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Over the last few months, as awareness for the Black Lives Matter movement has grown even more, people have been throwing their support and dollars behind Black-owned businesses. This recent revolution has opened eyes to the challenges that people face because of their race. Being a business owner is tough for anyone, but that’s especially true for BIPOC, and particularly in the super-competitive fashion space. August is National Black Business Month, so it’s a great time to shop Black-owned fashion lines, but that doesn’t have to end once the month is over.
There are many ways to be an ally and supporting and investing in Black-owned businesses is a great way to do your part. The fashion world is filled with Black designers who haven’t always gotten the attention they deserve. From designers with a celebrity following to brands that are just getting started, here are eight Black-owned fashion lines to know. If you purchase an independently reviewed product or service through a link on Variety‘s website, Variety may receive an affiliate commission.
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A ticket to Cushnie’s runway show at New York Fashion Week is always a hot commodity. Co-founded and designed by Carly Cushnie, the line is famous for its sophisticated and architectural dresses and separates in a bold color palette. Equally famous for its slip dresses as it is for evening wear and jumpsuits, the brand has amassed quite an A-list following. Michelle Obama, Jennifer Lopez, Sophie Turner and Ashley Graham have all been known to wear the line. Cushnie initially co-founded the line as Cushnie et Ochs with her fellow Parsons alum, Michelle Ochs, but Ochs left the company in 2018 to work on other projects and Cushnie took the reigns as CEO and creative director. This White Long Sleeve Top with Chiffon Overlay is a gorgeous classic piece you can wear forever. $895, cushnie.com
2. Brother Vellies
Africa meets New York City in luxury footwear line Brother Vellies. Since 2013, Aurora James has been keeping traditional African techniques alive and selling them in her Brooklyn boutique and beyond. Every single pair of shoes is sustainably and ethically made by artisans from across Africa, including in Namibia, Kenya and South Africa. Not only does this preserve their craftsmanship, it also provides employment across the continent. The line looks as good as its mission, which is why it has earned fans like Solange Knowles and Meghan Markle. There are so many details to love on the Olivia Chain Wrap Woven Flats, from the woven leather to the wrap around ankle straps to the delicate chain details. $615, shopbop.com
3. Christopher John Rogers
With only a few seasons under his belt, Christopher John Rogers has already nabbed a CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund Award, making him one of the new designers to watch. He recently launched his spring collection on Net-A-Porter, filled with his signature saturated hues and fearless volume. His unique, brilliant vision explains why Rihanna, Ashley Graham, Tracee Ellis Ross and Michelle Obama are all fans. Take your closet up a notch with his floral-print cotton skirt that can easily be dressed up or down. $300, net-a-porter.com
Chari Cuthbert wants each piece of her jewelry to tell a story about the woman who wears it. Founded in 2012, BYCHARI is a sustainable jewelry line that’s handmade in Los Angeles and committed to supporting local small businesses. Classic yet modern, the line encompasses Cuthbert’s aesthetic of sleek minimalism. Each piece is unique and can be layered to create an even more personal look. BYCHARI has been worn by Kate Hudson, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Aimee Song, Chiara Ferragni and Rocky Barnes, and Michelle Obama wore a necklace spelling out “vote” during her speech at the Democratic National Convention. The Soho Necklace is eternally chic and can be worn solo or with other favorite necklaces from your jewelry box. $65, bychari.com
Yes, Fenty is Rihanna’s fashion label, and like everything else she does, from pop music to beauty, it’s pretty impressive. Under the LVMH umbrella, the line broke several barriers, when Rihanna became the very first woman to launch a new brand with the conglomerate, and was also the first woman of color to lead a fashion house under their label. Fenty brings Rihanna’s impeccable style to the masses, with a high-low mix of denim, sleek blouses and casual hoodies. The Fenty Trouble Slim Rectangle Acetate Sunglasses add instant cool to any look. $250, bergdorfgoodman.com
6. The Tiny Tassel
Mimi Striplin wants to inject some joy into the world and her cheery, optimistic line, The Tiny Tassel, certainly does just that. Striplin started out in a haberdashery and just a year after graduating from the College of Charleston, she founded the Tiny Tassel in 2015. She makes a full range of handmade tassels — hence the name — as well as accessories and party décor, all in a bright palette and fun prints. It’s a family business, too, since her mom makes clothing for the brand. Add some whimsy to any outfit with The Flamingle Clutch, a beaded bag that can be converted to a crossbody. $42, thetinytassel.com
7. Pyer Moss
Kerby Jean-Raymond, the designer behind Pyer Moss, uses his line to encompass so much more than fashion. Since launching it in 2013, it has created a dialogue on everything from activism to theater to social commentary, often collaborating with other artists to expand the conversation. He designs for both men and women. Even a simple T-shirt is elevated by his touch, like this Red Mock Neck Ponte T-Shirt with a graphic that pops. $125, ssense.com
8. Made by Malyia
When Malyia McNaughton couldn’t find just the right body chain to wear to an upcoming music festival, she decided to make her own. That’s how Made by Malyia, a jewelry and lifestyle brand, was born in 2014. Friends asked her to make them body chains of their own and the requests became so overwhelming that she eventually quit her job as a fashion buyer to pursue her own line. Even as a child, growing up the youngest of five kids in the Bronx, McNaughton was in love with fashion. Handmade in New York City, Made by Malyia is all about quality pieces that are unique. McNaughton has plenty of muses, from her hometown to nature, African culture and indigenous tribal adornment. Her line has been worn by Issa Rae on HBO’s “Insecure” and by Grammy Award-winning singer/songwriter Jazmine Sullivan. Her edgy Divergent Ear Cuff doesn’t require a piercing — just some attitude. $75, madebymalyia.com