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Fashion - Page 3

2 mins read

Black Veteran Owned Eyewear Brand Inspires You To Pursue Your Vision

SWAV Eyewear is a Black-owned inspirational eyewear brand that sells stylish sunglasses & frames to inspire you to never give up on the vision you have for your life.

SWAV is the world’s first inspirational eyewear company that creates products with a purpose.

The origin of the company began in 2011. While serving in the United States Air Force, company founder, Isaiah Fowler contracted malaria and almost died. He was in the ICU for nearly two weeks fighting for his life. It was then and there that he made a vow that if he survived, he would pursue his dreams fearlessly.

The company has been going strong since 2017 and has now launched its second collection of eyewear, the Trailblazer Collection.

Photo credit: Finny John

With this new collection, the company is on a mission to illustrate what being a Trailblazer is all about. The gold quote located on the inside of the frames is a reminder to “Be The First.”

SWAV Eyewear


The Trailblazer Collection comes as an Aviator Style and with five color options with different finishes.

swav eyewear

swav eyewear
Photo credit: Finny John

All frames carried by SWAV are made with Eco-Friendly material handcrafted with the intention of inspiring you on an intrinsic level.

swav eyewear
Photo credit: Finny John

Purchase from the new collection here!

1 min read

Black Owned Vintage Clothing Stores You Should Know

In this article, we have compiled a list of Black owned vintage stores that offer unique and stylish vintage clothing. From funky prints to classic silhouettes, these businesses offer a range of options for anyone looking to add some vintage flair to their closet.

Black Owned Vintage Stores


black owned vintage shops

Circ Antiques

Black Owned Vintage Stores

Fundinho Brechó

Black Owned Vintage Stores

Tracy Chambers Vintage

Black Owned Vintage Stores


Black Owned Vintage Stores

Golden Bird Boutique

Nostalgia Boutique

Nello Vintage

Washington Ave

Vintage and Soul

Jamil Thrift

Black Owned Vintage Stores

by Tony O. Lawson

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5 mins read

This Black Owned Vintage Clothing Business Offers Cool ’90s Nostalgia

The ’90s were the best years of my life. I remember my obsession with all things Hip Hop, RnB, Black sitcoms, and the best Black movies.

That’s why I was excited to discover a Black owned vintage clothing business that specializes in ’90s-era paraphernalia and other cool items. We caught up with Eric Brown Jr, the owner of Backtrack Vintage to find out more about his business.

black owned vintage
Eric Brown Jr, the owner of Backtrack Vintage

What inspired you to start your business?

I’ve always had an appreciation for great retail experiences and, initially when I decided to go into the business full time, I wanted to build an amazing brick and mortar location for people to get their vintage clothing fix. Unfortunately, I couldn’t land a retail location no matter what I did or where I looked.

So after months of searching and hearing about seven “no’s” from different landlords around the city, I decided to bet on myself and build my store inside an old school bus.

I spent about 5 weeks from sunrise and sunset building the inside of the bus and I took it to the streets in April of 2019.

How do you find the items you sell?

During the early days, I would basically spend an entire day inside different thrift stores, flea markets, and weekend garage sales. Now we have a great network of sellers who we source high-quality vintage garments from, as well as sourcing from some of the best vintage rag houses in Los Angeles.

In addition to those items being mindfully hand-picked to be a piece of nostalgia, we also go above and beyond to find items that are like new and restore items as needed.

What is it about the ’90s era that appeals to you?

Not only were the ’90s the era of my childhood, but it also represented a time in American history where there was a lot of abundance. For a young person during that era there was no shortage of wearable merch from movies, tv shows, and sports teams.
Plus the vast majority of garments were made here in the USA and that higher level of quality when it comes to manufacturing has really helped these vintage items last almost 30 years later. Not to mention brands like Tommy Hilfiger and Polo Sport by Ralph Lauren emerged as the trendsetters in what we would call “streetwear”.

How has business been during the past few months and what are you doing to adapt?

