Two women and a man standing in front of a rack of clothes

Our Favorite Brands Founded By Black Designers

Jun 2, 2020

In the fashion industry, black designers and brands often receive less attention and representation than they deserve. We are so excited to share with you a few of our favorite labels, with the hopes that you will also enjoy these talented designers, and their ultra-chic work! Make sure to read all the way to the end to learn about these incredible black-owned brands. There, you’ll find a curated shoppable section just for you so you can support these businesses with your wallet.

Two women and a man standing in front of a rack of clothes

CHRISTOPHER JOHN ROGERS

You could not meet a kinder man than CJR. He has remained grounded, even as the accolades are pouring in for his joyful designs. His choice of fabrics and rich, bright colors are insanely gorgeous. We had the honor of seeing his collection this spring in Paris, right after his block-buster show at NYFW (half of us had to watch the NY show from a large TV in the hall at Spring Place, because so many people came to see the new “wonder boy” create his magic, and he certainly delivered! It was the kind of experience that gave you goosebumps. He was the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund winner for 2019, which is the ultimate stamp of approval for any upcoming designer. We believe his reign is only beginning!

AURORA JAMES OF BROTHER VELLIES

This designer has always had our hearts. Her calm misdemeanor (she greets everyone as a friend), and dedication to artisanship are both part of what makes Aurora and her brand so attractive to us. Her shoes and bags are handmade across the globe, keeping the traditional crafts alive, and supplying jobs in the process. All this in addition to the show stopping designs- now you see why we adore her! Her pieces always make a statement.

MATEO

Delia met Mateo during her days at Barneys New York. She fell for his exquisite jewelry designs instantly. Learn more about him in our interview on our podcast & YouTube channel here. His zest for life, love of art, and the determination and ability to evolve and run his business independently is impressive. His jewelry is divine. 

VICTOR GLEMAUD

Victor is a lovely man who is greatly admired by fashion insiders and consumers alike. Delia introduced me to him at dinner one night, and we both have been major fans ever since. He has lived all over the world, and returned to NYC in 2015 in order to launch his knitwear namesake brand. His name might ring a bell, because we discussed attending his NYFW presentation last September. The brand is joyful, bright and optimistic; how could you be in a bad mood wearing one of his knits?! We know we cannot!

TELFAR

Telfar Clemens is a star. His pieces are highly coveted by the “it” crowd, his “Bushwick Birkin” bag is carried by all the cool kids; it’s the new ultimate status symbol without the huge expense! You have probably seen the tote on the street, but didn’t know who the designer was, so we are giving you the inside scoop!

LAQUAN SMITH

LaQuan’s muse is “someone who appreciates glamour; someone who is not afraid to dress up in the middle of the day”. His designs are unapologetically sexy, with super strong silhouettes. Definitely a name to know! His brand has been described as “eveningwear for extroverts”, don’t you love that?!

GRACE WALES BONNER

Wales Bonner is known for impeccable tailoring, becoming famous for designing menswear. She is now also designing for women as well, and we wish we could own every piece! She was the recipient of the LVMH Prize for Young Fashion Designers in 2016.

PAT MCGRATH

Pat is a greatly beloved makeup artist, famous for her work with super models like Naomi Campbell, Amber Valletta and Gigi Hadid, on high fashion shoots and creating the makeup looks for runway shows like Gucci and Dior. She has been called the most influential makeup artist in the world. Time magazine included her in its 100 Most Influential People List. Have we convinced you? She’s the real deal!!! Queen Elizabeth even made her a Member of the Order of the British Empire! A few years ago, she decided to launch her own, much anticipated, makeup line, which regularly sells out as quickly as each collection is released. There is nothing understated or subdued about her brand, it’s all high glam baby!

FENTY BEAUTY

By now I’m sure you know who is at the head of this powerful beauty brand. The queen of self-confidence and empowerment herself…Rihanna! The brand is applauded for its wide range of traditionally hard-to-match skin tones. Our current favorite products are the lip glosses! 

GOLDE

How does this description sound, “Somewhere between golden milk and a matcha latte is a creamy blend of coconut, ginger, turmeric…”- you had us at hello! Here are the details: This brand was founded in 2017 by Trinity Mouzon Wofford with a mission of bringing good vibes to the wellness industry. The products are natural and super food based, centered around health and beauty. Can you get any better than that?

Heron Preston

Heron Preston is an American artist, designer & DJ. He has collaborated with other designers, such as Virgil Abloh of Off-White & Louis Vuitton. He is known for streetwear. He won the CFDA award for emerging designers. He was Delia’s vendor when she worked on the RTW buying team at Barneys New York.

Off-White

Virgil Abloh is a prolific designer & artist. He has his own brand called Off-White & is also the Artistic Director of Menswear at Louis Vuitton. His accomplishments are too many to list!! For example, he was inducted into Business of Fashion 500 “The People Shaping The Fashion Industry” List. Also, he won the International Designer of the Year at GQ Men of the Year Awards. He was Delia’s vendor when she worked on the RTW buying team at Barneys New York. His ideas about how to move the fashion industry forward after the COVID-19 crisis are creative & we felt very hopeful after listening to him discuss them.

There are a few more brands we are completely devoted to, but couldn’t include in the shop section. They are:

Fe Noel 

Felisha, the creative director says, “Eat well, travel often, and dress to inspire”, and inspire she does! We adored her NYFW show in February and her messages of empowerment, as well as her use of vibrant colors and bold prints, there is a sense of true joie de vivre.

LemLem

Supermodel Liya Kebede is behind this wonderful label. The collection is an artisan-driven collection (women, men, children and home goods) made entirely in Africa. It is dedicated to elevating artisanship, and promoting jobs across Africa. Need we say more?

Romeo Hunte

Two names come to mind- Beyonce and Zendaya. Do we have your attention now? Yes, they are big fans. So are all the downtown NYC girls, who love his designs because they are sensual but not overtly sexy, as he describes it, “sophisticated with a polished, clean look.” 

As we move forward in the discussion surrounding the fact that all lives are important & that everyone deserves to be treated with dignity and respect, this is one small start & step that we are taking. Buying black-owned goods is certainly not the only way to help with police brutality & the many issues our nation faces. We are continuing to educate ourselves, think, reflect, etc. to give you actionable steps in hopes to make our country a more equal place.

Alison + Delia

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