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It is no secret that our society is dictated by prejudices and discriminatory behaviours that we may not even be aware we are endorsing. Unfortunately amongst many others, the fashion industry reflects a ‘white privilege’ and it has even been suggested that ‘racism is at the heart of fast fashion’. A single glance up your local Highstreet or quick google search makes it immediately evident that the vast majority of both affordable and high-end designers are white and accommodate primarily white individuals. Little further reflection will also reveal how utterly absurd this underrepresentation is. Since when did, or should, the colour of someone’s skin determine their creativity, talent or potential? 

These attitudes are incredibly damaging to current and aspiring fashion professionals, but by simply becoming more aware of who we choose to buy from, real differences can begin to emerge.

With this in mind, we have created a collection of 22 black-owned brands that we believe deserve a little more love. There should be something to suit all styles and budgets, so consumers at every level can experience the fashion industry’s hidden talents.


516 Polish

Offering non-toxic, cruelty-free nail-polishes that are individually made, 516 Polish is an ethical, sustainable brand. They pioneer ‘swatch diversity’ by providing product samples on a variety of skin tones and have specially formulated products that complement customers of all ethnicities. 

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Hot pink 🤤 “Punch” certainly does pack a punch, our classic creme formula is opaque in one-two coats, dries in less than 5 mins and has a naturally glossy finish (even without top coat). Shop Punch and more pretty creme colours on: 💖 #516polish⁣⠀ 📸 @a.r.t.s.nailpolish

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Boucléme creates British-based, cruelty-free and plant-based products that enhance natural curls. Their easy-to-follow 3-step regime encourages women to feel empowered rather than embarrassed by their curls. 

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Curls and freckles always make us swoon 😍. Hair Stylist @sarah_pavlovski applied our Curl Defining Gel and Super Hold Styler to her gorgeous model for ultimate definition.⁠ ⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⠀⠀⠀⠀⁠ 📸: @dundeephotos⁠ 💄: @mariebauvoi⁠ 👩🏽‍🦱: Lidivine

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By Zeena

Selling sunglasses and jewellery that are inspired by North African heritage, this accessories label aims to create trendy yet timeless pieces.

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Don’t forget to protect your eyes too! ~ Tap to shop our square cuts 🕶 (all sunglasses orders come with a free By Zeena case) ✨

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Fanm Djanm

Founded in a small New York apartment, Fanm Djanm (meaning ‘strong women’) is an accessory-based store best known for its bright and bold headwraps. Each piece is handmade in Brooklyn using sustainably sourced fabrics.

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MDM Flow

Cruelty-free cosmetics inspired by 80s and 90s music culture are what MDM Flow are best known for. From multi-use ‘glossy pots’, to lip products in a range of natural and experimental shades, this beauty brand has the potential to create fun, fresh and funky looks that take you from day to night. 

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@summerwalker’s beauty looks in the new D&G video with Davido makes me happy. 💞 How is everyone? We still rocking mean looks during lockdown? Or we taking a break..? 👄

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Saint Kojo

Selling beautifully crafted yet affordable 14k gold-plated jewellery, Saint Kojo is a hidden gem. If the elegant aesthetic is enough, they also use a portion of profits to educate and empower disadvantaged women in Africa. 

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✨✨✨ 📸 :@jenloumeredith

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Sincerely Nude

This London-based brand celebrates diversity through it’s simple yet sexy garments that represent individuals of all ethnicities. At its heart, Sincerely Nude hopes to ‘break stereotypes one shade at a type’ by raising the awareness and accessibility of a more inclusive industry.

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HAPPY SUNDAY ✨ Thank you for tagging us in your @sincerelynude pieces. LOVE TO SEE IT. ☺️ SWIPE to see our amazing customers wearing their favourite shades. Tag us for a chance to be featured #sincerelynude #sincerelynude #snbabes #customers #nudeinallshades #becauseeveryshadematters

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Vitae London

Vitae London incorporates ‘minimalist watch design with maximal social justice’. Working closely with charities throughout Sub-Saharan Africa, each watch purchase provides a child with life-changing educational supplies. Their classic designs come in a range of metal colours and materials to create a bespoke timepiece. 

