Black fashion designers have been creating and setting trends for decades, but have long been overlooked in the space. The good news is diversity and inclusion are finally becoming a major focus in the fashion world, and there's always room for more change.
In celebration of the Black-owned fashion brands that are producing some of the most innovative designs on the market, we wanted to shout out some of our favourites! Fashion expert Denise Caldwell shined a light on her top 10 apparel and accessory designers and brands to know, love and support going forward.
This women's clothing and accessories brand was started in 2019 by civil engineer turned fashion designer Emefa Kuadey. The Canadian brand creates timeless statement pieces that are both bold and feminine. They create pieces on-demand at their Toronto studio, plus you can shop exclusive pieces at select locations at The Bay in Ontario.
SHOP: Oversized Shift Dress with Sheer Sleeve; $200 at Israella Kobla | Off-Shoulder Crop Top; $250 at Israella Kobla | Omari Pants; $360 at Israella Kobla | Sheer Panel Wide Leg Pants; $360 at Israella Kobla
This Black-owned Canadian business was founded by Natasha Pattern, a recipient of the Black Designers of Canada Award. Mycoatisblue features stylish outwear for both men and women that are made in Toronto to order to reduce overstock— so you can support the environment while staying chic!
SHOP: Jewel Coat in Granite; $625 at mycoatisblue | Lianna Park-Hybrid Coat; $995 at mycoatisblue | Justi Men's Coat in Sand; $575 at mycoatisblue | Myle Car Coat in Granite; $595 at mycoatisblue
Adolophine specializes in luxury home decor, art, accessories, clothing, and jewelry. Founded in 2018 by Congolese philanthropist Andolphine Lukabu Sheeley, this brand features bright and beautiful colours inspired by the traditional African culture. Show off your personality in their gender-neutral and colourful products filled with historic pride.
SHOP: Lome XL Duffle Bag; $525 at Adolophine | Queen Aoleon Bag; $300 at Adolophine | Fatshi Briefcase; $300 at Adolophine
The concept of Vontélle all started out of the frustration of losing your favourite pair of glasses. After they both lost their favourite pair of expensive eyewear, founders Tracy Vontelle Green and Nancey Harris teamed up in 2019 to deliver luxury handcrafted eyewear products that pay homage to their African, Caribbean and Latin ancestry with traditional colours and patterns.
SHOP: Pharaoh Frames Aztec; $349 at Vontélle | Rectangular Rands Yellow; $99 at Vontélle
Wear Brims is a luxury hat company that was co-founded by longtime friends Archie Clay III and Tajh Crutch in 2016. They focus on three pillars: family, faith and confidence. Plus, all hats are unisex and gender-fluid. Shop online on their site or find selected products at Nordstrom.
SHOP: Royal Fox Vol 2; $250 at Wear Brims | The Bond Baseball Cap; $80 at Wear Brims
Created by Maya Amoah, BATIK BOUTIK showcases the incredible talent of artists from Africa through fashion, accessories and decor. Inspired by the bold and vibrant patterns of West Africa, their designs are all about expressing yourself.
SHOP: Teshie Jumpsuit; $125 at Batik Boutik
Toronto-native Aurora James founded Brother Vellies with the goal in mind to keep traditional African design practices and techniques alive. This Canadian brand creates luxury shoes and one-of-a-kind accessories that will remain in your wardrobe forever.
SHOP: Tuesday Mule in Raffia; $565 at Brother Vellies | Opus Belt; $385 at Brother Vellies
Made in Montreal, Selfish Swimwear is all about sustainability! From the start, designer Naomie Caron has dedicated her designs to making swimwear that is better for the planet and creating the best quality for her customers.
SHOP: One Piece in Flower Print; $160 at Selfish Swimwear
Greta Constantine focuses on creating beautiful formal attire, from jaw-dropping dresses to statement skirts. Designers Kirk Pickersgill and Stephen Wong create timeless silhouettes for all body types using vibrant colours and patterns. This Toronto-based brand has become a favourite among celebrities for the red carpet and big events, including actors like Viola Davis, Cynthia Ervio and U.S. youth poet laureate Amanda Gorman.
SHOP: Greta Constantine at FarFetch
As a Black-owned activewear brand, Veer Active offers top-quality materials and dynamic designs inspired by the heritage of African communities. A donation is made to an equally reputable non-profit organization with every purchase. So you can feel good working up a sweat in your new activewear!
SHOP: Ananda Extra Comfy Crop; $50 at Veer Active | Merina Long Yoga Short Printed in Black; $65 at Veer Active