On Tuesday 2nd June, my Instagram feed was overwhelmed with people posting black squares in solidarity with Black Lives Matter. Whilst there has been some debate over the effectiveness of #BlackoutTuesday itself, the premise behind putting our usual content aside to support BLM and raise awareness about racism is extremely important. I have opted to use this time to pause, learn, donate, sign and share as much as possible.
In amongst the flood of posts I have seen on my newsfeed, one that particularly resonated with me was the statement put out by Reebok:
‘Without the black community, Reebok would not exist.
America would not exist.’
What struck me about this statement was the obvious truth behind it. So much of American and UK culture simply would not exist without black communities. Music, clothing, footwear, hairstyles, beauty trends, to name a few. The influence of black cultures and black and POC creators is everywhere. In one of my recent posts I talked about how I am currently obsessed with 90s and Y2k fashion, eras that are characterised by the influence of black culture and hip-hop music. Some of the most beloved trends of that time that are resurfacing today including the velour tracksuit, gradient glasses, nameplate jewellery, hoop earrings and airbrushed vest tops owe themselves to black culture. Not to mention the tremendous influence black people and people of colour have had on the creation and popularity of the USA’s beloved ‘sneaker culture’ that indeed exists around the world.
So, following my recent post in support of #BlackLivesMatter, I wanted to write another one, but this time in celebration of the amazing work from black creators. Despite being a fashion blogger, I must admit that I am shamefully uninformed about high fashion, famous designers, or any of the other things fashion fanatics are ‘supposed’ to know about. I almost definitely haven’t watched that runway show everyone is talking about, and wouldn’t know the difference between a designer bag and a fake version if it hit me in the face. I’m more of a fake it till you make it kind of girl. However, I do appreciate stunning fashion when I see it, and so much of the stunning fashion we see today comes from black designers. In this post, I wanted to share with you 10 amazing brands created and owned by black people and people of colour. These range from high fashion, to vintage boutiques and more affordable stores, and all of them have collections that are to die for.
I may live under a fashion rock sometimes, but this brand is hard to miss. Created by Anifa Mvuemba, I first came across Hanifa when the Pink Label Congo stormed onto the fashion scene. Mvuemba’s innovative creation of a virtual runway to showcase her recent collection broke the internet and it was not only breathtaking to watch, but will almost certainly change the future of runway forever.
The brand focuses on an array of vibrant colours and textures, producing clothes in sizes 0-20, whilst promoting a strong message to raise awareness about illegal mining of coltan in the Congo (DRC). Her recent collection featured beautiful textures, figure complimenting designs and structured pieces that celebrate ‘the gentleness, beauty, history, poise, majesty, strength, power, and hope of the Congolese spirit’. If you don’t know about Hanifa already, you need to get to know.
2. Riot Swim
Created by influencer Monti Landers (who by the way has an absolutely stunning feed at @thefull_monti), Riot Swim is a swimwear brand offering minimalistic, yet luxurious bikini and one-piece designs.
Their Echo one-piece as shown in the photo above is, understandably, one of their best sellers. I adore the ruched design of this piece, and think it looks flattering on a wide range of body types and sizes. Riot Swim gives the popular high-cut swimsuit a classy edge, whilst offering their pieces in a variety of colours to suit multiple skin tones. Their designs are modern, and beautiful in their simplicity. If only we could go on holiday this year…
3. Slashed By Tia
When I first came across Tia Adeola’s designs, I was absolutely mesmerised. As we all know, ruffles have been having a real moment this year, and nobody does ruffles quite like Slashed By Tia. With a particular penchant for luxurious organza pieces, the brands signature ruffle design, inspired by the Renaissance period, is featured in their beautiful dresses, statement trousers and vibrant tops.
Adeola’s work also incorporates lots of sheer materials, lace and pearls, and the designs featured in her AW20 runway (as shown above) are positively ethereal. This type of catwalk fashion is my absolute favourite, and I think that the designs are just so delicate and beautiful. If you don’t already follow Slashed By Tia on Instagram, then you NEED TO!
4. Christopher John Rogers
View this post on Instagram
🚌 The legend and my eternal muse, @abamfraseewur in a Candy Corn Orange silk dupioni tiered ball skirt and caped blouse for #christopherjohnrogers FW2020.🧀 Styling: @imruh Casting: @rickymichiels MUA: @marcelogutierrez for @maccosmetics Hair: @naeemahlafond for @amika Set Design: @saurasgarriga Direction: @christinachanel Production: @imgfocus PR: @loftcreativegrouppr Shoes: @louboutinworld Jewelry: @morganfhill Sound Design: @skypewilliams Sponsored generously by: @swarovski, @nyfw, @taronisilk and @scaddotedu
There’s no way I could write this post without including Mr Rogers. Loved by celebrities including Lizzo and Lil Nas X, his designs are for all the colour lovers and stand-out personalities out there. As I said before, it’s not often that I watch a runway show, but one of the shows I did watch was Christopher John Rogers, and I fell in love.
