February 1st marked the beginning of Black History Month.
And this is the perfect time to celebrate black creatives in our community (anytime is a good time to do this, really). Below are a few indie brands that are black-owned and are worth looking into next time you decide to go shopping:
1) Miss EmpowHer - @missempowher
Miss EmpowHer was founded by Caitlyn Kumi, a University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Alumni. The brand's mission is to empower women of all shapes, sizes, and ethnicities, and this message alone should make everyone check them out.
“Miss EmpowHer envisions a world were women of all shades and shapes feel sexy, confident, and empowered,” Kumi writes. “We hope to bring the world one step closer to our vision by celebrating confidence, body positivity, and inclusivity.”
Her shop mainly consists of an item called “waist beads.” They come in multiple colors such as white, red, gold, purple, and pink.
These waist beads are inspired by a traditional Ghanian piece that is also popular in Nigeria and throughout parts of Africa. In African tradition, they represent womanhood, fertility, female sexuality, healing, and spirituality.
Just imagine: you have your bikini and sunglasses on, walking along the coast, wearing these beads. A MAJOR LOOK. And the deeper meaning behind the item makes it even more special.
2) House of Zell - @houseofzell
House of Zell is located in Charlotte, North Carolina (formally Greensboro, North Carolina). The creator, Jessica Perry, produces items that she designs, cuts, and sews herself.
“House of Zell is literally inspired by the woman that I am and the woman I am evolving into. [The brand] represents elegance, fluidity, and class,” Perry writes. “[Our] purpose is to make clothing for every woman...the goal is to make all women feel like she is the best dressed in the room...I want to continue to build and sustain a custom luxury and ready to wear brand that caters to women and grows into a fashion powerhouse [and] collaborative space.”
These one-of-a-kind pieces definitely have me thinking my closet needs a revamp, ASAP (also, imagine that satin robe against your bare skin; it's a whole vibe).
3) The Trenches - @thetrenchessport
This Atlanta-based brand was founded by Rashod Stanley, a young man who went viral after holding a fashion show while in prison. Stanley may be incarcerated, but that didn’t stop him from following his dreams of owning his own clothing line.
“The Trenches is a versatile platform that was all about the individual lifestyle coming up in the trenches,” writes Stanley’s mother, Renita Mitchell. “It isn’t just a clothing line, but mediums for any average person to finally take the steppingstone to be the person they ultimately strive to be.”
Mitchell currently runs the brand’s Instagram. She said that Stanley’s goal is to inspire at-risk kids and to hopefully one day open a nonprofit organization that targets low-income communities in Atlanta.
A GoFundMe has been created by Renita Mitchell to help The Trenches grow while Rashod is in prison.
4) LoveOhLou - @loveohlou
LoveOhLou is a Maryland-based lifestyle brand founded by Fisayo Quardi. The store sells limited-edition pieces that are handmade by Quardi.
Her items are unique and, like, literal works of art. Just see for yourself.
That blouse looks like something straight out of a Regency Era romcom, and I'm here for it (I'm looking at you, Bridgerton).
I don't know about you, but I think I'd actually enjoy getting dressed for 8 a.m. classes if I knew these pieces were in my closet right now.
5) Da Spot NYC - @daspotnyc
Da Spot NYC isn’t really its own brand; it’s a boutique that showcases items from smaller designers in Brooklyn, New York City.
The boutique was established in 2017 and currently houses over 25 brands on their website and in their store. Some of these brands include C.A.N.V.A.S., Askan NYC, and BKLYN-ish.
(Ok, I couldn't help but showcase the pin. It's just too good.)
Da Spot is also known for hosting events like creative workshops, live performances, and art shows for the black community to take part in.
“This is more than a boutique,” Da Spot NYC writes. “It is a platform for creativity.”
So, what are you waiting for? Of course, there's more than just the one's I have come across. Always keep a lookout, and never stop supporting black-owned businesses even after February is over!