Deciding what to put on your shopping list requires more deliberation than we all care to admit. We all have been there, spending gratuitous amounts of time searching for the best fall staples and the new trends worth our time. It's an arduous process, but no matter what else is on my wish list for the season or how much time I've spent scouring the internet, I find that I always end up buying things from smaller brands, especially Black-owned brands.
You could call it bias, but it all comes down to wanting to own unique pieces and support brands doing something special. There's something magical about sparking up a conversation with a stranger because they're carrying a bag from a Black-owned brand or being able to watch a Black creative's work finally gain the recognition it deserves across the industry. These feelings, for me, are worth any price tag and keep me committed to shopping and donning Black designers' work. It's not a once-a-year thing (though, it is Black Business Month)—it's a 365-days-a-year type of thing. I get that not everyone is there yet, and sometimes, you just need to invest in a few great pieces to get you started.
So in that vein, I've rounded up 48 fabulous fashion finds from Black-owned and founded brands at every price point. Warning: This may make your wish list way longer.
Just because you're deciding to buy from a Black-owned brand doesn't mean you can't still get that "viral" moment. Take Tia Adeola for example. This New York–based designer uses her extensive knowledge of art history to create one-of-a-kind ready-to-wear pieces that should be posted on the 'gram.
Mark my words. The next It bag is bound to come from Homage Year. The brand was founded by Antoine Manning in 2014, and this Atlanta-based Jamaican American designer's handbags have slowly gained notoriety for their unique architectural shape and homage to the Black experience.
If you're searching for unique sunglasses, consider your hunt over thanks to Coco and Breezy Eyewear. This eyewear brand was founded by twin design duo Corianna and Brianna Dotson in 2009 and has become the place to find fun sunnies.
We still have a few more weekends to sneak off to take a dip potentially, so why not buy a swimsuit from Melissa Simone? With bold designs, it's no wonder that it's quickly garnered a celeb fan base (including Bella Hadid) and is the ideal place to buy a suit before the end of summer.
So many noteworthy Black jewelry designers are self-taught, including Chari Cuthbert of ByChari. While the brand's roots started humbly, it's become a brand beloved by A-listers (including Michelle Obama) and is a reminder of the ingenuity of our community.
Real talk, there's not a day that goes by where there isn't an announcement of a new celebrity-founded line. That's the time we're living in. But Ciara's (yes, that one) new collection isn't another passé line. With chic staples, this is an ideal place to buy a few pieces to level up your fall wardrobe.
We create a different way, and that's so clear when looking at the work of Nigerian American designer Kingsley Gbadegesin. After cutting his teeth at Versace, Celine, and Loewe, he launched his label in 2020 to cater to the Black and LGBTQ+ community through unisex staples.
There are so many things you may know about the brand Good American—e.g., that it's a size-inclusive denim brand and features Khloé Kardashian in campaigns. But you might not know that it's actually Black owned and was co-founded by Emma Grede.
Sneakers are an integral part of Black culture, but most brands aren't owned by our community. That's not the case with Løci. This sneaker brand is not only Black-founded and owned, but it also champions sustainable materials for each pair of sneakers, making it a must-shop brand.
There are many African American fashion designers who are changing the way we define what "American" fashion is—Sergio Hudson happens to be one of them. Through vibrant and impeccably tailored pieces, the South Carolina–born designer has been able to catch the attention of icons like Beyoncé, and he's painted a brighter future for the industry at large.
If you can tell, I'm a sucker for great jewelry, especially when it's coming from a self-funded sustainable brand. We Dream in Colour was founded in 2002 and has built a following with unique pieces that breathe life into the phrase "wearable art."
For those who love traveling as much as they love fashion, there's no better brand to shop for than Fe Noel. Founded by Brooklyn-based designer Felisha Noel in 2011, the brand's contemporary Caribbean-inspired resortwear is ideal for wearing on that next trip.
There are so many incredible unisex brands to know right now, and No Sesso is one of them. Co-founded by Autumn Randolph and Arin Hayes in 2014, the brand has become known for its use of deconstruction on everything from denim to knitwear to challenge how we relate to our bodies and the gender binary at large.