Initially, we were definitely anxious during the beginning stages of Safer at Home Orders, and, much like most businesses, we’ve shifted to being strictly online. We’ve doubled down on the customer experience and branding, showcasing the uniqueness of our company.
Obviously getting your retail fix in an old school bus is an amazing shopping experience and we didn’t want the online Backtrack experience to be underwhelming.
Our goal is to make receiving an order from us a complete experience, from the artwork on the outside of the bag to the items they’ve purchased within it.

If you could wake up tomorrow as an expert in any area of business, which would it be and why?

I’d have to say “communication.” In all aspects of running a business, communication is key. Whether it’s with customers, vendors, or employees if you can effectively communicate you will be effective at getting your desired outcome.

It’s something that I’ve forced myself to become better at over the years and it’s definitely paying off.

What advice do you have for aspiring entrepreneurs?

The best advice I can give would be to realize that you don’t have to be better than the next person, but you do need to be different. Nobody likes a copycat.
You should try and figure out at least 10 things that make you different than the other businesses in your field, otherwise, you’re just another person selling the same old thing.
-Tony O. Lawson 

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2 mins read

Black Owned Face Mask Businesses

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has revised its face mask policy and is now urging everyone to wear cloth face coverings in public.

According to their website, “CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies) especially in areas of significant community-based transmission.”

This announcement has spurred an increase in businesses that offer face masks. Here are some Black Owned Face Mask businesses that are creating face masks for those in need.

We know we missed some and will continue to update the list!

Black Owned Face Mask Businesses

All Things Ankara

House of Nambili

black owned face mask businesses



Printed Pattern People

Black Owned Face Mask Businesses

Mujo Six

Figaro Apparel

Sue Rock Originals



The Happy Mask Store

black owned mask

The Boxing Kitten

Beautiful Curly Me

Ngozika Okeke

NSAA African Creations 


Frank & Myrhh


Eki’s Famous

Crown Inspired

Akese Stylelines

black owned face mask

Veronica Ariel

Candace Cort Designs

NSMITH Collection

Nuri Designs

Sun Gods

Face Masks by MNM

Shukuru Couture


ISG Solutions Group

black owned mask

Mckenzie Liautaud 

black owned mask



Sirani’s Fashion

black owned face mask

The Peoples Mask

Over The Moon


Jaelen of All Trades


Stay safe out there, fam!


Tony O. Lawson

If you would like to add your business to this list (or another) SUBMIT HERE.

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Feature image credit: (Gordwin Odhiambo / AFP via Getty Images)

8 mins read

This Mother Created a Clothing Line That Celebrates the Principles of Kwanzaa

Kinara Park Kids is a clothing line that promotes representation while celebrating the seven principles of Kwanzaa: Umoja (Unity), “KG” Kujichagulia (Self Determination), Ujima (Collective Work & Responsibility), Ujamaa (Cooperative Economics), Nia (Purpose), Kuumba (Creativity) and Imani (Faith).

We spoke to founder Noni Ervin to find out more about the brand and the inspiration behind it.

What inspired you to create Kinara Park Kids?

I was back-to-school shopping. And there it was…” the perfect shirt”.

It had these really cool silhouettes of kids–lots of kids. I was on my way to pick out one for my son, but as I moved closer, I saw that the silhouettes of kids (even though there were a lot of kids on the t-shirt), none of them looked like my son.

Noni Ervin

I was very disappointed and so confused. How could there be that many kids but none of them represent my child?! Especially in today’s age where kids arguably need more reassuring affirmations than ever?!

There had to be a solution.

To my disappointment, there was nothing readily available that had silhouettes of kids with textured hair.

I began brainstorming ideas on how to avoid this seclusion for other families like mine! What if I could create something that would have silhouettes that our kids could relate to as well as provide a positive movement in our community?

That’s when Kwanzaa and its principles came to mind. Then it hit me! What if I add Kwanzaa into what I am creating, what if each of the principles were a silhouette? Better yet, what if the principles were a kid and they were all friends?

