Black-owned fashion brands to watch out for
A whole year has passed since the murder of George Floyd. The policeman who knelt on George Floyd’s neck for a few minutes, depriving him of air to breathe, has since been found guilty on all counts. Accountability – a silver lining in the fight against police violence against blacks and people of color in the United States. Nonetheless, as daily reports of new cases of police violence show, there is still a long way to go – on both sides of the Atlantic.
The Black Lives Matter movement, which has drawn attention to these and other injustices, has led black people and POCs to ultimately gain media attention for their various causes. One of them being equality in the fashion industry. For example, the 15% -Pledge calls on multi-brand retailers to offer and order at least 15% (representative of the percentage of the black population in the United States) – of brands and labels owned by blacks and others. people of color. What about your store? FashionUnited has collected labels owned by blacks that you can order right now.
Ashes and Earth (Germany)
Fashion brand Ashes and Soil was founded in 2019 by Martina Offeh. Together with designer Musa Simone, she produces “cool pieces, with an even cooler background”. With her fashion, the Hamburg-based designer with West African roots set out to draw attention to global and socio-political issues. Her current collection “Introspection” tells stories of people exposed to stigma due to their mental illness. The jackets in the collection feature the stories of those affected, which Martina Offeh visited in person, through QR codes that lead buyers to testimonials on the homepage. “In the collection, we reflect the stories of eight people with mental illness and share their experiences of stigma and rejection. The collection is dedicated to these people, ”explains the designer. “We believe that fashion has the ability to enrich our understanding and approach to storytelling. With each of our collections, our desire is to capture the stories of marginalized people and make unknown voices heard. In this way, we aim to create a new narrative that enables a shift in the way we interact with each other as a society – first by examining the world of those who are foreign to us. “
Resellers: Wear, not just a label
Target group: So far mainly women, 25-40 years old, fashion-savvy, activists, travelers, metropolitan.
Main markets: So far DE as well as NL, UK, SWE.
Retail price points: Leather jackets 650-1150 euros, wool coats 450-900 euros, jackets 650 euros, T-shirts 49 euros, hoodies 60-75 euros, shirts 89 euros. More articles to come this year.
Belles Luttes (Germany / United States)
The Beautiful Struggles label stands for premium streetwear with the highest standards of quality. It was founded by Danny Williams in Germany in 2019 and combines the two worlds he grew up in: Europe and America.
Founder Danny Williams is considered a style icon among professional footballers. He grew up in Germany with an American father and a German mother and found his place in the professional football league. From Karlsruhe via Freiburg and Hoenheim, he went to England to Reading and Huddersfield FC and finally to the US national football team.
“Beautiful Struggles is about overcoming adversity and changing your perspective while facing different obstacles in life,” says the designer. His parents’ different backgrounds presented him with sometimes difficult challenges, as he had to deal with hostility and unwillingness, especially in professional football. This made him train all the harder to prove himself. These moments showed him that in stumbling blocks and in difficult times is power. For motivation, for new and beautiful things to be discovered with a change of perspective – great struggles, in other words.
The current collection, Drop 3, is inspired by Cape Town and the contrasting vibes of the city and the nature that surrounds it. Timeless pieces meet modern, cool and sporty statement pieces.
Resellers: Beautiful Struggles is currently only available in the online store.
Target group: Unisex, 20-45 years old, trendy and quality conscious.
Retail price points:
Shirts around 260 euros, pants around 300 euros, sweatshirts around 300 euros, overshirts 300 – 500 euros
Akuko (Nigeria / Sweden)
Akuko was founded by Arinze Emegoakor in 2019. With “roots in Nigeria and feet in Sweden” Akụkọ is a colorful and enduring (sock) brand that tells African stories through fashion. Translated, Akụkọ means ‘story’ in the Igbo language: each product comes with a story, and these stories help to illuminate and change stereotypical and negative narratives on the African continent and people of African descent around the world.
In addition to its colorful socks with bold patterns, the brand is currently working to expand its product line. The plans include a collection of underwear for all genders. Akuko offers high quality products which are unique, fashionable and also conversation starters. They are sustainably made from the finest bamboo fabrics.
Target group: Generation Z and Millennials who consciously choose where to spend their money. Or quite simply all those who defend equality. Socks are available for adults and children, underwear for adults and teens.
Retail price points: A pair of socks costs 10 euros.
Sales agency in Germany: APYA productions, contact: Beatrace Oola
IAMISIGO (Nigeria, Kenya, Ghana)
Bubu Ogisi founded the wearable art brand Iamisigo based between Lagos, Nairobi and Accra. Her label has been worn by model Naomi Campbell and a number of other celebrities, and primarily focuses on how fashion and textiles can not only keep history alive, but also convey information for the future. by preserving artisanal techniques through the material. In doing so, she uses the ultimate web – the human body – for clothing as a means of communication.
“We create wearable works of art using unconventional materials and ancestral textile traditions through extensive research with isolated African communities in different parts of the African continent,” says the artist, whose works have been exhibited at the Brighton Museum, the Troppen Museum in Amsterdam and the Kunstgewerbemuseum in Berlin, among others.
The idea behind the label is to “remove border construction and merge different ideas”. It sees itself as an “agent of change”, and fashion as a form of silent protest against post-colonialism and neo-colonialism. The label is 100% handmade and focuses on ancestral techniques while incorporating unconventional fibers and recycling techniques.
Resellers: Showrooms in Lagos, Nigeria and Nairobi, Kenya. Available at Afrodor in Zurich, Noborders Shop Mumbai and Paris, Atelier Meraki in Paris, Studio 189 in New York.
Retail price points: T-shirts around 150 euros, hand-woven pants around 400 euros, dresses around 800 euros
Images: Akuko, Cendres et Terre, Iamisigo – White Gold AW21, Belles Luttes
This article has already been published on FashionUnited.de. Translation and Editing: Barbara Russ.