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Life & Style

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.

Home and Garden, Life & Style

Buying Non-Food Essentials During a Global Pandemic

This post contains affiliate links

Today I’m sharing a little Etsy love. In case you’ve not heard of Etsy, it’s an online marketplace for independent sellers. Right now times are tough for their independent sellers, many of whom are one-woman businesses, and I want to support them and their #StandWithSmall campaign in this time of crisis. Etsy extended a huge amount of love and support to me last year when I went through some bad times, and devoting some space to them at this time feels like the very least I can do to show my gratitude for that.

Also, shopping for what we need right now is tough. Reports of online shopping companies are circulating where staff may not be adequately protected from risk – see exhibit A, exhibit B, and exhibit C.

When we can afford it, buying the non-food essentials we need that we can’t get locally from smaller sellers, such as independent Etsy sellers, feels like a safer option. These independent sellers may be more able to practice social distancing, and by the very nature of their business, are more likely to be one-person operations. And more than ever, independent sellers need our support.

It goes without saying, the term ‘essentials’ will vary from person to person – there’s no one size fits all approach. What might not be essential to you may be essential to someone else, so I have taken a broad approach.

Face Mask

Face mask from Etsy

At present, face masks aren’t compulsory in the UK, but it could well go that way.

Owing to PPE shortages, medical-grade face masks should be reserved for NHS staff and care workers only. Other professional types of face masks are in short supply, so for the general public, a fabric face mask is the best option. I have heard that pocket type masks, where you can either insert a charcoal filter, or failing that, an additional fabric layer into the pocket can provide an additional layer of safety, so this double pocket washable face mask from Etsy may help, provided you follow instructions on how to use a mask safely.

It’s important to bear in mind that just because you’re wearing a mask, it doesn’t grant you immunity or will protect you completely. From what I understand, the masks are more to help asymptomatic people spreading COVID-19 before they are aware they are carriers of the disease, rather than to stop people contracting the disease. There are also a lot of other measures to stop the transmission of COVID-19 beyond wearing a mask, such as frequent hand washing, staying at home, social distancing, and self-isolating if you or anyone in your household develops symptoms that are just as important to follow too.

Washable Sanitary Towels

Washable sanitary towels from Etsy

We’re all trying to head to the shops as little as possible, and that, my friend, is the beauty of reusable sanitary products. No need to pop to the shop when you run out of towels because you can just pop on the washing machine instead. My favourites are these ones, from LilahPads.

If you’ve been worried about trying reusable period products due to leakage, then lockdown could be a great time to try them out.

Make-Up Remover Pads

Make-up Remover Pads from Etsy

Rather than using disposable make-up wipes, again, now is a great time to try out washable make-up pads. These ones from Artichaut Creations come in fun patterns, and can be used time and time again.

Reusable Kitchen Roll

Reusable kitchen roll from Etsy

Back in March, you couldn’t get hold of kitchen roll in the supermarkets for love nor money. I don’t use kitchen roll, so I wasn’t affected by this, so if you want to be shielded from future shortages then reusable is definitely the way to go. This reusable set, again from Artichaut Creations looks lovely.

Soap

Soap from Etsy

I covered soap just the other week, but if there was ever an essential right now then it’s soap. Soap Daze sells some lovely vegan and palm-oil free and cruelty-free soaps, like the cedarwood and grapefruit bar pictured above, that I really rate.

Shampoo

Shampoo bar from Etsy

Looking to ditch the shampoo and conditioner bottles clogging up your shower? You could try switching to this 2 in 1 solid shampoo bar. This one has no transition phase and doesn’t need an acid rinse after shampooing, as some bars do.

The Multi-Tasker

Argan Oil from Etsy

Looking for something to condition your hair, remove your make-up, moisturise your face and moisturise your hands? Argan Oil, like this one from Conscious Skincare, can do all of these things brilliantly.

Conscious Skincare’s products have been fully approved by the Vegetarian Society, PETA, carry the Leaping Bunny cruelty-free logo, and their products are vegan-friendly too.

In terms of keeping sellers safe, if you’re not in a rush for items, you can pop a note to the seller when you check out on Etsy, telling them to only post the item to you when it is safe to do so, or that you are happy to wait if they are only doing a weekly trip to the post office.