Browse Tag


2 mins read

Black Owned Headwear Brands You Should Know

Headwear is an essential part of any outfit and can be used to make a statement or simply to add some extra style. If you’re interested in adding some unique pieces to your headwear collection, there are plenty of Black owned headwear brands to explore.

From fedoras to bucket hats, these brands offer a wide variety of styles and designs that are sure to suit any taste.

Black Owned Headwear Brands

Dungeon Forward

Dungeon Forward is a purveyor of precision designed innovative headwear. Founded in 2007 by architect David Castro, their mission is to inspire, uplift, enlighten, and tell authentic cultural stories by crowning the culture.

Wear Brims

black owned headwear

Wear Brims was founded on basic principles that are at the core of every decision and every design. Faith, Family, Confidence.

Frances Grey

Frances Grey is a line of custom, statement hats designed with a bold and creative sensibility. Designed by Debbie Lorenzo, each design embodies simplicity and timeless sophistication.

Nicholas Daley

black owned headwear

Nicholas Daley is a London-based menswear designer who explores the interplay of fashion, music, and culture. Daley builds a label around diversity, inclusion, and community while creating space for a multicultural British identity to unfold.


Monrowe is a unisex line of ready-to-wear hats, made in the USA and created for the bold at heart. More timeless than trendy, the brims blend nuances from ‘40s and ‘50s Jazz Era styles with classic Western shapes and contemporary elements.

Fruition Hat Company

Fruition Hat Company is a lifestyle hat brand that encourages freedom of expression through style and accessories; no boundaries attached.  The only rule: Be you, Be True.

Nappy Head Club

Nappy Head Club is known for its trend-savvy, inclusive clothing, where thoughtfully designed wearable affirmations create a rare opportunity to affirm Black identity through fashion.

FlameKeepers Hat Club

FlameKeepers Hat Club is a Harlem-based, upscale hat store that offers an array of sophisticated hats in many styles.


Uptown Yardie

Uptown Yardie wool Felt Crowns are made and hand finished in London, constructed on hat blocks with an internal elastic band, for fit and comfort.

by Tony O. Lawson

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10 mins read

DIARRABLU: Where Math, Tradition, and Sustainability Meet Fashion

DIARRABLU is a luxury fashion brand that blends mathematics, sustainability, and cultural traditions to create unique and beautiful clothing.

In this interview, we spoke with founder Diarra Bousso about her journey as a fashion designer, her passion for creative mathematics, her insights on the future of the fashion industry and more.

Diarra Bousso

What first drew you to become a fashion designer, and how did you get started in the industry?

I started my parent company in 2013 after feeling very unhappy on Wall Street and craving more creativity in my life. I returned to Senegal to reconnect with my artisanal heritage and started designing. For years, I was testing accessories and various types of clothing until 2015, when I decided I wanted to focus on building a contemporary lifestyle brand. However, the big breakthrough happened in 2018 when I went to Stanford for my Master’s exploring creative mathematics.

I used to draw and paint since very little, and for the first time, I was so swamped with teaching and grading that I no longer had the time or bandwidth to draw. I then had the idea to use math equations and concepts to create my textile patterns faster. This changed the direction of my company, and from then on, DIARRABLU became a fashion tech company using math to create fashion more efficiently and more consciously. 

Can you tell us about your teaching and research of Creative Mathematics in Silicon Valley and how it relates to your work in fashion design?

I became a math teacher after getting my Master’s in Math Ed at Stanford in 2018. One day I was grading Algebra papers focused on graphing linear, absolute value, and quadratic equations and started seeing their mistakes differently. Many students would place the vertex of the quadratic elsewhere or just get confused with the symmetry.

I looked at the realm of their answers across 88 students and started daydreaming about the patterns all their combined mistakes could produce. The next day, I stayed up all night graphing various equations and coloring the intersecting regions randomly. It set the tone for how I would re-teach graphing in my Algebra class for the following weeks but also informed an innovative new design process for my prints.

