In honour of #BlackHistoryMonth, I wanted to highlight ten black-owned fashion brands I can't get enough of 🤩
From their unique designs to their commitment to a more ethical and sustainable fashion future, it's my pleasure to tell you more about each of these brands in this post.
Supporting black-owned Canadian businesses who focus on sustainability is important to me and my goal is to use my platform to bring some of these great brands to your attention. Change can only begin with us, collectively coming together to demand the industry move towards a more sustainable future. Join me in supporting these brands and considering who you make your clothing purchases from in the future.
BATIK BOUTIK | Ottawa, Ontario
BATIK BOUTIK is a brand that aims to showcase the incredible talent of artisans from Africa through fashion, accessories and decor. They're a socially responsible line that provides you with clothing and accessories, inspired by the bold and vibrant designs that are unique to the eclectic culture of West Africa. A line for both males and females, contemporary design meets traditional African flair to create a collection of individualistic pieces like no other; After all, BATIK BOUTIK embraces the philosophy of expressing yourself as alternative, independent and an individual in a world of social norms.
They seek to change narratives and emphasizes value on the continent by working closely with artisans to create an ecosystem of global fashion that appeals to the West. With ethical trading and sustainability at their core, they see fair trade as a given in the world of commerce and dream of the day that ethical fashion is just a norm.
Their mission statement and wild patterned designs are what make BB one of my favourites. I have my eyes on one of their matching sets for the summer. You can learn more about the brand and shop here!
Bôhten Eyewear | Toronto, Ontario
Bôhten makes and sells lightweight eyeglasses made of reclaimed redwood, zebrawood and bamboo harvested in Ghana and reclaimed acetate. They're designed in Canada, hand-crafted in a zero-waste facility and manufactured in Japan and China. Owner Nana Osei is on a mission—he wants to create fair-wage jobs in his family’s native Ghana by combining his passions for fashion and sustainability. Check out their incredible eyewear and learn more about this brand here.
Brimz | Toronto, Ontario
A Toronto staple for the past two decades, Brimz ships internationally to a loyal clientele — founder Dameion Royes has made hats for Lauryn Hill, Carmelo Anthony, and Kardinal Offishall, to name a few. The company supports at-risk youth with Royes’ work in the community, and acts as an incubator for several small Black-owned brands.
Did we mention the hats are stylish and well-crafted? They’re a must-have for anyone in search of the perfect snapback, toque, or fedora, or beret. Check out this brand and their sweet hats here.
House of Hayla | Toronto, Ontario
Drawing inspiration from the best selection of vibrant Pantone colour palettes, the House of Hayla monochromatic collection combines the perfect mix of Peta Approved vegan synthetics sourced in a single tone to create a unified look that will compliment any outfit. From top to bottom, HOH footwear is a complete devotion to tone - a total submersion of colour. They are 100% committed to never using leather or any other animal-based materials in their products…ever.
And friends... did I mention these shoes are affordable? You would think with the commitment to the environment there would be a higher price tag but these are in line with what Aldo and Naturalizer sell their shoes for and they're both fast fashion brands. Choosing sustainably doesn't always mean a higher price tag. You can swoon over more of their shoes here.
israella KOBLA | Toronto, Ontario
israella KOBLA was created for the confident woman with a distinct sense of style. She stands out, effortlessly. Inspiration for the Toronto based brand comes from a juxtaposition of the designer’s interests; fashion and a past life as a civil engineer. The pieces highlight an appreciation for architecture and timeless design.
Launched in 2019 by Emefa Kuadey, the luxury made-to-order clothing and accessories brand redefines minimalism through structure and bold femininity. iK is committed to an ethical and sustainable fashion model by minimizing the impact of manufacturing through good pattern design and cutting techniques, operating on a made-to-order basis to eliminate overproduction and subsequent wastage, and contracting local service providers in order to reduce the impact from transportation. Learn more about this beautiful brand and their one of a kind clothing here.
Kaela Kay | Toronto, Ontario
Kaela Kay designs modern, eclectic, classy and sexy pieces with flare for women. Produced in Toronto by local seamstresses with a focus on her Ghanaian roots, Catherine, the mind behind the brand, emphasizes the beauty in the prints and colors that come from and represent Africa through the Ankara textiles. Her designs are feminine, classic and classy, and she wants all women to identify their personal style in their fabulous size. For this reason Kaela Kay stocks up to size US22 and will custom design for any fabulous size.
Catherine works closely with the seamstresses to create well-made and well-fitting styles. These wonderful women are self-regulated, creative and hard working women who are dedicated to the brand and to their craft. By working with Kaela Kay, these women are able to cultivate the artistic and work-life balanced lives that they desire. Fall even more in love with the brand here.
Love & Nudes | Toronto, Ontario
Chantal Carter is the amazing woman behind the brand Love and Nudes, a no-wire undergarment brand that was on the scene long before Knix. After spending years in the fashion industry, Chantal was motivated to create a line of intimates for women of all colours.
“I want women of colour to explore and wear fashion anyway we choose to. Whether we want our undergarments to be discreet under sheer, lace and white clothing, or if we want to rock it out as an accessory to an outfit, the choice should be ours!” — Chantal
The brand is not simply about underwear, but rather a means to create a global community designed to connect and share one another's individuality. Love & Nudes works with conscious women in Colombia who empower their communities by providing fair wages and working with factories that employ single mothers, giving them a chance to support their families in just working conditions. Check out their beautiful collection here.
Msichana Inc. | Edmonton, Alberta
Msichana uses fashion as a channel to promote diversity and build self-sustaining communities. In our solidarity, women are the core of Msichana.
Our clothing is a statement of our unity in diversity; a reflection of our dynamism, creativity and spirit. We are building bridges across the globe and promoting an appreciation for the differences that make this a beautiful world. check out their stunning one-of-a-kind designs here.
Omi Woods | Toronto, Ontario
Omi Woods jewelry are contemporary heirlooms that celebrates their connections to Africa. Their jewelry is individually and ethically handmade with fair trade African gold and globally sourced conflict-free fine metals. Their jewelry is intended to be worn everyday, gifted for special occasions and passed down to future generations so its meaning can live on for generations to come. They believe in paying people fairly for their resources, time and labour.
Omi's solid gold jewelry is now made with fair trade African gold and is sourced from small-scale artisanal mines that support the well-being of miners and their communities by paying miners a fair wage and contributing to improved health care, education, safety and living conditions on the continent. Learn more about this mission and browse their beautiful jewels here.
Selfish Swimwear | Montréal, Québec
SELFISH swimwear is an ethical and responsible swimwear brand that advocates body positivity. Handmade in their Montreal studio, each piece is made with care, love, recycled fibres and fabric to create sustainable and quality swimsuits that are comfortable and timeless. They offer a one year warranty on all the stitches after date of purchase.
Designer and founder of SELFISH swimwear, Naomie Caron always thought there was a better way of doing fashion. Repulsed by the fast fashion industry that profit from the exploitation of the environment and workforce, Naomie felt that she needed to be part of the solution. Torn between the overconsumption of the fashion industry and the vocation for social justice, she decided to keep that passion close to her heart by making things differently. Check out these stunning suits here. I think this year I may just like wearing a bathing suit thanks to them!
Visit Black Designers Canada for a more comprehensive list of Canadian Black Designers.
Check out Keep Up With Kingston's Black Owned Business Directory for a look at businesses local to Kingston.
These brands and more can be found in the ClosettCandyy Canadian Ethical Clothing Guide.