12 Black-Owned Fashion & Shoe Brands to Support – Footwear News

In the wake of George Floyd’s death and nationwide calls to end police brutality, there are many ways to support the #BlackLivesMatter cause. Among them, you can join a protest, donate to civil rights and justice organizations, write petitions to government leaders and at the very basic level, educate yourself on the ways systemic racism has persisted in society. Another powerful way is to donate to black-owned businesses.

Not only have have African American businesses been hit the hardest by Covid-19 store closures, but they’ve also historically struggled with securing capital as a result of discriminatory lending practices and lack of ties with big banks. And in the fashion industry specifically, which has profited off appropriating black culture for decades, black faces still aren’t represented equally. Black designers remain a rarity, and as reported by Forbes, Louis Vuitton’s Virgil Abloh and Balmain’s Olivier Rousteing are the only black creative directors at major brands to this day.

Ahead, we rounded up a range of black-owned fashion and shoe brands you can shop, from big to lesser-known labels. While the list isn’t exhaustive, it offers a touching point for exercising your buying power to help enact change and keep black-owned companies like these thriving.

Armando Cabral

With a focus on minimalism, intricate details and innovative constructions, Portuguese model-turned-designer Armando Cabral makes timeless men’s shoes for every occasion. Choose between styles like loafers, derby shoes, boots and sneakers, all made by Italian artisans with premium leather.

Armando Cabral loafers

CREDIT: Courtesy of brand

Brother Vellies

Founded by Toronto-native Aurora James in 2013, Brother Vellies offers eco-friendly footwear and accessories for women. The one-of-a-kind pieces are handmade by artisans around the globe using traditional African design practices and techniques, from wicker mules to fur-embellished sandals and handbags featuring Kenyan hardwood chain links. Notably, the company recently called on large corporations to buy 15% of their products from black-owned businesses.

Brother Vellies’ crystal sandals for spring ‘20.

CREDIT: Courtesy Image

Christopher John Rogers

From Baton Rouge, Louisiana, 26-year-old designer Christopher John Rogers debuted his eponymous label at New York Fashion Week in February 2020. The collection, complete with bright colors and bold, statement-making silhouettes, is available to shop at Net-a-Porter.com. Since 2016, the designer has sold made-to-order designs from his Brooklyn studio, and even created custom looks for Michelle Obama and Lizzo.

Cushnie

You may have seen Carly Cushnie’s luxe designs on the red carpet. The U.K.-born designer offers stunning ready-to-wear pieces, as well as bridal looks and accessories.

Cushnie deep V dress.

CREDIT: Courtesy of brand

Fear of God

Another celebrity favorite, Jerry Larenzo’s Fear of God is known for its elevated men’s streetwear staples (think oversized silhouettes and mixed media finishes) and buzzy sneaker collaborations. On June 4, the company also launched a “super collab” tee, with 100% of the proceeds going to George Floyd’s family.

Fear of God reversible gray oversized camo vest.

CREDIT: Courtesy of SSense

Fenty

Rihanna’s powerhouse Fenty label truly does it all. In addition to selling a color-inclusive line of foundation shades, the brand also offers lingerie, dresses, outwear and shoes for women — all showcasing the singer’s distinct flair for sartorial boldness.

Fenty denim corset dress.

CREDIT: Courtesy of brand

Laquan Smith

New York-based designer Laquan Smith started his own line at just 21 years old, and his unique creations have been worn by Lady Gaga and Kim Kardashian. From shoes to apparel, they’re characterized by strong, sultry silhouettes with features like body-hugging fits, eye-catching cutouts and lots of patent leather.

Laquan Smith PVC thigh high boots.

Lemlem

Sustainable label Lemlem was founded by supermodel and actress Liya Kebede in 2007. It offers home goods and boho-inspired apparel and accessories for men, women and kids made by local artisans in Ethiopia. For every direct sale made, 5% of it will go to benefit the Lemlem foundation ⁠— the brand’s non-profit arm which aims to connect female artisans in Africa to healthcare, education and job opportunities.

Lemlem Eshe Cascade dress.

CREDIT: Courtesy of brand

Lingua Nigra of Etsy

In case you didn’t know, Etsy is home to tons of black-owned shops you can support, from categories of home to beauty and fashion. If you’re looking for some stylish jewelry to add to your wardrobe, check out Lingua Nigra on the platform. Its Chicago-based designer Alicia Goodwin handcrafts sculptural necklaces, earrings, bangles and rings, meaning no two looks are the exactly the same.

Lingra Nigra Circle the World necklace.

CREDIT: Courtesy of Etsy

Off-White

While Virgil Abloh has been the target of some controversy, there’s no denying his brand is extremely influential. From Off-White’s high-end handbags to high-top sneakers and its signature industrial belt style, the brand’s looks have become huge among some of fashion hottest influencers.

Model on the catwalk in Off White show during Paris Fashion Week Men’s in Jan. 2020.

CREDIT: Pixelformula/SIPA/Shutterstock

Pyer Moss

Since launching the Pyer Moss brand in 2013, Kerby Jean-Raymond has used his platform and designs to celebrate black culture and raise awareness about social issues like racism, police brutality and gun violence. His looks for men and women include everything from comfy sweatpants and tees to sweeping gowns, as well a sporty line of sneakers in collaboration with Reebok. The pieces have even become favorites of entertainment’s biggest names like Rihanna, Janet Jackson and Tracee Ellis Ross.

Model on the catwalk of Pyer Moss Collection 3 for Spring ’20 at New York Fashion Week.

CREDIT: Masato Onoda/WWD/Shutterstock

TLZ L’Femme

LA-based designer Aazhia Rhy offers up a range of modern, monochromatic looks for women. Her brand also creates custom garments and offers affordably priced accessories like earrings and a signature “love” tote, in which 100% of the proceeds go towards filling another tote that the brand will personally distribute to the homeless.

TLZ L’Femme taupe windbreaker blouse.

CREDIT: Courtesy of brand

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