Browse Tag

ethical fashion

2 mins read

Black-Owned Ethical Clothing Brands You Should Know

The ethical fashion movement advocates for increased sustainability, fair labor practices, and transparency in the fashion industry.

Numerous talented and innovative Black fashion designers are at the forefront of this movement, and it is crucial to support and amplify the voices of those who may not always enjoy the same degree of visibility and representation.

This article highlights a few Black-owned ethical clothing brands that are noteworthy for their dedication to sustainability, ethical production, and cultural representation.

Black-Owned Ethical Clothing Brands

Autumn Adeigbo

Autumn Adeigbo is known for its bold, colorful prints and modern designs. The New York-based brand embraces sustainable practices by purchasing in limited quantities and producing only what is ordered, minimizing fabric waste, excessive manufacturing, and surplus stock.

Hope For Flowers

Black-Owned Ethical clothing Brands

Hope for Flowers by Tracy Reese places a premium on ethical, sustainable, and socially responsible sourcing and business practices. The collection is a statement of Reese’s commitment to the slow-fashion movement, incorporating her signature silhouettes, color palette, and penchant for pattern.

Taylor Jay

Black-Owned Ethical clothing Brands

Taylor Jay empowers women with beautiful, versatile, comfortable, sustainable fashion basics that easily adapt to any lifestyle. The Oakland-based brand partners with an ethically sourced, fair labor practicing factory in Oakland, to produce environmentally safe garments from certified eco-friendly textiles.

Aliya Wanek

Black-Owned Ethical clothing Brands

Aliya Wanek is an eponymous womenswear label that focuses on exploring the connection between one’s identity and style.

CanDid Art

Black-Owned Ethical clothing Brands

Candid Art promotes self-expression, individuality, and sustainability through custom abstract designs and ethically sourced materials.

House of Aama

Each House of Amma collection tells a story – heavily influenced by Black folklore – and everything from flowing dresses to statement swimwear is expertly crafted in LA following a low-waste model.

Gracemade

Gracemade is a faith-driven apparel brand designed and manufactured in Los Angeles, using ethical standards with the utmost respect for people, our local community, and our environment.

These brands are merely a sample of the many talented and innovative Black designers working to create a more sustainable and equitable fashion industry.

by Tony O. Lawson

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8 mins read

ArtistsUntold, a Black Owned Clothing Brand that Empowers Black Artists

ArtistsUntold is a Black owned clothing brand that fuses art and fashion. The online retail platform provides up-and-coming Black artists with the opportunity to promote and monetize their artwork through apparel and fine art sales.

We spoke with co-founder, Jordan Abdur-Raoof to find out more about the company and its mission to empower Black artists.

Black Owned Clothing Brand
ArtistsUntold co-founder, Jordan Abdur-Raoof

What inspired the creation of ArtistsUntold and its business model?

I had followed this woman on Instagram for years and she was selling her artwork on apparel. I bought a shirt of hers, and it was just poor quality to be frank. It was then that I was like, you know this is something that I can do. 

I could share the artists’ story, their art, and their mission by creating a platform to pay the artists a portion of each sale. It had everything that I was looking for in a social venture.

Black Owned Clothing Brand

I talked with 30 to 40 people who critiqued it here and there, but generally speaking it seemed like a value proposition that a lot of artists really needed. The one thing that I think is unique to us is that we pay multiples higher than the industry standard to artists. Also, a lot of companies will make artists sign exclusivity agreements where they do not own their artwork anymore, but with us they still retain ownership.

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Essentially the artists are licensing the artwork out to us, and if they one day decided that they did not want the artwork on ArtistsUntold anymore, easy enough; we will take it down. We are trying to be as pro-artist as possible.

Black Owned Clothing Brand

How do you select which artists to work with?

It’s been quite a process. When we first started I’d send out 20 messages a day to different artists who had a few hundred to thousands of followers. And 99 percent of the time you wouldn’t get a response. That has now shifted since June with the Black Lives Matter movement, as it accelerated people’s validation of our value proposition and the service that we’re providing.

