Black Founders Creating Coveted Pieces & Sustainable Artisan Jobs

Registering to vote, getting involved in your local government, and using your voice to speak up against racial injustice are essential to modern times. But everyday decisions, like the brands and businesses you choose to support can also make a big difference. 

Below are a few black-owned businesses that you can support when shopping for home goods and accessories. Aside from making beautiful things, each one of these businesses operate with the highest standard of ethics, employ true artisans, and sell consciously created items that are made to be cherished. 

Brother Vellies

In 2013, fashion industry veteran Aurora James set out to keep traditional African design practices and techniques alive while also creating and sustaining artisanal jobs.

The result? Some of the most coveted accessories that will take your wardrobe to the next level.

Think: an impossibly chic whiskey-embossed leather belt, a mini handbag made with patchwork shearling and emblazoned with a Yin Yang symbol, and a collection of luxury boots that will make all your seventies fantasies come to life. 

Bole Road Textiles

If bold, thoughtfully designed, artisan homewares are your thing, then you’ll fall head over heals for Bole Road Textiles. Designed in Brooklyn and handwoven in Ethiopia, Bolé Road’s collection of rugs, table linens,  bath towels, pillows, and curtains have a decidedly modern and global aesthetic.

Founder Hana Getachew grew up surrounded by traditional Ethiopian textiles and left a major career with a New York City architecture firm to merge her love for handwoven textiles and interior design. Clients of the design firm can now create bright bold spaces in their homes while supporting artisans in Ethiopia.

Our editor picks include: a set of coordinated pillows featuring different patterns, shapes, and colors; a centerpiece rug that was inspired by the Ethiopian City of Harar; and handcrafted leather coasters in eye-popping cerulean blue. 

a.a.k.s.

Founded by Ghaninan native, Akosua Afriyie-Kumi, a.a.k.s makes eye-popping handbags worthy of the chicest pared back outfit. With an emphasis on quality and craftsmanship it comes as no surprise that each bag that bears the a.a.k.s. label takes a week to make. Starting with ecologically harvested raffia and finishing with leather, the Ghanian women who weave these bags are true artisans, and each a.a.k.s. collection is a reflection of Akosua’s fashion industry savvy. 

But if a handcrafted handbag isn’t enough to woo you, check out their Weaving For Change initiative, which aims to create fair and dignified work for refugee artisans in Burkina Faso. The current collection of lampshades is sure to inspire. Our pick? The Ihaya lamp, in their own words the Ihaya is “a planetary pendant light inspired by the symbolic projection of the Tuareg life through the Sahara suggesting boundless boundaries”. 

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