Being from an artisan family, the natural next step was to fuse both worlds. Today I create innovative ways to teach mathematics using art/fashion and my lessons are used by over 20,000 math educators around the country. 


How do you merge algorithms, tradition, and sustainability in your design concept?

As a mathematician, I’ve always been fascinated by numbers. At DIARRABLU, we’ve created a system that utilizes math algorithms to generate numerous print iterations using a combination of shapes, colors, textures etc. I either manually write equations to create patterns, use AI and machine learning or hand paint my designs.

Often it’s a combination of both as I love merging the authentic and the automatic. These prints are rendered on digital designs and shared on social media for people to vote. We only move to production based on customer demand and engagement. Through this approach, we’ve been able to reduce textile waste by 60% while continuously introducing new designs digitally.

In my culture, sustainability is a way of life rather than a fleeting trend. By producing on demand instead of stocking inventory, we remain true to our values and help the industry to reduce waste. It’s who we are and what we stand for. 


How do you manage your global team between Dakar, New York, Sao Paulo and San Francisco? 

Our team has grown from less than 10 pre-pandemic to over 45 today, the majority is in Dakar, Senegal, but we also have great members in New York, San Francisco, Sao Paulo, Madrid, The Philippines, Cape Town, Abidjan, among others.

Today, I organize my routine to ensure I support all of them; it’s a challenge, but I’m lucky to have a great team that supports each other. My mom manages the artisan team in Senegal and she now works with great operations managers. My US operation team is managed out of New York and I am focused on managing the creative and marketing teams that are fully remote.

I am also managing the overall company and that requires a lot of alignment and planning. Luckily everyone is so excited and passionate about what they do and we feel like one big international family.

What are some of the challenges you face in leading a global team? 

The biggest challenge is navigating cultural differences. For example, our Dakar team is 100% West African but with multiple countries, languages, and ethnicities and it was so eye-opening to witness how much diversity exists even in a seemingly all Black team. The notion of leadership is very different in Senegalese culture vs Ivory Coast, Benin, or Cameroun.

On the US side, we also see that a mindset focused on efficiency and optimization sometimes goes against the traditions and beliefs of our artisan team in Senegal. There are also language barriers whereby most of the team in Senegal speaks Wolof and French whereas in the US we conduct all meetings in English.

From a global standpoint, the DIARRABLU team features multiple ethnicities across various continents which also means we often can get lost in translation as for most of us, English is a second or even third language. For me, managing people across all these cultures, time zones and languages has helped me grow tremendously. It’s definitely a very humbling challenge I truly welcome every day


You’ve showcased your collections during New York and Paris Fashion Week and represented Senegal at World Fashion Week Paris. What is your biggest achievement so far?

Starting and running a fashion brand out of my childhood bedroom makes every achievement a big deal. From selling with huge retailers, like Nordstrom, to seeing many people wearing DIARRABLU around the world and supporting our stories. For me, it’s not about money or success. It’s about magic, life, people, and my passion for fashion and math. 

If I had to pick the biggest achievement, however, it would be the fact that this company has allowed my mom to find her true passion in life! Mom left her career to raise 4 kids while my dad worked tirelessly and together they dedicated everything to us and our education. I feel so much gratitude and respect for my parents and their sacrifices. Today, we are all grown and Mom gets to do something she loves, manage a team and feel fulfilled through work that is so meaningful for her and the entire family. 

Diarra’s mother

How do you see the fashion industry evolving in the next few years?

I believe the industry will continue its shift towards sustainability and transparency in production, with technology playing a major role in improving efficiency and reducing waste. I also think that there will be a greater focus on inclusivity and diversity in the industry as consumers demand more representation from the brands they support.

What are your future plans for DIARRABLU?

I want to explore further what we can create by merging math and fashion with our iterative design philosophy while amplifying our message for a more ethical and sustainable fashion future. I am excited to explore home goods and accessories and also invest more time in releasing more art in the forms of paintings, digital prints and NFTs.

by Tony O. Lawson

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3 mins read

Ann Lowe: The Visionary Behind Some of the Most Iconic Dresses of the 20th Century

Ann Lowe was born into a family of skilled seamstresses in Montgomery, Alabama. Her grandmother was a formerly enslaved dressmaker, while her mother was an embroidery specialist.

