Supporting black brands -

and investing in sustainable pieces to create a staple wardrobe, is something that has become important me, although it’s going to be a costly journey. Whether my parents approve of my spending habits or not, I’m doing this for myself and for the brilliant black designers out there that I support.

This week we have watched huge brands in the industry sit back waiting to post black squares, in “support” of the Black Lives Matter protests after they had been pressured by influncers. We also saw smaller black brands reach out and donate their sale profits to the cause. Supporting black brands and buying their products, is a how we invest in each other to not later feel we aren’t included somewhere. When we look to businesses to support us it will the same black brands investing back into our community by representing, accepting and supporting us, not the cultural appropriators.

Before fashion media such as BOF decided to participate in #blackouttesuday there was @bibbygregory , who made an extensive thread directing us to black owned brands and has pointed out why we should support them. He also reminds us to never pay full price when sales exist for high fashion brands, that already have longevity and mass support from investors.

Many black brands have suffered at the hand of the industry because they are dusted aside for other brands. Retailers won’t stock their clothing lines, critics reduce their work to ghetto, suggesting they cannot exist in the luxury market. However to avoid the appropriation of black culture we do need to invest, generating customers which will allow their businesses to grow so they can continue to cater to us. Jacquemus in an interview “he is part of a time where knock offs speak to a lot more people”, it is the contrary for black creators. They are never credited for their work or ideas coined unless pressure is applied

Hanifa’s innovative capsule collection reveal of #PinkLabelCongo was a huge success, as there was so much meaning and culture behind this collection. The acknowledgement that this collection was also to raise awareness of the crisis in Congo that affects us all, is one of the reasons the line sold out so quickly. Other than the simply good design and jaw dropping show at Hanifa, she took the lead in innovative approaches brands need to take, in order to spark change in the fashion industry. What other brands have been regurgitating the last decade, is not new, inclusive or exiciting and it’s not keeping them relevant.

Black HF (high fashion) Twitter posed an interesting topic for the TL, why are black celebrities and artists so quick to shout out white brands (with longevity) but the girls won’t ever cameo in a lil Pyer Moss or Christopher John Rogers. It set the tone for who the taste makers really are today.

Stylists and Buyers have set the trend for a long time since runways became a thing. Does that also mean the buying and styling space is exclusive to white people, as it seems only black creatives shout out or shed light on certain brands, despite the fashion industry’s claim to being inclusive...

Smaller black businesses and black brands stand out in the first place because they explore ideas in a fresh way, not to mention most trends originate from black culture. The fashion industry tends to dip their toe into inclusivity as if it were a trend, allowing us to be recognised only momentarily and then they go back to their super white teams to repackage and sell our culture back to us.

Black brands are boxed into the streetwear category, which does not allow room for growth and opportunity. Streetwear itself was not a popular style, until it was just appropriated for a short period of time. Non black fashion writers wrote off Fenty and Pyer Moss, claiming their 200$ T-shirts are too expensive for a modern woman. Meanwhile Marine Serre or The Row will thrive with their similar pricing. Potential customers will be turned off when reading and hearing these critiques, especially when influencers who consistently go out and buy Gucci, Fendi or Louis Vuitton with their cute PLT checks can afford these brands.

Lastly the significance of a brand can be artificially constructed. Making clothing visible in favourable environments to pass products of as cool, is the exact way companies are able to sell out products due to the likes of influencers. Just like how Kanye West uses his extensive network, to ensure brand success — show me a Yeezy shoe that hasn’t sold out. This is entirely possible with black brands if we uplift our black influencers and black brands.

UAL BA Journalism Grad: carlaaureliem@gmail.com

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store