From here, Kinara Park Kids was born. No longer will my children or any other child that looks like mine be outcasts. I am here to build unity in our community and find it my duty to fulfill this purpose.


All of the Kwanzaa principles are important but which do you identify with the most? Why?

I love all of the principles, but I think I identify most with Ujima (Collective Work and Responsibility): To build and maintain our community together and make our brothers’ and sisters’ problems our problems and to solve them together.

The thing that affects one of us really does affect all of us. The work that Taraji P. Henson is doing through The Boris Lawrence Henson Foundation is in line with this. They are working to eradicate mental health stigmas in Black Communities. If we can take hold of different issues affecting one another, then we become our own source of strength. This is ujima and this is powerful!


What has been the most fulfilling and the most challenging thing about being an entrepreneur?

The most fulfilling thing has been watching my two sons experience this journey. It is profound for them to be able to see something created or begin as a thought and then move through the many stages of becoming a tangible thing. They have seen me up late working on the various parts of this business, so they know it is not easy. I hope they are inspired to create solutions as they mature into young men.

The most challenging thing has been visibility. Kinara Park Kids brings value to our community in many ways, but that means nothing if no one knows we exist. We are grateful for the social media marketing firm that is helping change this (Parris Gray, CEO & Co-Founder of I Use DMP). Also, we are very excited about SHOPPE Black for an opportunity to make ourselves known in the marketplace!


What advice do you have for aspiring entrepreneurs?

You have to have some stick-with-it! Owning your own business is like farming versus landscaping–delayed gratification versus immediate gratification. For example, landscaping is when you see the weeds and overgrown lawn, get the lawnmower and weed wacker, and in a very short time, everything is neat and tidy and looks wonderful. Of course, it grows back, but not for a few weeks. When it does, you get out the lawnmower and weed wacker and repeat the process.

Being an entrepreneur means touching your business daily. It is waking up before the sun rises and going to bed after it sets. If you were on a farm, you would have to be mindful of seasons, weather patterns, critters, soil pH, seed quality, and timing for harvest.

For your business, this means being aware of all parts of your business, including product quality, scaling, branding, pricing, delivery, marketing, accounting, etc. I would tell aspiring entrepreneurs to make sure their “Why?” is big enough to last the full journey. If you’re going through the desert, you don’t take two water bottles. You will need to plan for time and obstacles. This owning-your-own-business stuff is not for the faint of heart. Brace yourself and get to work.

Where do you see the business 5 years from now?

In five years we are a household name. The outfits of each of the Kinara Park Kids is on clothing racks in Target and K&G. Elementary students will be at recess or on the playground and will pick teams by principles. It will be team Umoja and team Imani!!!

Kinara Park Kids is a billion dollar corporation. We practice cooperative economics which is to keep our dollars circulating within our community. When immigrants come to this country they typically have ties to their homeland, but African Americans do not have the privilege of those kind of resources.

Kinara Park Kids will be part of transforming that scenario. The money generated from sales is a point of capital distribution in our community–we are our own source of capital. We are like the elders in other communities that say, “We see you aspiring entrepreneur.

We have seen you grow up and we believe in you. We want to invest in you.” We infuse our community with capital and we are stronger. The revenue that is generated by Kinara Park Kids is a source of capital to further the start-up and growth of other Black-owned businesses.

Tony O. Lawson

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4 mins read

From Combat Boots to a Black Owned Fashionable Footwear Brand

During her 20 years in the U.S. Army, Natasha Standard jumped out of airplanes, led and developed multiple teams and was responsible for administrating a multi million dollar contract.

After each deployment to Iraq or Afghanistan, Natasha would treat herself to a luxury item. Unfortunately, the shoes that she bought may have been stylish, but they were not comfortable. She became determined to find a way to create comfortable shoes of high quality.

This determination led Natasha to enroll in Arsutoria School in Italy, where she trained in the design, pattern making, and manufacturing of shoes.

