With Valentine’s Day around the corner, it’s time to shake off the winter blues and find something fun and frilly or sleek and sexy to go out in. In honour of Black History Month, check out these fantastic, Black-owned brands to shop and pick out that head-turning piece for date night!
Swimsuits, colourful dresses, and exotic prints, Andrea Iyamah brings high drama to resort-style wear. Founded in 2011 by Nigerian fashion designer Andrea Dumebi Iyamah, AI’s jewel-toned pieces have been spotted on Michelle Obama, Gabrielle Union-Wade, Kate Hudson, and many more.
Started by Aurora James, the founder of the Fifteen Percent Pledge movement, Brother Vellies makes stunning heels, flats, and boots with quality African techniques, craftsmanship, and practices. Brother Vellies has also expanded into handbags made with bold leathers, luxurious furs, and even feathers.
Chari Cuthbert established jewellery brand BYCHARI in 2012. The minimalist, handmade pieces have been worn by Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Aimee Song, Chiara Ferragni, and more. Among their most popular pieces are their letter chains, which can be customized to spell out whatever word or phrase you wish.
Plus-size label JIBRI was started by Jasmine Elder and named after her high school friend and mentor, Jibri Mann. The brand offers special event wear, office wear, lounge wear, and accessories. Drapey fabrics, neutral colours, and occasional neon hues bring glamour to the offerings.
Started by sisters Kimberly Goldson and Shelly Powell, Kimberly Goldson is a Brooklyn-based luxury label that favours audacious colours, shapes, textures, patterns, and attitude. Think poufy sleeves, ruffles on shoulders, and bubble skirts. The daring brand even collaborated with Barbie in 2022.
Mateo New York
Born and raised in Jamaica, Matthew Harris discovered his passion for jewellery in New York and thus launched his brand Mateo New York in 2009. Having started with a men’s line, Harris expanded to women’s jewellery and handbags later on, creating stunning pieces in gold with gemstones and pearls.
Tongue-in-cheek streetwear behemoth Off-White offers cozy knits, quirky bags, and sporty dresses with its distinctively ironic style. Founded by the late mega-influencer Virgil Abloh (who tragically died in 2021 at the age of 41), the label is now under the creative direction of Ib Kamara.
The OULA Company
Using sustainable Ankara (African wax fabric) from global sources, The OULA Company specializes in beautiful dresses in colourful and intricate prints. OULA is designed by Erika Dalya Massaquoi, formerly an assistant dean at the Fashion Institute of Technology, fashion journalist, and professor.
In 2016, Shante Nicole Bullock started her eponymous ready-to-wear brand in sunny Los Angeles. Nicole Shante focuses on luxury pieces that are meant to stand the test of time. Invest in the brand’s blazers, dresses, and pants that make a statement in any occasion.
Co-founded by Rosario Dawson and Abrima Erwiah, Studio 189 is a fashion brand and social enterprise. It supports African artisans using traditional techniques of dyeing, weaving, and more. Having been awarded the CFDA Lexus Fashion Initiative for Sustainability, Studio 189 lets you shop ethically.
Telfar’s roomy signature embossed Shopping Bags have been spotted on the arms of Beyoncé, Zoë Kravitz, Dua Lipa, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and Lil Nas X. The unisex label by Telfar Clemens also offers casual wear and other accessories that’s “not for you — it’s for everyone.”
Founded by Camille Perry and Holly Wright in 2019, TOVE is a sustainable womenswear brand named after the Danish word for “strength and beauty.” Made of luxe materials in neutral tones cut in timeless but feminine silhouettes, TOVE offers slinky dresses, wool coats, gathered tops, and more.
Rose Ho | Assistant Editor