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In the midst of the Kavanaugh hearings, Jeremy Scott took the finale lap at his spring 2019 show in a t-shirt that urged viewers to â€œTell Your Senator NO On Kavanaugh.â€ For his fall 2017 show, Christian Siriano sent a model down the runway in a shirt that read â€œPeople are Peopleâ€ set to Depeche Modeâ€™s song of the same name. The week Harvey Weinstein was convicted of sexual assault and rape, Diorâ€™s runway was peppered with signs like â€œWomen Raise the Uprisingâ€ and â€œConsent.â€ If the fashion community has proven anything, itâ€™s that it is willing to fight against inequality and social injustice. But what about the injustices plaguing its own industry, from the lack of Black representation on the runway to the lack of visibility and opportunities afforded to Black designers?
As the world grapples with the recent deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, and Ahmaud Arberyâ€”Black humans who were targeted and discriminated against because of their skin colorâ€”now is as good a time as ever to pour dollars into the Black designers, creatives, and businesses who are often overlooked. A re-post is not enough. A hashtag is not enough. But a purchase goes a long way. Ahead, 47 Black-owned brands to shop from today, tomorrow, and forever.
T.A New York
T.A is a luxury concept store created by Telsha Anderson that features a highly curated collection of pieces sourced from all over the world. The retailer highlights designers of all backgrounds, including Wesley Harriott, William Okpo, Situationist, and more.
If you buy one thing: Wesley Harriott Double Work Skirt, $570
LaSette aims to reimagine the way people think of lingerie by creating pieces you’ll want to show off anywhere but the house. Styles like the Ada dress can take you from the bedroom to the club while the Strapped In bralette can be worn with a pair of jeans for an effortless look.
If you buy one thing: Ada Slip Dress, $150
Every time founder Nichole Lynel posts a new look, you have to stop and stare. The young entrepreneur launched two fashion businesses: Her namesake brand, which offers fun wardrobe must-haves, and NL the Label. Consider the latter as the cool, older sister whose closet consists of both destroyed denim trimmed in rhinestone fringe and an elegant nude pantsuitâ€”basically everything a younger sibling would want to borrow.
If you buy one thing: Sparkling Sequins Short Set, $189
Auvere’s name combines the chemical symbol of gold (Au) with the latin word “vere”â€”which means trueâ€”to give customers “true gold.” Auvere creates one-of-a-kind pieces handcrafted and made of pure 22k or 24k gold.
If you buy one thing: V Neck Earring Satin, $850
Castamira aims to accentuate the woman’s body with its Mallots line. Featuring high-leg cuts, corset detailing, and plunging necklines, Castamira proves that one-piece bathing suits can be sexy and beautiful.
If you buy one thing: Gemser, $195
Matte Brand is sophisticated, sultry, simple, and nostalgic. Briana Wilson creates designs for the fearless and unapologetic souls who know that they’re 100 percent that bitch.
If you buy one thing: En Vogue Full Bodysuit, $140
Prayers and Plans
Amaka Ikpeazu launched Prayers and Plans in 2017 with a simple mission: “to encourage and remind women that they are capable of extraordinary things.” Confidence is birthed from comfortability, which sets the tone for the brand’s take on loungewear. Robes, slip dresses, and pajama sets are made in luxurious silk fabric so that every woman who wears a P&P piece can feel elegant in their own home. What’s more, P&P donates five percent of every purchase to Solar Sisters, an organization that provides training, resources, and support to distribute clean energy to underserved communities in Africa.
If you buy one thing: Midnight-Blue Jasmine Silk Set, Â£123
Tier NYC is the brainchild of founders Nigeria Ealey, Victor James, and EsaÃ¯e Jean-Simon. The brand elevates sportswear classics like hoodies and sweatpants in butter-soft fabrics offered in an array of bright colors.
If you buy one thing: Pistachio Tier Hoodie, $120
The K Label
Karice Leila was inspired to launch The K Label in 2015 after experiencing the same dilemma repeatedly: her closet lacked quality pieces that could carry her from day-to-night. That directly correlates with the brand’s most popular style: a corseted sweatsuit that pairs well with both sneakers and heels.
If you buy one thing: Tonik Corset Hoodie in Azure Blue, â‚¬156
Samaria Leah is where the past meets the present. Leah’s namesake label was birthed from her love for upcycling Levi’s growing up. Her collection of reworked denim breathes new life into vintage jeans by adding modern twists, like the lace-up detail on the brand’s bestseller, the Leah jean.
If you buy one thing: Sam, $225
Love, Vera isn’t your typical, run-of-the-mill lingerie company. The inclusive brand seeks to ensure that every woman deserves lingerie that makes her feel sexy. Launched by Vera Nicole in 2018, Love, Vera celebrates Blackness by casting diverse models in all shapes and sizes, many of whom are proudly sporting their afros and locs.
