Author

Wendy Graham

Fashion, Life & Style

7 Black-Owned Ethical Fashion and Accessory Brands

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

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.

Find their shop here and Instagram here.

BMUSE Vintage

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.”

Find their website here and their Instagram here.

Kemi Telford

black ethical clothing brands uk

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.”

Conscious of waste, remnants from the clothing are made into colourful hair bows or gift bags.

Find the shop here and their Instagram here.

Kitty Ferreira

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.

Find their website here and Instagram here.

Maison Archives

black owned ethical fashion brands

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.

Find their website here and their Instagram here.

OlaOla

black-owned ethical fashion bags uk

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. 

Find their shop here, and Instagram here.

Yala Jewellery

black-owned ethical fashion and accessories uk

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®.

Find their website here and Instagram here.

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.

weekend links

Ten Things

Hello,

For any new readers, when I can on a Sunday I round up the week’s environmental news/points of note. Here is what I found this week:

1. Whilst coronavirus set off a sudden plunge in global greenhouse gas emissions, the amount of greenhouse gases actually in the air just hit a record high. May 2020 saw the highest monthly average value of CO2 ever recorded. We have so much work to do.

2. Face masks and latex gloves have become a new environmental problem. To be clear, I am for the use of masks and gloves to help fight this pandemic but we have to be responsible in how we dispose of them.

3. Why every environmentalist should be anti-racist.

Environmentalists tend to be well-meaning, forward-thinking people who believe in preserving the planet for generations to come. They will buy reusable cups, wear ethically made clothing and advocate for endangered species; however, many are hesitant to do the same for endangered Black lives, and might be unclear on why they should.

4. This is a useful piece on the links between racism and the environment. Somini says she has put together a quick reading list about climate change and social inequities, but there is a lot there to get started with.

5. The five biggest banks financing destructive oil projects in the Amazon. If you bank with HSBC then it’s time to move your money if you can. I promise to write an updated guide to ethical banks soon – it’s been on my to-do list for an embarrassing amount of time!

6. China has raised protection for pangolins by removing their scales from the official listing of ingredients approved for use in traditional Chinese medicine. Animal protection groups say this is a key step in stamping out trade in what is the world’s most trafficked mammal, and which has also been identified as a possible host for Covid-19.

7. “Life attracts life” – the Irish farmers realising that more regenerative forms of agriculture is the way forward when it comes to farming.

8. It’s time for environmental studies to own up to erasing black people.

It is no secret that the environmental movement’s history is red with the blood of Indigenous genocide. Many of the movement’s founding fathers, such as Madison Grant, John Muir, and Aldo Leopold, were white supremacists that created the language of conservation to accommodate racialized conceptions of nature. Inspired by European Romanticism, these conceptions laid the groundwork for establishing environments worth protecting, and for whom.”

9. Britain has gone coal-free for 2 months now – the longest period since the start of the industrial revolution. Renewables are generating more power than all fossil fuels put together. However, going beyond the headlines, it’s important to note that gas, another fossil fuel, has contributed around a third of the power to the grid during the coal-free period, so we still have some way to go.

10. Finally, got an old phone lying around in a drawer? Hubbub are calling for donations of old phones (and it’s charger if possible), for cleaning and refurbishment and donation to vulnerable people without a phone to help them get connected during COVID-19.

Until next week,

Wendy.x