When Lowe was sixteen years old, her mother died suddenly, and she took over the family dressmaking business. She completed a high-profile order from the governor’s wife, which established her as the new head of the business.

Lowe left her husband and moved to Florida with her son, where she worked as a live-in dressmaker for a socialite for a decade. In 1917, she traveled to New York City to attend sewing courses. However, as the only Black student, she was segregated from her peers and had to work in a separate room. She moved to New York City permanently in 1928.

Lowe’s success was attributed to her client network. Her unique gowns, often featuring floral motifs and made of fine fabric, were sought after by the wealthy American elite. She specialized in debutante gowns and wedding dresses. Lowe’s craftsmanship was of the highest quality, with techniques such as gathered tulle and canvas to hold out hems, lace seam bindings, hand-sewn organza facings, and weights to promote proper hang.

Ann Lowe

In 1950, Lowe opened her stand-alone business, “Ann Lowe’s Gowns” in New York City. Three years later, she was chosen to create the dresses for the entire bridal party of Jacqueline Bouvier’s wedding to Senator John F. Kennedy.

Ten days before the wedding, there was a flood in Lowe’s studio, destroying two months’ worth of work. However, Lowe was able to reconstruct the dresses with extra help, and despite absorbing the cost, she did not receive credit for her work at the time, as the press referred to her as “a colored dressmaker.”

ann lowe

Despite designing for an elite clientele, Lowe was paid less than white designers for her custom design work. After the death of her son and business partner in 1958, she struggled financially and ultimately declared bankruptcy in 1962.

Today, Ann Lowe is recognized as a pioneering African American couturier, and her pieces are preserved in renowned museum collections, including the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of the City of New York, and The Museum at FIT.

She is no longer “society’s best-kept secret,” as the Saturday Evening Post once called her.

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4 mins read

Black Owned Sneaker Brands You Should Know

Sneakerheads, it’s time to show some love to the Black owned sneaker brands out there! Many of these brands are making waves in the industry and deserve just as much attention as the big players.

According to recent studies, the global sneaker market is expected to reach $95 billion by 2028. In the United States, the sneaker market is expected to reach $28 billion by 2026.

I’m sure you’d agree that Black owned sneaker brands deserve a piece of this multi-billion-dollar pie. Let’s dive in and explore some of the brands you need to know about.

Black Owned Sneaker Brands

Ninety-Nine Products

Black Owned Sneaker Brands

NinetyNine Products is a footwear brand focused on supporting the communities that drive culture and style while using high-performance technology to build functional products that work in competition and in life.


Black Owned Sneaker Brands

Founded by Allyson Felix, the most decorated track and field athlete of all time, Saysh is a community-centered lifestyle brand for, and by, women. Their mission is to create a future in which inequality is undermined by female creativity and athleticism.


Black Owned Sneaker Brands

A footwear brand committed to the highest levels of quality in production, design, and materials while maintaining a commitment to social and environmental responsibility.

SIA Collective

black owned sneaker brands

SIA, which stands for Somewhere In America, is owned by Devlin Carter. The brand is known for its unique and bold designs, making them a popular choice among its loyal following.


Black Owned Sneaker Brands

ROCKDEEP is a 10-year-old athletic and outdoor footwear company providing function, style, and quality at prices that will make you mad at your favorite brand.


Black Owned Sneaker Brands

The KEEXS footwear brand is an African-inspired collection of casual footwear that accentuates the coolness of any man or woman. It is also for individuals who are expressive and unapologetic regarding their fashion choices.


Enda is an African running shoe brand inspired by the world’s greatest runners in Kenya.

Fabrice Tardieu

Fabrice Tardieu is a sneaker brand known for its hand-painted, “laid-back luxury” designs inspired by street cultures in cities like Miami, New York, London, and Paris.