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His & Hers 😍 . . . . Click the link in the bio . . . . Visit: . . . . #VitaeLondon #LiveWithoutLimits #FlashSale #Sale #watches #watch #mensfashion #menswatches #buyblack #supportblackownedbusiness #l4l #blackbusiness #blackownedbusinessesmatter #BlackOwnedBusiness #menstyle #mensstyle #mensstyles #fashionwatch #fashionwatches #watchshot

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Andrea Iyamah

Andrea Iyamah is a clothing line ‘inspired by nature, inspired by colour, ethnic cultures, nature and design elements that stay true to creating authentic clothing’. Started by Nigerian designer Dumebi Iyamah at the age of 17, it hopes to modernise and embrace traditional African cuts and colours to create unique garments that make a statement.

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An ideal situation is one in a full A.I look! ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Featuring A.I:⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ YARA swimsuit ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Colten Robe⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Cilla Pants ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ #andreaiyamah

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Nalé’s designers are inspired by different aspects of travel, culture or the simplistic beauties of everyday living. This luxury womenswear brand is characterised by its appreciation of diversity, allowing consumers to learn about cultures all over the world.

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NALÈ Nudity collection showing Fela Pants and The Polo Dress #naleapparel #thenalegirl #fashion #style #losangeles

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Nubian Skin

Nubian Skin provides lingerie, hosiery and swimwear that aims to cater for consumers of all skin tones. Their founder Ade Hassan, MBE wanted to redefine the industry’s narrow representation of ‘nude’ undergarments, which seemed to disregard a significant proportion of the market – most notably women of colour.

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EVERY shade is BEAUTIFUL!⁣ Period!✨⁣ ⁣ #skintones #black #shadesofbrown #nudetones #nudetights #inclusivefashion #brownskin

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Edgy streetwear in bold patterns and prints are at the core of Phlemuns. For those who want to elevate their everyday pieces and invest in stand-out sweats, their collections will not fail to make a statement.

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🦠our #PHLEMUNS quarantine drop is now live on the webstore @ 🦹🏽‍♂️😷⠀ ⠀ shot & styled & modeled + layout by me @unclephlem

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Sacha Cosmetics

Starting in Trinidad and Tobago in 1979, Sacha Cosmetics values the ethnic diversity of their consumers. They aim to formulate high-quality products for all individuals, regardless of race. Something all beauty brands should aim to do too.

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Everything in excess is bad, except for #LipShine, #LipVelvets, #Lipsicks and #LipPencils. 😉 #SachaCosmetics #StaySafe

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Tihara Smith

Blending contemporary and traditional techniques, Tihara Smith is a recent graduate who creates fun and fresh fashion accessories. Inspired by her Caribbean heritage and London upbringing, Tihara creates unique pieces that allow her customers to carry a piece of the Caribbean with them.

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Raffia & Faux Fur Banana Handle Bag 🌺✨⁠ ⁠ Makes a great statement accessory but also looks good displayed on your living room or bedroom shelf! ⁠ ⁠ #fashion #handmadebag #raffia #designermaker #independentdesigner #handembroidery #embroidery #woodenhandle #lasercut #orange #fauxfur #pink #banana #design #etsyseller #makers #heytheremaker #madeinlondon #buydifferently #slowfashion #handmadeaccessories #accessories #slowfashion

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Brother Vellies

Aurora James founded this luxury accessory company in 2013 to help maintain traditional African designs and techniques. Each piece is inspired by an aspect of different cultures worldwide, ensuring a range of heritage styles are kept alive within the fashion industry. Using traditional practices in the production process, Brother Vellies ensures artisanal jobs are sustained and the manual craftsmanship involved is still acknowledged.

