In the wake of the senseless deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and Tony McDade, hashtagging Black Lives Matter on a black square is not enough. To show true allyship in the fight against police brutality and systemic racism takes much more work and research. This includes protesting, donating money to local and national organizations, calling and writing your elected officials, voting in local elections, signing petitions, and educating yourself on the racial injustices the Black community faces every day. Outside of this, one small way you can directly support the Black community is to shop at Black-owned businesses, many of which have also been disproportionately affected by the coronavirus pandemic.
A study at Stanford University showed that Black business owners have less access to capital compared to their white counterparts. And unlike larger conglomerates, many Black-owned retailers don’t have a safety net to fall back on while sustaining their business during this time. Telsha Anderson, the founder of New York–based boutique T.A., had to quickly pivot her business from brick-and-mortar launch to online to sustain her business that opened during the height of the coronavirus pandemic. Just last week, Aurora James, the founder and designer of Brother Vellies, created the 15 Percent Pledge as a call to action to major retailers like Target, Whole Foods, and Sephora to dedicate 15% of their shelf space to Black-owned businesses as a way to better represent overlooked talent. Now, more than ever, it is important to recognize the power you hold in your wallet and the impact your dollar can make. One thing we can do right now is be more intentional about how and where we’re spending our money.
Below, 17 Vogue editors weigh in on their picks from five Black-owned retailers that you can shop now, tomorrow, and forever. And if you don’t have the funds to give monetary support right now, you can always support Black-owned businesses by following, sharing, and amplifying their platforms on social media and through word of mouth.
Oakland-based concept store McMullen, founded by Sherri McMullen, is a one-stop shop for luxury, high-end womenswear from emerging brands such as Christopher John Rogers as well as established designers like Proenza Schouler.
Brooke Bobb, Senior Fashion News Writer
Sherri McMullen has always been a champion of young fashion talent, and I love discovering new designers and brands on her website. Her California stores have a unique mix of labels and I really do admire her style, not only as a store owner, but as a mom and businesswoman too.
Willow Lindley, Accessories Director
For me, now is the time to be more conscious with my buying power than ever—from supporting retailers and brands that I really believe in to investing in pieces I know will have longevity both in style and construction. These buys are about both immediate gratification—i.e., this beautiful throw and Zoom-ready earrings—and delayed satisfaction, like this incredible suit from Christopher John Rogers that works as well together as it does separated, which means it can help breathe new life into some of the things I already have in my closet. I love McMullen for being a one-stop shop for home, fashion, and accessories from brands I know and brands I’m just being introduced to. I really trust their buy.
Steff Yotka, Fashion News Editor
Kamperett is a woman-owned, ethically made brand from California that has showcased its garments on women of all ages, races, and body types—exactly the kind of business we should be supporting. Same goes for Sherri McMullen’s store in Oakland, Palo Alto, and online.
Rickie De Sole, Executive Fashion Director
These Jacquemus drop earrings are the perfect pop of color to celebrate summer’s arrival. I plan to wear them with a white dress and simple flat sandal.
Founded by Kai Avent-deLeon, Sincerely, Tommy is a Brooklyn-based and online concept store focusing on emerging womenswear and lifestyle brands from the newest talents in fashion and art.
Julie Tong, Commerce Editor
I’m fortunate enough to be within walking distance from Sincerely, Tommy’s Brooklyn location, but as shopping in person is not possible, I’ve been happily perusing the shop’s online store to update my summer wardrobe (which up until now, has largely consisted of pajamas and T-shirts). There’s nothing that excites me more right now than stepping out in a pair of bright and chic summer mules. These plaid ones not only check the box, but their low heel height means I don’t have to sacrifice comfort here either. I also love their on-trend square toe and did I mention they’re under $100?
Allie Michler, Director, Fashion Development
I love the cut of this boxy blazer. It works perfectly over an elegant dress, belted with little shorts, or with a tank and oversized trousers. This is a classic, seasonless piece that works no matter the occasion.
Madeline Fass, Associate Market Editor
I might just be the only person who misses wearing a heel these days, and these croc kitten heels from Sincerely, Tommy are my ideal, vintage-inspired summer sandal. One trend I haven’t given up while staying home however? The long short.