If you buy one thing: Brookell Strappy Harness Set Black, $44
Parents aren’t normally a source for fashion inspiration, but sisters Darlene and Lizzy Okpo found a way to take their parents’ personal style and give it new life. William Okpo’s designs consist of breezy, feminine silhouettes with a dash of masculinity in soft, warm tones that serve as the foundation of any outfit.
If you buy one thing: Womanly Dress, $375
James Flemons’ label Phlemuns is the saying, “Style is a way to say who you are without having to speak,” come to life. Phlemun’s is not for the faint of heart; the prints are loud, the cuts unexpected, and the designs unique. You’ll never encounter anyone with your exact outfit again. The brand counts Normani, Lizzo, and Billie Eilish as fans.
If you buy one thing: Sweatpant Cloud, $155
Not all nudes are made equal, so Salone Monet gave us six different shades to choose from. Ranging from four-inch stilettos to two-inch kitten heels, each shoe comes in a satin finish for a luxurious touch to the simplest outfit.
If you buy one thing: Sable, $295
The Amsterdam-based brand founded by friends Jefferson Osei, Hussein Suleiman, and Abderrahmane Trabsini fuses the trio’s own African heritage with contemporary aesthetics. Its minimalist approach diverts attention to bright palettes and prints.
If you buy one thing: Striped Reeser Shirt, $103
Bold enough to wear a metallic, ankle-length mesh dress? What about an all-lace one-shoulder catsuit? If you answered yes, TLZ Femme is for you. The brand’s designs are for those who are unapologetic about their femininity and embrace every part of their bodies. Cardi B and Kylie Jenner are fans.
If you buy one thing: Black Fishnet Floor-Length Dress, $198
Your vacation wardrobe isn’t complete without a Riot Swim swimsuit. The brand offers an array of sexy swim styles, but its bestseller is the Echo one-piece, which comes with a plunging v-neckline and high-leg cut.
If you buy one thing: Echo One Piece Kiwi, $96
Tongoro is a sustainable Senegal-based brand that designs playful yet mature clothing and won’t break the bank. Each item is made in Africa, an intentional move to “foster the economic and social development of artisanal workers in western Africa,” according to the brand’s site.
If you buy one thing: Oshe Set, $223
Diarra Blu, founded by Diarra Bousso, celebrates Africa’s rich colors and textures in modern designs. Fan favorites include the brand’s Convertible line, which features a dress and a jumpsuit with a flexible top that morphs into a multitude styles.
If you buy one thing: Sustainable Mailys Convertible Dress, $225
Kerby Jean-Raymond’s brainchild has garnered a wave of recognition and support in recent years thanks to the designer’s powerful messaging woven into the threads of his collections and politically charged runway shows.
If you buy one thing: Wrap Sleeve Maxi Dress, $550
Mateo New York
Founded by Matthew Harris, Mateo New York’s simple, elevated, everyday fine jewelry dips into dazzling diamonds and gemstones for the woman on the move.
If you buy one thing: 14-karat Gold Faceted Huggies, $325
LaQuan Smith designs for the It girls who don’t mind being the talk of the event. Each piece exudes sex appeal, including the signature mesh and sheer detailing and leg-baring designs that accentuate the female frame.
If you buy one thing: Animalia Catsuit, $695
Before pivoting to fashion, Rebecca Allen worked in finance. She couldn’t incorporate color into her outfits, but couldn’t find comfy nude shoes that matched her looks either. In an effort to aid others who faced the same dilemma, Allen launched her namesake label, which offers pumps, flats, and sandals in five different shades of nude.
If you buy one thing: The Skim Flat, $150
Brother Vellies is sustainable footwear founded by Aurora James. The brand is famous for its handmade shoes, which are produced by artisans from all over the world to celebrate their rich histories and cultures. Brother Vellies recently went viral for creating the snakeskin boots Jodie Turner-Smith’s Queen wore in Queen & Slim.
If you buy one thing: Woven Olivia Pump, $795
Telfar Clemens is the mastermind behind the handbag everyone can’t wait to get their hands on. The Telfar shopper tote comes in varying sizes and colors that sell out immediately folowing each release. Telfar also gives wardrobe classics like t-shirts and denim a modern twist.
If you buy one thing: Large Tan Shopping Bag, $257
Christopher John Rogers
When Christopher John Rogers made his runway debut in 2019, it was a spectacle. Really, his designs create the spectacle. Never one to shy away from voluminous silhouettes and blinding colors, CJR is perfect for anyone who wants to stand out in a crowd.
If you buy one thing: Drape Silk Tafeta Skirt, $1,975
Haitian-born designer Victor Glemaud focuses on knitwear that marries sporty and sexy together. Think runway-ready cut-out knit maxi dresses or cozy sweaters that appeal to everyone.
