The #BlackLivesMatter movement first began in 2013, but it has never received the amount of attention it has in 2020. What’s different this time around is the need for real and permanent change—putting immense pressure on people, governments and businesses to change. That includes the fashion industry, with several brands and groups like the CFDA coming together to fight racism.
Instead of waiting around for some of our favourite fashion brands to reform, here are seven Black-owned labels/designers who have already taken a stand.
This London-based luxury streetwear label is best known for their expertly tailored spin on utilitarian silhouettes, but founder Samuel Ross has given us even more reason to support the brand. The independent label was among the first to offer significant support in light of recent events, having donated to frontliners of the #BLM movement, and pledging to hand out ten £25,000 grants to black-owned businesses in need. ACW shows that leading by example is the best way forward.
If you’re on the lookout for a new heeled sandal to add to your wardrobe this summer, Brother Vellies is worth every penny. Here’s why: not only are the shoes undeniably chic, but founder Aurora James is taking it one step further with the 15 Percent Pledge. Her recently established campaign calls on major retailers like Sephora and Net-a-Porter to dedicate 15% of their shelf space to Black-owned businesses.
Kerby Jean-Raymond made headlines back in 2015 after playing a short-film focused on the social injustices of the Black community at his New York Fashion Week runway show. His political activism continues at Pyer Moss as founder and creative director, where his clothes are a constant celebration of Black excellence.
The trio behind Amsterdam-based menswear label, Daily Paper, has literally showed up this past week. Not only did they finally release their Spring/Summer 2020 resort collection—the founders made it a priority to protest in solidarity with the Black community as well, while inviting their Instagram followers to join them.
It is through her namesake menswear clothing label that Bianca Saunders subtly challenges a key issue especially notable in the Black community but goes beyond it too via hypermasculinity and men’s sexual identity. Unexpected twists like ruched shoulders on a tracksuit set or heavy draping on clean-cut blazers highlight both movement and fluidity.
This season, Stella Jean is serving bold and playful silhouettes with a side of social activism. The Italian designer is using her voice to combat racial prejudice inside and outside of the Black community. Through a social awareness project titled “Italians in Becoming”, she also highlights the country’s diversity through portraiture.
Based in Los Angeles, No Sesso has been committed to inclusivity and empowerment from the get-go, constantly putting out collections free of the restrictions of gender, racial and conventional beauty stereotypes. It’s a win-win situation when there’s an opportunity to explore your creative freedom and support Black talent at the same time.