Issues with diversity and inclusion in high fashion have seemed to go unchecked for years. Over the past year, however, the conversation on racial insensitivity has led to many calling out luxury brands for creating items that have racist undertones or appropriate marginalized cultures.
Several individuals have called for a boycott of many high-end brands after they created imagery that resembled blackface. In December 2018, Prada pulled its “Pradamalia” figurines, which featured dark skin and exaggerated red lips, from its New York store. Two months later, Gucci issued an apology for selling an $890 black turtleneck sweater that featured a cutout and red lips that could be pulled over the bottom half of someone’s face.
On Tuesday, Burberry issued an apology for presenting a hoodie featuring a noose on the runaway during its show at London Fashion Week. Although those mainstream labels have apologized for their insensitivity and plan to become more diverse, we’d like to make you aware of 10 Black-owned luxury brands you can support:
Designer: Felisha Noel
Location: Brooklyn, New York
Price Range: $58–$1,495 (fenoel.com)
About the brand: Founded in 2011, the womenswear label features bold print, flowy fabrics and sensual tops. It is influenced heavily by the designer’s Grenadian background and appreciation for her mother and grandmother, who both were examples of determination and drive. “I think clothes have the power to transform people,” Noel told Vogue in January. “Power is in all women. My hope is that when women wear my clothes, they can lean into that power.”
OFF-WHITE C/O Virgil Abloh
Designer: Virgil Abloh
Price Range: $85–$2,885 (off---white.com)
About the brand: This luxury streetwear label was founded by Abloh in 2012. According to its website, the products represent “current culture at a taste-level particular to now. With a specific opinion and not necessarily same with vision seasonal men’s and women’s collections are offered.” The range of items includes markers, leather goods, shoes, purses, belts and pants.
Designer: Ade Hassan
Price Range: $9–$99 (nubianskin.com)
About the brand: Hassan officially launched the luxury lingerie and hosiery line in 2014 after realizing that mainstream nude was not inclusive of all skin tones. Since then, the label has provided a spectrum of nude options for women of color and has expanded to include shoes.
Designer: Kerby Jean-Raymond
Location: New York
Price Range: $126–$1,605 (pyermoss.com)
About the brand: Pyer Moss is a men’s and womenswear label founded by the Haitian-American designer in 2013. According to its website, the brand is “concerned with building a narrative that speaks about heritage and activism.” It often highlights the complexity of Black life in its fashion presentations including topics of police brutality, Black church experience and the Black Lives Matter Movement. In 2018, Jean-Raymond was the recipient of the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund.
Designer: Mia Wright-Ross
Location: New York
Price Range: $175–$4,850 (mwrcollection.com)
About the brand: Wright-Ross produces a small collection of handmade handbags, accessories and furniture using a deadstock supply of leathers.
Designer: Carly Cushnie
Location: New York City
Price Range: $245–$2, 495 (cushnie.com)
About the brand: Cushnie was founded in 2008 and consists of luxury ready-to-wear clothes and accessories. Its CEO and creative director wanted to empower women and to bring diversity into the fashion world. “As a woman, I understand what my customer wants from her clothe,” Carly said in a statement on the brand’s website. “I’ve grown and evolved alongside her over the past 10 years, and I strive to present her with timeless silhouettes that make her feel sexy, sophisticated and powerful—all at once.”
Designer: LaQuan Smith
Location: Queens, New York
Price Range: $120–$1,750 (laquansmith.com)
About the brand: The formal debut of Smith’s eponymous womenswear label was in 2013. The line includes looks that focus on sex appeal ranging from sheer dresses to bodycon tops and skirts. Since the brand’s launch, influential artists including Beyoncé and Rihanna have been spotted in some of the designer’s signature looks.
Designer: Stella Jean
Price Range: $90–$995 (stellajean.it)
About the brand: Stella Jean was created in 2011 by the Haitian-Italian fashion designer, who is regarded as a protégé of Giorgio Armani. Her eponymous brand merges her two cultures, the African themes found in Haiti and the masterful tailoring of Italy, and offers bold pieces for woman, men, teens and children.
Designer: Ozwald Boateng OBE
Price Range: $150–$700 (ozwaldboateng.co.uk)
About the brand: OBE has impacted menswear for nearly 30 years. The label merges the designer’s Ghanaian heritage with the fashion traditions of London’s Savile Row.
Fear of God
Designer: Jerry Lorenzo
Location: Los Angeles
Price Range: $250–$2,195 (fearofgod.com/)
About the brand: Fear of God launched in 2012 when Lorenzo, the son of MLB’s Jerry Manuel, was relatively unknown in the fashion world. The line uses religious imagery and blends ’90s grunge style with the aesthetics of hip-hop fashion. The self-taught designer recently collaborated with Nike, spearheading the creation of a new sneaker silhouette for the athletics company.