• Akeila Dowdy

7 Black-owned brands every fashionista should know

As a black-owned business, we know how important it is to support our community, especially during the time of COVID-19. CBS News recently reported that “40% of black-owned businesses [are] not expected to survive coronavirus.” The same report stated that an analysis by the Center for Responsible Lending found that 95% of black-owned businesses were shut out of the small business initiative. This analysis, coupled with the fact that the fashion industry has also been hit hard by this pandemic, makes it even harder for these businesses to survive. This leaves many businesses with no choice, but to rely on us, the community. So in honor of them, we want to highlight some black-owned fashion brands we’re currently obsessed with.

1. LAPP (Sportswear)

LAPP was established in 2016 by model Leomie Anderson. It stands for “Leomie Anderson the Project the Purpose” and is described as a sportswear brand with a purpose. Not only is LAPP a clothing brand, but it doubles as a magazine with it’s articles mainly focused on social justice and politics. It's cool and minimal design makes it the perfect brand for the active woman on a mission to change the world.

2. Riot Swim (Swimwear)

Riot Swim is a sexy, minimalistic swimwear brand. Featured in Vogue, Elle, and even Forbes, it’s proved to be a contender to the most well-known brands. With it’s cool asymmetrical designs, this brand stands out by featuring flesh-toned swimsuits that span the spectrum across women of color. Hot girl summer, anyone?

3. Cushnie (Ready to Wear)

For those who have followed this brand for a while you remember it was formerly a duo called Cushnie et Ochs founded by Carly Cushnie and Michelle Ochs. Carly eventually branched out on her own to create the brand coveted by the likes of Beyoncé, Lupita Nyong’o, and Michelle Obama known as just Cushnie. Known for their angular lines and soft draping, the luxury ready-to-wear brand provide a sexy, feminine edge needed for a post quarantine night out.

4. Mateo (Jewelry)

Mateo New York specializes in creating works of art in the form of jewelry. In fact, the Smithsonian Museum featured and sold Mateo at the African American Museum of Art and Culture in Washington D.C in 2016, and the Smithsonian Hirshhorn Museum of Contemporary Art in 2017. Founded by Matthew Harris in 2009, it’s quickly become a favorite brand of celebs like Yara Shahidi, Gabrielle Union, and Kerry Washington - all of whom embody simplistic elegance that compliments Mateo's aesthetic. Pair a casual top with the Duality Pearl and Malachite Danglers and your outfit is instantly upgraded.

5. Stella Jean (Ready to wear)

Adding another ready to wear brand to the list, this designer has been a favorite of ours for MANY years. Stella Jean is based in Rome and very well-known for mixing African and ethnic inspired prints with Italian craftsmanship. The founder, Stella Jean, describes fashion as "more than the sum of garments...but the meeting of cultures”. Her philosophy is driven by the fact the she is an intersection of cultures - her mother Haitian and father Italian. Each collection seeks to highlight the beauty of a specific culture - creating some of the most unique pieces on the market.

6. Nude Barre (Hosiery/Undergarments)

Erin Carpenter, a professional dancer, founded Nude Barre out of the lack of nude hosiery for women of color. She recalls spending hours dying and spray painting her dance tights to meet the requirement of flesh toned undergarments for her uniform, inspiring her to create Nude Barre in 2009 for others with the same problem. Not only does this brand include hosiery, but undergarments such as thongs and bralettes that provide the perfect foundation for women of every tone.

7. Coco and Breezy (Eyewear)

Coco and Breezy is one of the coolest eyewear companies around. Founded in 2009 by twin designers Corianna and Brianna Dotson, who are also DJs and artists, it’s not a surprise they’ve created sunglasses for the late music icon Prince. Their unconventional, unique designs will add an element of fun to all your outfits.

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