Black Owned Sneaker Brands

TRONUS is a cutting-edge sneaker brand founded by the first female football player to own a sneaker company, Santia Deck. TRONUS offers limited edition styles and unique packaging, appealing to sneaker enthusiasts of all levels.


NBA veteran Langston Galloway and his wife Sabrina started Ethics, with the goal of creating a product that goes beyond just a creative design and has meaning behind it. The company aims to change the narrative in basketball footwear and ownership of it through a unique product.


PerryCo is a brand that prides itself on being unisex, offering both footwear and accessories for all genders. The brand is known for breaking gender barriers and providing versatile, stylish options for all customers.

Q4 Sports

Q4, based in Los Angeles, was founded on the four fundamental elements required for success in any game: Purpose, Passion, Dedication, and Focus. Q4SPORTS is a brand committed to empowering others through sport and located at the intersection of sports and business.

Nagast Footwear 

Nagast Footwear aims to uplift and create a positive outlook in the Black community. The shoes are inspired by African culture and are designed to be fashionable and high-quality.


In 2018, Darrell Alston launched Bungee Oblečení, a brand of luxury sneakers and upscale athleisure wear, based on sketches he created while incarcerated. Bungee focuses on high quality materials and clean, classic lines.

by Tony O. Lawson

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11 mins read

Monetizing Your Personal Brand: An Inside Look with Tiffany Battle

In today’s digital age, the creator economy is booming as more and more individuals are finding ways to monetize their personal brands. From social media influencers to content creators, the opportunities to turn one’s passions and talents into a profitable career are endless.

In this interview, we caught up with Tiffany M. Battle, the creator behind The Werk! Place, to gain insight into her journey as a creator, and the techniques she has used to monetize her personal brand.

From brand partnerships to TV hosting and affiliate marketing, Tiffany shares her experience and insights on how to turn a passion for fashion into a thriving career.

Tiffany Battle

What inspired your love for fashion?

My love for fashion actually started with trips with my mother to the mall on most Sundays after church and brunch. You know we love brunch!

Initially, I would go to the toy stores while my mom shopped at her favorite retailers. Then something changed and before I realized it, I was living out my pre-teen dreams shopping at Rave, Claire’s, 5-7-9, Wild Pair and the like!

How would you describe your style?

Style is my art; clothes are my medium. My style is a fresh breath of fun! I’m a mixed print, patterned, texture fiend. I firmly believe in coloring outside of the lines with my clothing.

When did you realize that you could monetize your personal brand? What are some ways you are doing so now?

I have a story about that. Like to hear it, here it go!

During one of many trips to New York for New York Fashion Week, I was standing in line to enter a fashion show. I received a call for an opportunity at the Essence Street Style Festival with an automotive brand offering a cute little penny. It was definitely the most lucrative opportunity at that point in my journey. They wanted me to come to the festival and be a co-host at their tent.

I was so taken aback by the opportunity, I didn’t even negotiate it! I just agreed to whatever terms they were offering (Note: ALWAYS negotiate!). I was on the verge of tears because it was at that moment that I realized there was some real money to be made in this industry.

The primary ways in which I’m currently monetizing are the following:

  • Brand Partnerships – Through partnerships with brands that I love, like, and want to explore, I create authentic engaging content sharing their products, services, and experiences with my readers.
  • TV Host – Being a host on CLEO TV’s Boss Girl’s Guide is really just an extension of what I’ve been doing for over 10 years in the online space. I’m able to take the CLEO TV audience on the journey with me to a few of my favorite spots, meeting and greeting the owners, and giving the goods to live a bossy life. While the season has come to an end, the reruns are currently airing on CLEO TV.
  • Affiliate Marketing – Through affiliate marketing, I’m able to link to products, retailers and brands that I’ve highlighted on my site and social media channels and receive commissions on any sales generated from those links.
  • Speaking Engagements – I share my experience on the following topics with in-person and virtual audiences: 
  • Career Transitions: As a former Chemical Engineer turned Creative, I have a lot of experience in the trials and tribulations of switching career paths.
  • Highlighting Black brands and Businesses: I partner with retailers and non-profits who’ve made diversity and inclusion a priority to bring awareness and encourage spending with Black brands and businesses. 
  • Live Shopping Events: This is probably the most fun as I’m able to take an audience virtually shopping with me. It’s during a live shopping session where I can spend time explaining the thought process behind some of my selections and how I would style looks with the pieces. It’s super engaging and a great way to connect with audiences online.