We caught up with Natasha to find out more about the inspiration behind her shoe company, The Standard Shoes and her entrepreneurial journey in general.

norie shoes
Natasha Standard

How did your tenure in the armed forces prepare you for entrepreneurship?

In the military, you learn and develop multiple skills and characteristics that and also beneficial in entrepreneurship. Some of these include leadership skills, discipline and tenacity. are among them. Other things I learned during my service were the importance of networking, financial skills and the ability to discern a situation.

norie shoes

What has been the most rewarding thing about your entrepreneurial journey so far? What has been the most challenging?

The most rewarding thing about my journey so far is being acknowledged by some celebrities, musicians, and athletes. The most challenging is convincing people to believe in me and my vision. People will never believe in you the way you believe in yourself.

How do you select your designs and materials?

Because I am school trained, I follow the very important trend analysis process that is published on a bi-annual basis to the fashion industry. What most designers do not know, is that access to trend information is $25,000 a year.  That is technically a barrier to entry because most designers cannot afford that expense.

This barrier allows a small designer like myself, to be in trend so that buyers will take notice and give my brand a chance because my style is similar to the larger designers they are used to supporting.

Where do you see the business in 5 years?

In five years, I plan on opening stores around the world (including an airport), and in two large retail stores.

I also see my company selling ten thousand pairs of shoes per year and becoming a household shoe brand name that is popular with celebrity designers and stylists. I would like my brand mentioned in a rap or R&B song.

In addition to all that, I will give back to the community by providing free shoes + backpacks to school age girls. My team is working on it, we don’t have the details yet.

norie shoes

What advice do you have for aspiring entrepreneurs?

My advice is to go for it and buy the best website, consultant and advisor for the lowest price.  For example, I spent $6,000 on a website and after it was built, the developer tried to charge me even more for something simple.  I fired him and started using Shopify.

by Tony O. Lawson

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7 mins read

From Living in a Shelter after Hurricane Katrina to Launching a Successful Bow Tie Company

Oakland, CA based designer, Rashima Sonson is the owner of SONSON®, a bow tie brand that offers unique bow ties made of African wax print fabric, lamb leather, pearls, and Swarovski stones.

Rashima Sonson

In 2005, her life drastically changed from the devastating effects of Hurricane Katrina. After being displaced to Philadelphia and living in a shelter, Rashima had to start her life from the bottom. She continued to push forward with her goal of creating her fashion brand.

Now, she is shifting the gears on the traditional bow tie by adding a bit of lagniappe to its style and showing customers that women can wear bow ties too!

We caught up with her to learn more about her entrepreneurial journey.

What inspired you to start SONSON?

SONSON® was inspired by a big sister of 7 brothers—which happens to be me! In 2013, I had a difficult time finding a father to be a gift for one of my brothers who was expecting his first son.

I wanted to give him a meaningful classic and useful gift. Something commemorative, something he could teach his son, something they can bond/build a relationship with, and something his son could pass down.

Sadly, I could not find the perfect gift online or via brick& mortar, so I decided to put my fashion design degree to work—I created a men’s accessory brand to positively support the psychological and sociological experiences in a male’s life.

SONSON® embodies everything that is important to me—family, fashion and building lasting relationships. The fact that SONSON® is my last name was a divine sign! And I have not looked back!

What has been the most fulfilling and the most challenging thing about being an entrepreneur?

The most fulfilling thing about being an entrepreneur is getting up every day to grow a business with a mission that I am passionate about. When that passion is fused and embedded in a product that you are familiar, it makes the entrepreneurial journey worthwhile!

The most challenging part about being an entrepreneur is the risks and uncertainties! For example, I might invest in marketing (financial risk), but the uncertainty of the ROI from a marketing ad/campaign is a challenge.

I may or may not get the ROI that I forecasted. However, this is all part of being an entrepreneur—you have to take the good with the bad and keep pushing!!!

How do you select your unique designs and materials?

The designs and materials are selected by a mix of art and science. The art is based on my own personal attraction to beautiful fabrics, prints, as well as cultural inspirations.