The easiest way to feel like you're traveling (even if you're not) is by supporting Black designers who pay homage to the diaspora. Luxury accessory label Brother Vellies taps a network of artisans across Africa to create pieces that can transport you to a new realm sans plane ticket.
Worth Investing In
It's no secret that the fine jewelry space has a long-standing history of being homogenous, but Mateo is changing that. Matthew Harris founded the brand in 2009, and the self-taught designer has made history continuously and has redefined how we view fine jewelry itself.
If you haven't bought a LaQuan Smith piece yet, consider this your public service announcement to get on it. This New York–based designer has taken the industry by storm with his sultry designs, and he's only going to get buzzier from here on out.
Sometimes, quitting your job to pursue your passion is the move—or at least it was for Keya Martin. The footwear designer founded her luxury label, Keeyahri, in 2018 and quickly caught the attention of the fashion set for her architecture-inspired pieces. With each pair of shoes, you can see the passion, which makes them all the more tempting to purchase.
If you gravitate toward menswear-inspired pieces, then you'll want to invest in at least one piece from Wales Bonner. Grace Wales Bonner founded the namesake label in 2014 and has been dubbed one of fashion's best newcomers for the brand's unique take on tailoring.
Maximalists, please meet your new favorite brand. Once you know about Autumn Adeigbo, it's easy to spot it because it's known for its vibrantly printed pieces. Anyone who loves to stand out from the crowd will surely do so in anything made by Autumn Adeigbo.
As a shoe fanatic, I'm always falling in love with new brands, but possibly one of my best discoveries was Kendall Miles. The luxury label was founded by Kendall Reynolds back in 2015 and creates footwear that will make your heart skip a beat. I know mine did.
If you take nothing else from this article, please do not take the following statement lightly: You must keep your eyes on Hanifa. Founded by Anifa Mvuemba in 2012, the brand took some time to gain the industry's full attention, but it's become one of the most buzzed-about brands and has even secured the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund grant. It's safe to say this brand will only continue to dominate the spotlight, so shopping it now is the move.
Luxury has not always been synonymous with Africa, but Wilglory Tanjong aims to change that. The Cameroonian designer founded her luxury accessories label, Anima Iris, in 2020, hoping to show how various countries, cities, and cultures across the continent will change how we view fashion in the next few years. Each handbag is handcrafted in Dakar, Senegal, and draws inspiration from across the diaspora.
You don't have to be Cinderella to have your moment. You just need to invest in a pair of Nalebe shoes. Founded by Amina Means, this luxury label is produced in Milan and draws inspiration from across the globe to create fun footwear. But what truly makes this brand worth investing in is that each pair is test-driven to ensure ultimate comfort so you can have your sparkly princess moment without having them fall off at midnight.
Over the past few years, an array of Black-owned brands have taken the fashion industry by storm, but none have done it quite like Christopher John Rogers. This Baton Rouge–born designer has managed to secure an A-list fan base and a CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund grant all in a matter of six years. If that's not enough to impress you, then I implore you to spend some time with his colorful frocks, I can assure you that they will stir up all your feelings (in a good way).
Buying handbags can be a finicky process, as deciding what you want to invest in requires some serious introspection. But if you're anything like me, you may want to support a rising brand, and Ciriaco is the perfect candidate for just that. Founded by Ashley Ciriaco in 2021, the small label creates sculptural '90s- and '00s-inspired handbags that stand out in the sea of options.
The best thing about supporting smaller brands is that you can find more eclectic pieces—like this satin shirtdress from Sammy B. This Black-owned brand was founded by Samantha Black, and the ready-to-wear collections always channel the designer's Jamaican roots. The result is pieces that truly do feel one of a kind.
Last but certainly not least, a brand at the top of my wish list is Sunni Sunni. Founded by self-taught designer Taylor "Sunni" Dixon in 2020, this label has quickly become an It brand for its unique footwear. Its collection, much like all of the other designers' work in this story, is a reminder that supporting Black-owned brands is a year-round thing—it requires you almost "walk" out of your way to discover new brands. But once you do, you're able to find something that makes that search all the more worthwhile.