Tiffany Battle

What future trends do you foresee in the creator/influencer space?

I believe there are going to be more opportunities for creators in the MetaVerse, in direct selling on the behalf of brands, and more evolution with creator-founded products, services, and experiences.

What are some best practices for brands who want to work with influencers?

  1. Approach creators with mutually beneficial opportunities. Make sure that the brand actually aligns with what the Influencer authentically showcases. Creators can be some of the best brand evangelists to drive sales and engagement if the partnership is aligned.
  2. Be prepared to pay! Some creators can take years and countless hours of content creation to cultivate an authentic and engaged following and that’s extremely valuable. If you don’t show up to your job for free, please refrain from approaching a creator with an extensive campaign brief where the only compensation is product and exposure. If there ever comes a time when bills can be paid with exposure and product, this approach may work. Until then, find the budget to pay creators for their time, talent, and access to their audience.
  3. Longterm Partnerships Equals Longterm Payoff! As consumers, we need to see something several times before we fork over the money to try it. The more times a consumer sees a creator talking about a brand, product or service, the more believable the partnership is and the more likely a reader will take action. 

Tiffany Battle

What advice do you have for creatives that are trying to figure out how to land brand deals?

Your online presence is your resume.

Everything you do on your online space has the potential to land a brand deal. So, keep that in mind when creating. If there are brands on your wishlist, take a look at the campaigns that they are rolling out.

It’s pretty simple, if you want to work with skincare brands, talk about skincare in interesting, fun, and/or educational ways. If you want to work with fashion brands, authentically share what you already love about certain brands. For instance, I used to always share my Nordstrom Anniversary Top Sales picks on my site and social media channels just because I love Nordstrom’s selection of brands, return policy and in-store customer service experience.

So, when I was given the opportunity to meet with the Public Relations for Nordstrom, I was able to pull up samples of work and speak enthusiastically about the brand. After many MANY years, I began to get paid work with Nordstrom.

Your Network Is Your Net Worth!

Who you know or meet and get to know can land you some of the biggest brand deals of your career. Attend the industry events in your city and be ready to socialize! If you live in a city that doesn’t cater to creatives, make it your business to travel to network. Before I permanently moved to New York, I religiously showed up for NYFW every season after becoming an Influencer. Every. Single. Season.

The more that I came to New York, the more I began to meet designers, the people behind the top PR agencies and other creatives. So, when I did finally transition, I had a Rolodex of connections upon arrival.

Make It Easy For Brands To Find You!  

Now that you’ve done the work by showing up online and networking in real life, the last thing that you want to happen is for a brand to be interested in working with you but you’re making them work to get in contact with you.

On all platforms, you should list the city where you’re based and your email address. Literally, make it super plan and super easy for a brand to reach out and present you with an opportunity to get paid!

Feel free to reach out with partnership opportunities and any clarifying questions here: You can also keep up with me and my shenanigans on Youtube and TikTok.

📸 Main Image shot by Karston Tannis

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4 mins read

The Brooklyn Circus: Crafting a Legacy in American Style

The Brooklyn Circus is a brand that is dedicated to telling the story of style throughout American history.

With a focus on the power of presentation and the importance of context, BKc is revolutionizing the way we think about menswear. From the construction of their varsity jackets to the looms where their denim is woven, every aspect of the brand is carefully curated to reflect a moment in time.

