crookes and influencer Caro Ogliaro. Creative Director Aissata writes on the website: ‘I wanted a place where I can continue to elevate my own language of design and create pieces where whoever wears my clothes can feel their best self, defining their own world and their own uniform… It’s simple really, I just want to make clothes that make you feel good’.
The brand is focused on playing its part in maintaining a sustainable fashion model, so all its pieces are currently made to order.
In 2013, Aurora James launched footwear brand Brother Vellies, which produces shoes made from traditional black craftsmanship. The footwear is ‘designed in Brooklyn, handcrafted sustainably with artisans spanning Nairobi to New York.’
Based in Johannesburg, South Africa, Thebe Magugu celebrates its African roots with luxury fashion pieces. The brand is held in very high regard, winning the LVMH prize in 2019.
Worn by the likes of Kylie Jenner, Jordyn Woods and British model Jourdan Dunn, Farai London makes British luxury resortwear that’s designed in East London. Its mission is to ‘redefine womenswear to produce adventurous bold and beauteous pieces’ that denote its ‘commitment to superior quality’.
Any fashion influencer worth their salt has a ROOP bag – the fun slouchy bags are fast earning a name for themselves in fashion circles, which may go some way to explaining why new styles instantly sell out the moment they launch on the website. Only using remnant or vintage fabric, Natasha lovingly designs and makes her limited edition bags and scrunchies herself in the UK – follow @itsrooper on Instagram to be informed of the latest drops and then move fast!
Not Just Another Store
A conceptual and experiential retailer, Not Just Another Store forms a community retail space that detaches from all the restrictions, rules and norms placed upon existing retail spaces. Collaborations with creatives and designers are at the brand’s core, and women’s fashion isn’t where it stops – Not Just Another Store also curates edits of menswear, homeware, literature, art and interiors as well as holding events, installations and exhibitions in their physical Shoreditch store.
A A K S
Founded and designed by Akosua Afriyie-Kumi, A A K S is a line of stunning handcrafted summer raffia bags. Bold, bright and beautiful, A A K S was founded with the goal of introducing the world to Akosua’s ‘favourite weaving techniques done by the women of Ghana while also creating and igniting sustainable jobs within Africa. Handcrafted in Ghana, A A K S creates bags in styles that maintain the spirit and durability of their ancestral counterparts characterised by bright exuberant colours.’
‘London-based fashion stylist Irene Agbontaen has created TTYA London: an apparel brand offering accessible, modern, functional pieces that are specifically cut for women who are 5’9” or taller, as well-fitting staple pieces are the foundation to effortless style, whatever your height or size.
‘Not based on trend or seasonal collections, TTYA offers tall women a range of staple timeless pieces with key wardrobe essentials, designed to last beyond the season and fit in with any woman’s existing wardrobe and style.’
Chalk is a London based design studio run by architect Malaika who creates unusual, geometric, wearable forms. Her passion for beautifully crafted design in all its forms, from the structure of large cityscapes to the intricacies of fine jewellery pieces, results in a beautiful collection of handmade architectural pieces.
Daily Paper is an Amsterdam-based fashion and lifestyle brand established by three childhood friends, Hussein, Jefferson and Abderrahmane, who bonded over their shared a love for music, art, fashion and culture.
‘Fuelled by the rich heritage of African culture wrapped in contemporary designs, Daily Paper has truly become one of the fastest growing fashion brands out of Europe. With two collections a year focusing on both men and womenswear, Daily Paper offers timeless designs across accessories, ready to wear and a range of capsules across the season.’
Nubian Skin designs lingerie and hosiery in black and brown skin tones, after founder Ade Hassan was fed up of the industry not catering for women of colour. ‘My nude isn’t the nude I see in shops. Despite the reality that women of colour have the same needs as all women when it comes to lingerie and hosiery, the industry simply doesn’t cater to us. So, I thought, it’s time to rethink the definition of nude,’ says Ade.
With a deep passion for women and equality, fashion and travel blogger Fisayo Longe founded Kai Collective, a London-based womenswear brand of attainable clothing with luxury aesthetics. ‘Through clothing, we communicate with women and inspire that extra dose of confidence.’
atijọ is a collection of exclusively curated vintage, secondhand, and artisan products that you must DM the brand vis Instagram to purchase, curated by Anu Odugbesan, Londiwe Ncube, Safiya Yekwai and Caitlin Moriarty.
RetroRhapsody, known as Small Needs on Instagram, is an Etsy shop based in the US that’s full of beautiful found vintage items, styled superbly and in excellent condition.