His designs are the clothes that we all wish we could wear, you know, like the ones that we wear in our opulent daydreams in which we’re accepting a Grammy or an Oscar. His AW20 runway featured just about every colour in the rainbow, focusing on bold balloon styles and iconic power suits. The two huge ball gowns of the collection were breathtaking, but the star of the show for me was the yellow ruffled dress. I wonder which piece I’ll be wearing in my next imaginary red carpet experience.
5. Fe Noel
Founded by designer Felisha ‘Fe’ Noel, Fe Noel is a luxury brand deeply influenced by its creator’s Grenadian heritage. The first thing that attracted me to this brand was its beautiful use of colour and texture in pieces such as the wrap dress featured above.
Her ‘Daughter of the Soil’ collection is one of the most beautiful lookbooks I have ever seen. Created to combine ‘culture and glamour‘, the pieces featured vibrant colours including stunning shades of green, and an emphasis on satin and sheer materials. Her pieces ooze class and glamour, and my personal favourite is this green dress and top combo…I mean, wow.
6. Cat’s Eyes Vintage
If you have been following me for a while, either on Instagram or on my blog, then you will already know how much I adore this brand. A good friend of mine, and one of the most fashionable people I know, Cat Patterson runs her gorgeous little vintage boutique over on Asos Marketplace!
She champions sustainable fashion, giving a new lease of life to pre-loved items. Cat hand picks and styles her entire collection, showing off unique items that are ‘cute and feminine with a boyish edge’. I’ve never known anyone with such a good eye for pieces! With slip dresses, tailored jackets and trench coats galore, it’s vintage fashion for the modern woman, all wrapped up in a pretty pink package with a handwritten note. If you want to support a smaller business, then this is the perfect one for you.
7. OMA The Label
I know I said that the Fe Noel collection was the most beautiful lookbook I had ever seen, but the promotional photos for OMA’s SLK collection come a close second. This stunning top and dress combo was also shot in a deep green colour and looked every bit as elegant as it does in this picture. I just love the simplicity of these pieces, and how the colours compliment a darker skin tone so beautifully.
Created by Neumi Anekhe, the brand has recently focused on its selection of unique, pretty, golden jewellery pieces, especially hoop earrings. The brand gives a unique take on the traditional gold hoop, with alternative shapes and twisted patterns that evoke a subtle elegance. The Marth hoops are my personal favourites!
8. Kai Collective
Not only does Kai Collective feature gorgeous designs, but I love that they show how their designs look on women of different body types. Founded by fashion and travel blogger Fisayo Longe, Kai Collective aims to provide clothing with a luxury feel, at an attainable budget, and her pieces certainly live up to this luxurious aesthetic.
Her designs feature a variety of staple materials and textures from vegan leather, to satin, sheer mesh and ruched detailing. As a lover of pastels, the colours in her collection appealed to me from the moment I set eyes on them. Some of the pieces highlight simplicity, whilst others flirt with bold prints and styles. A modern take on classic styles, Kai Collective is a brand for the confident, feminine woman!
9. Suite Coco
Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to find the name of the creator of Suite Coco, so please let me know their name if you know so I can add it in! Nevertheless, I wanted to include the brand because from what I’ve seen, they have some gorgeous products!
As one of the smaller brands on this list, Suite Coco’s collection is only just beginning to grow, but each item is carefully and beautifully made. One of the best things about this brand is that it is all natural, sustainable clothing. Much like Cat’s Eyes Vintage, it advocates fashion that doesn’t harm the environment, and so, they operate on a non-seasonal basis, only releasing small amounts of each style, with some being made-to-order only. I love this unique concept and the ethos of the brand, as well as the beautiful items they have released so far, including dresses that feature bold prints in pretty pastel colours. This is another small business that deserves our support, so make sure to check it out, but get in quick before the items sell out!
10. TLZ L’Femme
TLZ L’Femme has quite a different aesthetic to most of the brands that I have mentioned in this post, but I love it for different reasons. Created by Aazhia Rhy, rather than being focused on vibrant colours, the brand’s latest collection has a neutral palette of browns, whites and beiges.
I love the layered aspects to these looks, and the tie details are really unique and add some great texture and detail to the outfits. I think the co-ord sets, like the ones shown above, are some of the coolest pieces in the collection!
TLZ also creates some gorgeous more vibrant pieces, featuring feathers, ruffles, lace and mesh, you know, all the good stuff. Remember that photo of Kylie and Stormi in their matching dresses? Those were also beautiful pieces by TLZ L’Femme! Have you ever seen anything so cute? *I’m too young, I’m too young, I’m too young*
I came away from writing this post feeling really inspired. As I said before, it’s not often that I actually do the research behind the designers I am looking at, and I really enjoyed learning about these brands, their ethos, and the unique inspirations behind each collection. Not only this, but I think we can all agree that they each one has created and styled some beautiful pieces. If you haven’t come across these brands before then I urge you to check them out! These are just 10 of my personal favourites out of a long list of inspiring and creative black and poc designers, and I would love to keep discovering more, so if you have any favourites then make sure to let me know about them in the comments below!
Which was your favourite piece from this post? Let me know in the comments below!