Ouigi Theodore, the Creative Director of The Brooklyn Circus, has cultivated​ a unique style that has garnered recognition not only among the fashion pundits of New York but also from streetwise fans as far away as Europe, South Africa, Japan, Korea, and the U.K.

We caught up with him to learn more about the brand’s inspiration and hear about their ambitious 100-Year Plan to change the way Americans dress, one iconic silhouette at a time.

What inspired the creation of The Brooklyn Circus?

We started The Brooklyn Circus in 2006 on the heels of another retail concept I launched a few years prior.

When I closed that business, I considered leaving retail but gave it a last shot and that was when The Brooklyn Circus was born. We launched The Brooklyn Circus in Feb of 2006 and never looked back. I am heavily inspired by humans—our drive, our will to exist, and the things we do to live and thrive.

How would you describe your brand?

The brand is a living organism, a conversation, and an experiment of sorts. With the varsity jacket at the heart of what we do, you can always see cues of scholastic and athletic references in the work.

Everything that we do is anchored in our history, our victories, and our struggles as a people. I have a history degree and studied graphic design, so you’ll always see the intersection of those things coming together in the stories we tell through our work.

It’s the heart of The Brooklyn Circus/BKc, our 100-year plan, and our essence.

How do you want people to feel when they wear your creations? 

It’s more about the experience and the community and of course the product which ultimately is a souvenir of the experience. People see the pride, joy, and attention to detail we put into our work. From the store experience up to the actual product.

What differentiates your brand from others? 

That’s a pretty broad question. We understand the competitive landscape but try not to dwell on that too much. We absolutely research who and what’s out there for sure to understand who is moving the needle. That said, I’d have to say what has differentiated us in the market is our commitment to Style + Character and The 100yr plan for sure.

What are your future goals for your brand? 

Our goal for the next 5 years of the 84 years we have on this 100yr journey is more retail experiences, and expansion into media, hospitality, and education. Build and open Universities and libraries to share The Brooklyn Circus/BKc approach to the history, design, and movement of Jah people.

What advice do you have for creatives trying to get into the industry?

Research, research, research. And be honest about your intentions and approach to everything you do. Work on things and ideas that will outlast you.

by Tony O. Lawson

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3 mins read

Black-Owned Handbag Brands You Should Know

When it comes to accessorizing, a handbag is a must-have for any fashion-savvy person. From high-end designer labels to trendy streetwear brands, the options for handbags are endless.

In this article, we’ll be highlighting some Black-owned handbag brands that offer a wide range of styles, from classic and timeless to trendy and bold.

Black-Owned Handbag Brands

Ree Projects

Black-Owned Handbag

Ree Projects, an Amsterdam-based luxury brand founded by designer Desiree Kleinen, is quietly synonymous with its distinctive yet understated line of luxury bags. Created with the vision to empower women through thoughtful design, each design is rooted in the concept of functional elegance.

Yvonne Koné

Copenhagen-based designer Yvonne Koné presents a collection of key wardrobe staples that are both timeless and understated. With an architectural approach to form, materials and texture, her designs strike a balance between practicality and playful use of color, inspired by her African heritage.

Homage Year

Black-Owned Handbag

Every piece, accessory, and object created by Homage is infused with sociopolitical intention. Each creation serves as a tribute to the brand’s people, culture, and environment, and is a recognition of the brand’s place within these elements.


Black-Owned Handbag

Peryton is a leather goods brand that caters to those who desire unique, high-quality pieces. Instead of following trends or seasonal fads, their goal is to craft something exceptional and long-lasting. They focus on creating products that are both beautiful and durable, for customers who appreciate the value of timeless designs

Anima Iris

Black-Owned Handbag

The Anima Iris collection features handcrafted pieces made by seasoned professionals in Dakar, Senegal. The artisans, who possess centuries-old African craftsmanship, add a unique touch of quality and attention to detail to create limited edition pieces.

N’Damus London

N’Damus London is an independent luxury British accessories brand epitomizing precision craftsmanship and style, synonymous with the creation of durable, high quality leather goods with classic and distinctive designs for men and women.

