Today I wanted to share 7 Black-owned ethical fashion and accessory brands with you today.
I know I’m speaking to the converted here when I say that fast fashion is built on an exploitative and racist business model.
Fast fashion brands exploit people of colour using a workforce of predominantly female garment workers in low-wage economies like Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, and Vietnam. Many of these workers labour in terrible working conditions, far below the living wage, and are denied paid sick leave and other basic rights, just to make clothes that, according to Traid, are worn only ten times before being disposed of.
Whilst ethical fashion is a better choice, even in the ethical fashion sphere in 2020 there is still a striking lack of representation of Black and minority brands, and brands using Black models. In terms of diversity, the sector has a long way to go.
To help celebrate diversity within the ethical fashion sphere, I’ve rounded up seven Black-owned ethical fashion and accessory brands in the UK. While I’m here, I’ve also updated my ethical clothing brands directory for 2020.
Black-Owned Ethical Fashion & Accessory Brands
AAKS was founded by Akosua Afriyie-Kumi, a Ghanaian native who graduated from Kingston University London.
Akosua’s goal is to introduce the world to her favourite weaving techniques done by the women of Ghana while also creating and igniting sustainable jobs within Africa.
Handcrafted in Ghana, AAKS beautiful woven bags are made using ecologically harvested raffia from family farmers in Ghana. They utilise as much of every raffia as possible and reserve scraps for smaller bags.
BMUSE Vintage launched on Earth Day 2020, during Fashion Revolution Week, BMUSE sell a beautifully curated selection of stylish vintage clothing.
They say “by honouring vintage as preloved fashion that already exists, we are not causing any further harm to people and the environment.”
Kemi Telford design and sell beautifully bold Nigerian influenced clothing, with a western twist.
Sustainability is at the heart of the brand. Kemi Telford says “This brand was created to empower women, this means that our employees – and those of our manufacturers – are always treated with care and respect. The people who create the items sold here must feel worthy and acknowledged.”
Kitty Ferreira makes stylish sustainable clothes perfect for work or special occasions, all of which are made in London. Clothes are dyed using natural dyes, the silk they use is organic and cruelty-free, and where possible they use British made upcycled fabrics. And in a very welcome move, the clothes go up to a size 26 – which is good news for customers looking for plus size ethical clothing.
Maison Archives sell chic sustainable fashion accessories sourced from fairtrade co-ops. From hair clips to head bands, and bags to hats, Maison Archives is a great go-to when you’re after something special to sustainably jazz up an existing outfit.
OlaOla is a Textile design studio, by Ola Olayinka, which creates bold & unique patterned accessories such as bags, hair accessories and jewellery.
Each product is printed and hand-made in small batches in the UK. Making product to order allows for less fabric waste, and OlaOla use all smaller off-cuts to up-cycled into products such as earrings.
Yala is a female-founded and black-owned modern jewellery brand that embodies intricate design, sustainable materials, ethics and transparency.
Yala is built on social values, to improve the lives of others by creating financial opportunities for skilled Kenyan artisans, who make a beautiful range of earring, bracelets, necklaces and rings. Kenyan models, photographers and stylists are also used for all publicity shots to embody their rich culture.
What’s more, Yala is proud to be the first jewellery brand in the UK to be a Certified B Corporation®.
Come across any more black-owned ethical fashion or accessory brands? Do let me know and I will add them to this directory – I would like to see it grow.