Now, some artists will reach out to us such as Brandon Brewer. Brandon reached out when he had about 75 followers. I thought to myself, ‘This is unbelievable. I love the work he’s doing, and I love his creative process along with what he communicates through his art’

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Another example is Uzo, who had only a few thousand followers when we first partnered but now has about 50,000. Seeing them grow exponentially has been really exciting, and I am happy that I was able to see artists and their vision, discuss with our team, and run with it.

Now, it’s almost 100% inbound and we have artists apply and unfortunately, we need to turn artists down from time to time.

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What is the most rewarding and most challenging thing about being an entrepreneur?

The challenges and rewards go hand in hand. The hardest part of this is not having a blueprint, but that is what makes this so much fun. Everyday there is a new challenge, or idea, that we need to handle or implement. We are a smaller firm so we are extremely receptive and work hard to pivot quickly depending on customer feedback.

There is no direction list or manual, so you need to figure everything out for yourself. I make a joke that Google is my best friend, but honestly almost every problem I am confronted with I turn to Google and my partners Xander and Steven and we find a solution.

Whether it’s measuring sales taxes, hiring a marketing firm, figuring out Facebook ads, affiliate programs, shipping, how to best respond to client emails and provide excellent customer service, setting up an EIN & business bank account, accounting, or social media aesthetic we are able to learn, adapt, and implement on the fly.  

Where do you see the business in 5 years?

In 5 years, we hope to be recognized as a premier socially conscious and sustainable streetwear & fine art brand. We would like to have a flagship store/gallery in New York and LA combining streetwear, fine art, music, and of course an amazing coffee bar.

We would also like to have a large enough following where any artist on our platform is making enough passive income to pursue art full time whether they have 50 followers or 50,000 followers.

What advice do you have for aspiring entrepreneurs?

First and foremost, is to stop talking about it and actually do it. Create a business plan, share your plan and get as much feedback as possible and adapt on the fly because it will not be perfect. While at Cornell I took a lot of classes on Entrepreneurship that have acted as core pillars for this business.

The most important takeaways for me are to listen and ask for feedback & to adapt quickly based on these ‘interviews’ you are conducting. Lastly, there is a huge component of ‘Grit’ which is a passion and perseverance for long-term and meaningful goals.

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Black Owned Clothing Brand

You have to have the ability to persist in something you feel passionate about and persevere when you face obstacles. I know every day when I wake up, I am going to work on ArtistsUntold whether I want to or not, because I have a commitment to empowering underrepresented communities both financially and by sharing narratives in a positive light that can challenge the stereotypes that exist in today’s society.

I know we have the potential to create hundreds of thousands of dollars in wealth for Black and underrepresented communities and the power to plant hundreds of thousands of trees. This drives me forward, so whatever you create, create it with the right intentions and try to put more good into the world.

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2 mins read

Black Owned Ethical Fashion Brands from the Continent

In response to growing demand from socially conscious consumers, ethical fashion brands are popping up around the world and established brands are developing eco-friendly lines.

The Black owned ethical fashion brands below are just some of several that are empowering economically disadvantaged artisans in communities across several African countries.

Black Owned Ethical Fashion Brands

The Haute Baso vision is to promote Rwanda’s ability to produce high-end and functional products that are able to compete on local and international levels.

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Anita Quansah creates unique and stylish one-off pieces of clothing with matching neckpieces using vintage and recycled materials which beautifully meld into a look of classic sophistication.

ethical fashion

 

KIKI Clothing is the brainchild of Titi Ademola, a fashion designer who is devoted to creating ready-to-wear collections that are meticulously made in Ghana.

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Sonia Mugabo is a Rwandan fashion brand that was born out of founder, Sonia Mugabo’s strong interest in design; and the desire to tap into the existing local artisan talent to make high quality men and womenswear.

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Studio 189 is a fashion brand based in Ghana created by Abrima Erwiah and Rosario Dawson. It provides a platform to promote African brands through worldwide distribution and manufacturing of their artisan produced collection.

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U.Mi-1 (pronounced you.me.one) is a contemporary brand that appeals to people who judge luxury from the finishing inside to the detailing on the outside.