Petit Kouraj

Petit Kouraj creates unique, standalone pieces of wearable art that blend knitwear, sculpture, and cultural identity. The name “Petit Kouraj” is derived from the Haitian Creole phrase meaning “little courage”.

Agnes Baddoo

Black-Owned Handbag

Agnes Baddoo is a luxury lifestyle brand specializing in leather goods that are committed to consistently providing well-crafted investment pieces to a global discerning customer.

Amany Z

Black-Owned Handbag

Amany Z designs unique handbags that are both functional and sustainable. Their bags stand out for their quirkiness and practicality, offering a minimal and eco-friendly option as compared to traditional luxury accessories.

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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 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

FUBU Founders on the Past and Future of a Legendary Brand

FUBU, short for “For Us By Us,” was founded in 1992 by Daymond John, J. Alexander Martin, Keith Perrin, and Carlton Brown as a hat company.


During the 1990s, it became a popular fashion choice in the street-wear scene and by the early 2000s, it had gained worldwide recognition. The company’s revenues grew significantly during this time, with FUBU becoming one of the most successful urban fashion brands in history.

According to Forbes, FUBU reached $350 million in annual sales at its peak in 1998, and by 2004, the company was worth an estimated $6 billion.

We caught up with Carlton E. Brown, J. Alexander Martin, and Keith Perrin, to share their memories and thoughts about the future of FUBU.

Carlton E. Brown

What role did you play at the company at its inception?

Daymond and I have been together building this business from its conception. We thought of the name FUBU together. Outside of designing I have worn pretty much every hat to date. 

What moment in time during the height of FUBU’s success is most memorable and special to you? 

The word “height” depends on one’s perspective. For me, the most memorable moment was setting up our first retail store Montego Bay in Jamaica Queens. Once I saw our goods on a T-rack and saw the people buy what we had created, I knew there was no stopping us. 

What are your current aspirations for the FUBU brand? 

Global branding and distribution. 

You are currently involved in real estate development. Can you tell us how you got involved in real estate and share your plans for hotelFUBU? 

I grew up watching my grandfather build an impressive real estate portfolio. He started as a junk collector, then a vacuum cleaner sales rep to one of the most successful real estate investors in Jamaica queens throughout the 80s and 90s. 

The goal for HotelFUBU and FUBUvillage is to create lodging, market rate, and affordable housing catering to the needs of the next generation.


J. Alexander Martin

What role did you play at the company at its inception?

I came home from Desert Shield from the US Navy with the desire to be in fashion. Luckily my childhood friend created the fundamental steps by creating a tie top hat and the name Fubu. I used my stipend of $5000 and my GI Bill to turn Fubu into the brand it is today. 

What moment in time during the height of FUBU’s success is most memorable and special to you?

When I was steadfast on creating a brand with the fundamentals of forusbyus, I worked diligently every day. I worked at Macy’s and was written up for something I did not do. So I quit and said the next time I walked into Macy’s I would be selling to them. The next time I did we were in the Macy’s window, something that has never been done. 

What are your current aspirations for the FUBU brand?

My aspirations have never wavered. I’ve always wanted Fubu to be a legacy brand. It’s been over 30 years and I hope to continue for 30 plus more years. 

You currently serve as CEO of the ForUsByUs Network. Tell us more about this venture.

Forusbyusnetwork is a streaming service for urban content. The Forusbyusnetwork has taken the spirit of excellence and created a streaming service to highlight the culture.

We set out to bring the African American consumer engaging content of all genres. We know that in fashion, distribution is key so we’ve set out to be on all platforms OTT, CTV, AVOD, SVOD, or Linear.

We want to be the destination portal for all content providers and urban channels. From the For Us By Us award show aimed to highlight our greatness to informative content via podcasts, documentaries, and our original series & reality shows. The Forusbyusnetwork will bring our original niche movies to cinemas around the globe. 


Keith C. Perrin 

What role did you play at the company at its inception?