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Tyla Sandals • Summertime fine 🤎🦢

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With an array of luxury ready-to-wear and bridal women’s wear, Cushnie has something to offer the modern woman for every occasion. Designer Carly Cushnie creates timeless, minimalistic pieces with a fine attention to detail, all of which encourage women to feel both elegant and powerful.

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Discover the date-night dress of your dream. ⁠⠀ ⁠⠀ #CUSHNIE

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Described as “a contemporary Ready-to-Wear apparel line for Women Without Limits”, Hanifa designs each of its garments with women of all shapes and sizes in mind. Ruffles, ruching, pleats and puffy sleeves best describe the brand’s aesthetic which collectively form figure-flattering, femeine and elegant pieces that undoubtedly suit every type of body.  

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Firm yet flexible. Fun but structured. The Zaire was inspired by the traditional African seamstress who uses various detailing techniques. The wide leg design resembles the long tradition of hard work for the Congolese woman. With a flirty peplum hem, Our Zaire denim set leaves you feeling empowered and poised. #PinkLabelCongo🇨🇩

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In recognition of the nude-shoe market’s poor diversity, Kahmune was formed. The luxury footwear is constructed from sourced, premium Italian leather, making their shoes a life-long investment. Each piece is available in 10 shades which are inspired by the global ethnic diversity, allowing every customer to find their staple nude shoe.  

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Looking for the perfect fit? Our buttery soft Nappa leather will mold to your foot after a few wears.

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Mateo New York

Mateo New York is a fine jewellery designer founded by self-taught Matthew Harris who was born and raised in Montenegro Bay, Jamaica. Describing their collections as having an ‘aesthetic of simplicity and minimalism’, their collections are designed with modern women and art in mind. With the delicate use of diamonds, pearls and precious stones each piece conveys a sense of natural elegance.

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🌸 🌸🌸🌸🌸

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Rebecca Tembo

Specialising in ready-to-wear and bespoke jumpsuits, Rebecca Tembo ensures each client has a personalised, luxury shopping experience. All pieces are made one at a time using sustainable methods. She also founded The Entry, a course which aims to help aspiring start-up designers to build their brand and develop entrepreneurial skills.

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We can’t wait for lockdown to be over, so we can see our RT jumpsuits on all our RT Ladies ✨

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Established in 2005 by Telfar Clemens, an undergraduate student born to Liberian parents in New York, Telfar is a pioneer of unisex fashion. Driven by its core value of inclusivity, the fashion brand is known to promote contemporary garments in ways that stand against the fashion industry’s historical discrimination and misrepresentation of non-white ethnicites.

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🚧 LARGE BAGS in stock 🚧POOL BLUE, YELLOW, RED, CREAM, + PINK!SHOP.TELFAR.NET[linkinbio] 🖤 @hallecherry @brandonnst.regis

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The Folklore

The Folklore is an online concept store that sells a limited selection of pieces from African designers in order to promote their work and improve their financial success. Their curated collections represent ‘the diversity of Africa’s contemporary urban landscapes and design aesthetic’ and allow people online access to the African fashion industry that previously relied primarily on remote, local selling. If you’re after a one-of-a-kind piece, this is the place to look. 

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The Willow Top by New York-based ready-to-wear brand Elle Est… (@elleest_) is a versatile piece for the contemporary woman. The Willow Top is made out of 100% soft #linen fabric and was inspired by the shape of weeping willow trees. It features detachable sleeves providing an option for long sleeve or sleeveless wear, a high neckline with a slight center cut, and an invisible center zip in the front. Shop the Willow Top in Black or White and more from #ElleEst online now at #TheFolklore. #OurFolklore #EmergingDesigner

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What are your favourite Black-owned businesses? Comment below or tweet us @fashionispsychology

Shakaila Forbes-Bell

Author Shakaila Forbes-Bell

Shakaila Forbes-Bell is a Fashion Psychologist and writer who has been featured in Marie Claire UK, i-D, Who What Wear, All Walks Beyond the Catwalk, Fashion Bomb Daily, The Voice Newspaper, Gal-Dem, Black Matters US and more.

More posts by Shakaila Forbes-Bell

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