You may see a collection celebrating Black History Month with items adorned in cowrie shells, black onyx, to vibrant African wax fabric. Or designs celebrating Chinese New Year with gold foil on the fabric!

The science is based on the internal voice of customer research. From conducting customer intention surveys from over 100 pop-up/vendor events (i.e. Wedding Fairs, Holiday Pop-Ups, etc.)  throughout the Bay Area as well as automated post purchase surveys.

The selection of my designs and materials were based on research conducted over a span of 4 years.


Where do you see the business in 5 years?

In the next 5 years, I see SONSON® thriving, opening a showroom, partnering with major e-commerce, corporate brands, and private organizations! In 5 years, I see the business as the go-to brand for commemorative dapper gifts.


From new dads being gifted one of our classic items in celebration of his first son, young men wearing our ties during their draft pick to the NFL, NBA or MLB,  to an artist wearing one of our pieces when accepting their first Grammy! This is where I see the business in 5 years.

What advice do you have for aspiring entrepreneurs?

The best and most relevant advice I can provide to aspiring entrepreneurs are:

  1. Know yourself and your craft—be authentic
  2. Know (research) and cater to your target audience/industry—be their advocate
  3. If you don’t quit, you will win—never give up on yourself or your dream
  4. The best and most valuable investment you will make in your life is investing in yourself, but make sure you have a clear plan on how /when you will get an ROI on your investment—remember you are building a brand/business (YOU)
  5. Surround yourself with people who help build you up and support your goals. Life is too short to be surrounded by negative people or people that are not interested in seeing you grow mentally, professionally and spiritually.
  6. Always pay it forward! (i.e. time, resources, etc..)
  7. Last but not least, the answer is out there you just have to be mentally present to listen for it.  How many times have we missed out on an opportunity or blessing because we weren’t present to listen and then take action? The most successful entrepreneurs that I have watched and read about, listened and took action (strategically)! Seize the moment!


-Tony O. Lawson

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7 mins read

KoshieO: The Black Owned Luxury Brand Representing The Culture

The luxury fashion brand, KoshieO is the brainchild of  Nina Baksmaty. It all started while she was still in college in Missouri and wanted to make some extra money.

Because fashion came as second nature to her, she started a business trading in accessories and shoes that she bought from NYC.

Although Nina only did this to make ends meet, she eventually began to enjoy being involved in the business of fashion. That is when she had the “aha moment” that inspired the creation of KoshieO.

Nina Baksmaty

Tell us more about why You started your business.

As an African immigrant, I wanted to blend both cultures to come up with unique pieces that showcased my African heritage as well as the culture of my new home, America.

A lot of prominent brands have been inspired by the African continent. I believe it is time we rise and tell our own stories through our designs with the same quality of work, if not better.

All of this led to the inspiration of the brand 10 years ago and has also attracted some big names in the industry like the Late Franca Sozzani (editor-in-chief of Vogue Italia).

Can you describe your background in the fashion industry?

 I like to say that I was born into fashion. My mother was an outstanding fashion designer of her time and I remember always being fascinated while watching  her make clothes.

She always told me the story of how she had to go to work at a factory in London while she was pregnant with me so she could afford baby stuff.

As I was growing up I spent a lot of time around her sewing room and was exposed to all her work tools and sewing equipment. 

She eventually got me a hand machine which I used to practice sewing dresses for my dolls, and thus began my journey to fashion.

How would you describe your designs?

My designs can be described as vibrant fabrics put together to create a luxury brand that pays homage to the uniqueness and beauty of Africa.

Black Owned Luxury

Usually, when people think African-Inspired they think wax print, but these prints are a staple of African fabric, so we chose to make them look different by merging them on other quality fabrics like Egyptian cotton and silks to bring our designs to life.

We wanted to create something that could be on the same level as international standards and be in the same space as some high-end brands we grew up with.

