7 Black-owned fashion labels paving the way for change

Photo credit: @biancasaunders_/Instagram

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.


View this post on Instagram

[email protected]

A post shared by A-COLD-WALL* (@acoldwall) on

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.

Brother Vellies

View this post on Instagram

Black-Owned Businesses are the heart and soul of our communities and they are closing right before our eyes at a rapid pace. They are the most vulnerable and have received the least amount of economic support. All while businesses like @wholefoods @target @walmart thrive. Economic Equality means enacting real change. Taking the @15percentpledge is ONE thing retailers can do to help • . I am calling on businesses of all sorts and consumers to look at this economic pledge in 3 parts: . 1) Auditing and taking stock of where you are at. Look at your existing shelves, hangers, boardrooms and receipts. How many Black-Owned businesses are you buying? How many Black Women are in your C-Suite? Do that work. . 2) Take ownership of where you’re at – ideally publicly. Maybe only 2% of your staff is black, 1% of your content, whatever it is just own it. Accept it. Take accountability. . 3) Commit to growth. What is your strategy to get to a minimum of 15% and how do you plan to be held accountable? . I am not saying this is easy. I’m saying this is necessary. #15percentpledge . Graphic by @monachalabi @15percentpledge

A post shared by Aurora James 🦢 (@aurorajames) on

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. 

Pyer Moss

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. 

Daily Paper 

View this post on Instagram

We will be there. Join us. #blacklivesmatter

A post shared by Daily Paper (@dailypaper) on

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. 

Bianca Saunders

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.

Stella Jean

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. 

No Sesso

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. 

See also: #BlackLivesMatter: Where To Donate To The Cause

In this Story: #style / #fashion