I started off as a salesman then I moved into marketing where I became the person in charge of product placement. I placed the brand in movies, commercials, videos, photoshoots, etc. 

What moment in time during the height of FUBU’s success is most memorable and special to you?

For me, it had to be meeting Nelson Mandela at his home in South Africa. I couldn’t believe he knew who we were and called us to come meet him. What an experience.


What are your current aspirations for the FUBU brand? 

I’d like to see it last as long as some of the brands that have been around 40-50 years and maybe pass it down to our kids and see what they do with it. For me being in this business for 30 years is a feat we never knew we’d reach. You can’t mention Hip Hop without mentioning FUBU. 

You currently serve as CEO of FUBU Radio. Tell us more about this venture.

I started Fubu Radio with my business partner Demetrius Brown. We don’t cater to any particular playlist, we play hits from back in the ’90s to the current year. I have a strong and dedicated team that produces some great content. I’m gearing up for my own Mr.Keeyzo’s radio show with Chrys Childs coming Spring of 2023.

We shot 12 episodes of our first TV show Midday with Shay McCray which will launch at the beginning of 2023. We partnered with You42 Network and I’m looking forward to doing some great things with them. We have a lot in store. Tap in. We’re on all platforms.

by Tony O. Lawson


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New Year, New Brands: Black-Owned Brands To Start Your 2023 Right

Black-Owned Brands To Start Your 2023 Right

The Glamatory

Black-Owned Brands To Start Your 2023 Right

The Glamatory is a vegan makeup line founded by Mimi J – well-known for her work as a professional makeup artist and beauty influencer.

Her mission is to provide products that enhance a woman’s natural beauty and confidence, no matter her skin color, making The Glammatory the perfect Black-owned brand to shop from if loving yourself more is one of your #2023goals.

 Frances Grey

Frances Grey was founded by Debbie Lorenzo, a Jamaican-American born and raised in Queens, New York. Her great-grandmother, Frances Grey, was a seamstress whose history and dedication inspired Debbie’s pursuit of millinery and the creation of her own custom, luxury hat brand.

If you want to upgrade your wardrobe with aesthetic, sophisticated pieces, then shop Frances Grey. 

Silver & Riley

Black-Owned Brands To Start Your 2023 Right

Silver & Riley is a women-led luxury bag brand created by Lola Banjo. She takes pride in producing high-quality travel and fashion accessories in the same factories, with the same premium materials, as other high-fashion labels, and sells them at a fraction of the cost.

Shop smart, shop Black, and elevate your travel this year when you utilize Silver & Riley products.


In 2020, Dr. Juliette Nelson created Nurilens, an environmentally friendly eyewear brand. The company specializes in hand-crafted wood frames with polarized, high-index lenses that include blue light and UV protection. Nurilens empowers you to protect your eyes and the environment, all while looking chic.

Best Life Organics

Shadora Martin created Best Life Organics along her personal journey into elevated self-love. She started making natural, non-toxic, cruelty-free body-care products in her own home and continues to handcraft each of the products she shares with the world today. Best Life Organics allows you to support a small, Black-owned business and support yourself at the same time. 

Mercia Moore 

Black-Owned Brands To Start Your 2023 Right

Art and culture collide at the Mercia Moore artisan studio. Merica, the founder, and creator behind the brand shares her studio creations through the shop and lends her skill via her active social media. Find African-inspired jewelry and homeware, and take up a new artistic hobby with your own Mercia Moore silicone molds.

Dressed in Joy

Black-Owned Brands To Start Your 2023 Right

Be bold, and step out in statement-making style this year when you wear Dressed in Joy apparel. The founder, Mikaela Pabon, wanted to create an apparel brand that makes customers feel like they’re adorned in the personification of joy. The brand focuses on athleisure, inspiring comfortable confidence.

Instead of “new year, new you”, these Black-owned brands aim to elevate the unique qualities you already have.

With this list, we empower you to adorn yourself with culture, history, and joy and carry yourself with confidence and excellence everywhere you go. 

Submit a brand for an upcoming list

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