I started at the time when this space was yet to be created in the Fashion Industry in America for African brands but I can proudly say that the high-end stores that we are distributing to puts KoshieO in the same space as some of these brands now. 

Black Owned Luxury  

Where do you see the business in 5 years?

We are currently in stores in areas like NYC, Washington. DC, Virginia, L.A., Detroit, Toronto, Chicago, Accra (Ghana) and still working to quickly expand distribution into many more stores both nationally and internationally.

We want our logo (which is the silhouette of a woman carrying goods on her head and a baby on her back) to be iconic and easily recognizable. This logo symbolizes “all women who deftly and successfully combines parenting, housekeeping, and breadwinning.”

I started a foundation (which we are still working on) with the ultimate goal to develop communities by investing in entrepreneurs. Our focus will be mainly here in the USA and Africa. Our motto is to “empower one entrepreneur and change entire communities.” Hoping to achieve all this in the next 5 years. 

What advice do you have for aspiring designers?

I know that innately people know what they want to be. Our creator made us that way but often times we are crippled by fear.

Fear to me is an enemy of progress. I am a black woman that had a dream to own a luxury fashion label that not only catered to female folks but also the male folks as well and I accomplished that. I did it without letting fear stop me.

So my advice to aspiring designers would be that, If you want to get into fashion start writing down goals on what you want to achieve. Fashion is not just about sketching garments and creating designs, there’s also a business and branding aspect to it.

Secondly, exposure to working with designers and brands also helps, this way you will be privy to the whole scope of what the industry entails. You have to also be passionate about what you are doing because while there will be ups and downs your passion for what you are doing will remind you to stick to it.

Tony O. Lawson

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3 mins read

Black Owned Men’s Shoe Brands

Whether you’re thinking about expanding your wardrobe or someone else’s, consider choosing from these Black owned men’s shoe brands. From classic leather dress shoes to trendy hiking boots, these brands have got you covered.

Black Owned Men’s Shoe Brands


Black Owned Men's Shoe Brands

Mandeaux is a family-owned luxury brand that specializes in handcrafted footwear. Their shoes are made with high-grade full grain leather in Spain and can be customized to help retailers fulfill the various needs of their customers.

Armando Cabral

Armando Cabral shoes are a luxury footwear brand known for their sleek, modern design and high-quality craftsmanship. The brand offers a range of styles, including dress shoes, boots, and sneakers, and are suitable for both formal and casual occasions.

Blue Sole Shoes

Black Owned Men's Shoe Brands

Blue Sole shoes is a Philadelphia-based shoe store specializing in fashion-forward footwear for men in styles from dress to casual.

Tucci Polo

Tucci Polo is a luxury shoe brand that creates high-quality, stylish footwear. The brand is known for its use of premium materials, such as leather and suede, and its attention to detail.


LOLU Esq is a London-based shoe brand that offers a unique blend of high-quality craftsmanship and contemporary design. The brand is known for its use of premium materials, such as leather and suede, and its focus on creating shoes that are both stylish and comfortable.

Southern Gents 

Black Owned Men's Shoe Brands

Southern Gents is a great choice for men who are looking for shoes that are both stylish and well-crafted. Whether you’re dressing up for a special occasion or just looking for a stylish everyday shoe, Southern Gents has options to choose from.

Uptown Yardie

Black Owned Men's Shoe Brands

Uptown Yardie is a British company inspired by Jamaican heritage, selling a lifestyle, captured through shoes and clothes.

Season Three

Season Three makes hiking boots rugged enough for any trail but still refined enough for a night on the town. With unparalleled comfort and temperature-regulating wool, your feet will stay cozy in just about any circumstance.

Style by Blain

Style By Blain is a shoe store based in the Chestnut Hill community of Philadelphia. They sell a fine collection of footwear for gentlemen and ladies.


KOFFI NOIR is a brand that aims to deliver premium quality footwear handcrafted by the world’s finest artisans.

Franks International Footwear

Frank’s International Footwear is a premium shoe retailer that specializes in high-quality, fashionable footwear.

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