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Sophie Zinga is a Senegalese fashion brand. The collection features exquisite and the finest materials and fabrics namely silks, hand made Senegalese cloth and semi-precious stones.

black owned Ethical Fashion

Duaba Serwa is a Ghanaian womenswear brand founded by Nelly Hagan-Aboagye.  Initially starting as a jewelry designer, Duaba Serwa then developed its trademark of applying jewelry to clothes.

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Mimi Plange is a modern women’s wear brand launched in 2010 by American-Ghanaian designer, Mimi Plange. Lost African civilizations inspire the Mimi Plange clothing and give the collection depth of meaning.

black owned Ethical Fashion

 

by Tony O. Lawson

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5 mins read

Black Owned Ethical Fashion Brands from Across the Globe

A growing number of consumers worldwide are becoming more conscious of which businesses they spend their money with.

Whether it’s with a Black owned business, an eco-friendly business, or a business that creates jobs in developing countries, consumers want to create positive change by supporting brands that know how to “act right”.

This practice is commonly referred to as conscious consumerism, social consumerism, or ethical consumerism.

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Ninety percent of U.S. consumers say they would switch brands to one associated with a cause, given comparable price and quality.

Forty-two percent of North American consumers reported they would pay extra for products and services from companies committed to positive social and environmental impact.

One third of U.K. consumers claim to be very concerned about issues regarding the origin of products.

One organization that is committed to the creation of jobs, ethical products, and profits is The Ethical Fashion Initiative. Through their network, fashion brands can manufacture ethical fashion items produced by some of the most talented artisans in the world.

According to the EEFI, “Artisans are the key to a fashion industry that has ethics and aesthetics. Sweatshops and workers trapped in an endless cycle of creating cheap fast-fashion is not true fashion.”

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Artisans

“If you’re looking for innovative ways to help developing countries flourish, artisans are a terrific place to begin,” stated U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry.

Although the artisan industry is not recognized as a major influencer on economic growth, artisan activity is the second largest employer in the developing world, only behind agriculture.

Globally, artisan production is a $34 billion industry. Even during the 2008 economic crisis, when most markets fell, the demand for artisan crafts continued to grow. Supporting these craftsmen and craftswomen is a proven way to create employment opportunities and pull families out of poverty.

Our support also provides them with the means to educate and feed their children. It can revive entire communities by stabilizing local economies.

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There are several Black owned businesses that use artisans to create dope products. Here are a few that are based across East Africa, West Africa, the U.S. and the U.K.

Black owned ethical fashion brands

Brother Vellies is based in Brooklyn. Aurora James created the brand with the goal of creating artisanal jobs within Africa while introducing the rest of the world to her favorite traditional African footwear.

Black owned ethical fashion brands

Sole rebels was created by Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu. This is a sustainable footwear company that offers ethical, eco-friendly & vegan shoes handcrafted by Ethiopian artisans.

Black owned ethical fashion brands

FOMI was created by Afomia Tesfayeo. They offer handbags and shoes that are handcrafted in Ethiopia.

Black owned ethical fashion brands

A A K S is a Ghana and U.K. based brand created by Akosua Afriyie-Kumi. The pieces incorporate the use of raffia and leather to create bags hand crafted by the best artisanal local weavers in Ghana.

Black owned ethical fashion brands

Coins were used as jewelry in ancient times. They were passed from generation to generation as a special memory from loved ones. The Coins Shop is a family-owned business in Zanzibar, Tanzania.

Black owned ethical fashion brands

Sindiso Khumalo founded her fashion label with a  focus on creating modern sustainable textiles.  Sustainability, craft and empowerment lie at the heart of the label.

Black owned ethical fashion brands

 

Alaffia’s goal is to alleviate poverty and encourage gender equality. Their Empowerment Projects include several Education-Based Projects, Maternal Health, Eyeglasses and Reforestation.

Black owned ethical fashion brands

Lemlem offers hand-woven cotton scarves, women’s clothing and children’s dresses made by traditional artisans in Ethiopia.

ethical fashion

Kenya-based Adèle Dejak creates handmade luxury fashion accessories for the modern woman.

Adèle’s collection expresses her appreciation for African-made fabrics and a dedication to using recycled materials including rice and cement sacks, brass, and glass.

ethical fashion

 

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