Back in 2018, Amira Rasool founded The Folklore, a highly curated online concept store that sells exclusive, one-of-a-kind clothes from emerging African designers.
Akili King, Beauty Assistant
I love to make statements when it comes to my accessories, so I was immediately drawn to these pieces. I also love the warm, earthy colors. Both items make me excited to eventually have somewhere to go after quarantine.
Christian Allaire, Fashion and Style Writer
I’m super into this graphic knit polo shirt from Maxhosa, a menswear brand in South Africa. The trippier the print, the better. I love that the designer, Laduma Ngxokolo, nods to his Xhosa heritage in unexpected ways. I could imagine myself wearing this with black jeans and sleek Chelsea boots. It’s also perfect for those cool summer nights when you don’t want to wear a jacket.
Alexandra Gurvitch, Market Editor
Love the Ugo sandal by Shekudo from The Folklore. I am very partial to sandals with funky toes in the summer. These are incredibly crafted and the color blocking is so chic. I have been aiming to be more thoughtful in my purchases and these are made-to-order, which means minimal waste. They are created mostly by hand, making them unique.
T.A., founded by Telsha Anderson, is a New York–based concept store that features up-and-coming designers like Barragán, Priscavera, and Mozh Mozh.
Rachel Besser, Market Editor
T.A. is a new luxury concept store by Telsha Anderson that quickly pivoted from a brick-and-mortar launch in March (in New York City’s meatpacking district, no less) to an online shop. I love Telsha’s curation—pieces are sourced from current and future It brands from all around the world.
I’m excited to see this store in person one day, hopefully soon. In the meantime, I have my eye on this Barragán T-shirt so I can feel dressed up and remain comfortable during my workdays from home this summer.
Virginia Smith, Fashion Director
As most people know, I’m a serious connoisseur of the slouchy, wide-leg pant. This fantastic knit version from MRZ is giving me work-from-home chic in the best way.
Janelle Okwodu, Senior Fashion Writer
When I saw Wesley Harriott’s spring/summer 2020 collection last year, it was love at first sight. The pieces offered at T.A. are some of my favorites of the bunch. The long black asymmetrical gown with a single shoulder strap takes me back to the early aughts and all those sexy yet minimalist shows, but the oversized black silk shirt is probably more my speed. Glossy, glamorous, and Zoom-meeting appropriate, it’s the perfect summer-to-fall transition piece.
Ella Riley-Adams, Living Editor
Tomatoes have never been so chic! This Ottolinger dress manages to be both earthy and formal at the same time, and I love how it cinches at the waist.
Blk Mkt Vintage
Blk Mkt Vintage, cofounded by Jannah Handy and Kiyanna Stewart, is a compilation of black collectibles representing the richness of Black history, both lived and experienced.
Chioma Nnadi, Fashion News Editor
Jannah Handy and Kiyanna Stewart, the founders of Blk Mkt Vintage in Bed-Stuy, have such excellent taste in everything. Their one-of-a-kind antiques are the kind of thing you have to jump on the minute they post them (and trust me, there are a few that have gotten away from me for sure). Currently coveting this super-rare hand-drawn Black Panthers event flyer.
Maddie Swanson, Accessories Editor
My college adviser was an incredible art historian and anthropologist who specialized in African art and museum studies. From the comparison of art versus artifact to studies on the representation of race and identity in visual culture, the classes I took from him left me with a great interest in and appreciation for African art and its history. And though I cannot visit the Met’s collection of West African textiles or the Egyptian galleries at the Brooklyn Museum, I would love to deck out my coffee table with these vintage African arts journals from the ’80s. (Coincidentally, I am helping my boyfriend decorate his new apartment, and these seem like a great place to start.)
Naomi Elizée, Associate Market Editor
Blk Mkt Vintage is notorious for selling out items within 15–20 minutes of posting them to their Instagram and website. Their products are just that good and are always curated to perfection! Although I am usually not lucky enough to catch the items while they are still in stock, there are still a few pieces on their website available to shop right now. I’m ready to dust off the old VCR as I’m eyeing the Def Comedy Jam vintage VHS collection to both watch and add to my collection. And while I stalk the website for more vintage finds, I’ll purchase a gift card so I’m more than ready for the next drop of items.