If you buy one thing: Maxi Dress, $595
Founded by Carly Cushnie, the brand is known for its sculptural, minimalist designs frequently worn by celebs like Rihanna, Ashley Graham, and Michelle Obama.
If you buy one thing: Navy Silk Crepe Strapless Gown with Silk Chiffon Layer, $878
Fear of God
Fear of God is in the upper echelon of streetwear. Founded by Jerry Lorenzo in 2013, the brand remains a classic in wardrobes for its timeless designs and sophisticated basics.
If you buy one thing: Hooded Raincoat, $648
Regardless of your location, Hanifa’s pieces will make you feel like you’re on vacation. Founded by Anifa Mvuemba, the brand’s vibrant colors and addictive designs are affordable and one-of-a-kind, especially its offshoot Pink Label.
If you buy one thing: Kinshasa Dress, $369
Tracy Reese dresses are the kind you wear to prance around a garden of gorgeous flowersâ€”think breezy, bouncy, and dipped in beautiful floral prints.
If you buy one thing: Abstract Floral Tie-Back Dress, $328
No need to settle for your local drugstore’s cheap tights when Nude Barre has every flesh-tone shade imaginable.
If you buy one thing: Mocha Convertible Opaque Tights, $22
For many years, it was difficult to find undergarments that matched deeper skin tones. Nubian Skin, founded by Ade Hassan, makes it easy for women of color to find hosiery and lingerie in their skin shade.
If you buy one thing: Reversible High Waist Bikini Bottom, $100
Nigerian fashion designer Dumebi Iyamah launched Andrea Iyamah to celebrate the colors, cuts, and designs of African culture. Andrea Iyamah’s pieces are simple and modernâ€”perfect for the adventurous traveler.
If you buy one thing: Wasuki High Waist Bikini, $163
The du-rag is a loungewear staple used to protect Black hair and usually worn inside the home. But Cheyenne Kimora’s iteration deserves to be displayed in a museum.
If you buy one thing: Pink Short Du-Rag, $175
When you see a Romeo Hunte piece, you see luxury and sophisticationâ€”which makes sense, since his pieces have graced the backs of women like Michelle Obama, BeyoncÃ©, and Mary J. Blige.
If you buy one thing: Buffalo Checkered Varick Shawl, $1,795
Aminah Abdul Jillil
You can probably spot an Aminah Abdul Jillil shoe from a mile away. Racy, strappy, and bedazzledâ€”what more can a woman want?
If you buy one thing: Soleil Sandal White, $498
Oma the Label
Oma the Label began by providing basics with an elevated flair. Now, the brand is pivoting to luscious gold jewelry for everyday wear.
If you buy one thing: Ori Hoop, $79
Sincerely Tommy is a fresh breath of nostalgia. The brand is a cooler, updated version of your mother’s old wardrobe; think chunky ’90s slippers, high-waisted trousers, and sharp tailoring.
If you buy one thing: BYM White Slides, $105
You haven’t experience luxury until you slip on a Fenoel piece. Influenced by her Grenadian culture, founder Felisha Noel created a line that exudes glamour, culture, and femininity through rich color pairings and prints.
If you buy one thing: Mace Half Sleeve Tie Dress, $698
Jade Swim designs simple bathing suits, but they’re anything but boring. Each piece is carefully crafted using luxe fabric that hugs the body and protects against chlorine and other factors that could prevent long term wearability.
If you buy one thing: Apex One Piece, $198
Edas creates art for your ears. All pieces are made from home goods and refurbished elements hand-crafted with love by artisans.
If you buy one thing: Around The Way Ring, $58
Designers love to look to the past, but Tia Adeola’s fascination with the Renaissance period is the driving force behind all of her collections. Adeola began designing in her dorm room in 2017, creating frothy two-piece tulle sets that have become her signature.
If you buy one thing: Pearl Veil, $220
It all started with a jewelry-making book Morgan Thomas’s mother gave her when she was younger. After her mother’s death, Thomas launched Yam NYC to continue her legacy. Now, she makes upcycled jewelry both nostalgic and inventive.
If you buy one thing: Bonar Pearl Choker, $112
ReLove is a San Francisco-based vintage retailer offering a mix of vintage, designer, and independent labels at an affordable price. If you can’t swing by its brick-and-mortar location, you can always shop online.
If you buy one thing: Vintage Celine Leather Loafer, $125
Supermodel Liya Kebede launch the brand following a trip to her native Ethiopia. LemLem partners with artisan groups across Africa to expand production and provide jobs across Africa.
If you buy one thing: Eche Cascade Dress, $325
Goodee was founded by twin brothers Byron and Dexter Peart who wanted to create a platform that introduces customers to talented artisans. Every single item on Goodee’s site is approved by the brand’s in-house sustainability team to ensure all the items are made with ethical materials.
If you buy one thing: The Goodee Hoodie, $100
Nerisha is the assistant editor at ELLE.com, covering all things beauty and fashion.
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