The Civil Guide to Black-Owned Beauty & Fashion Brands
It’s officially Black History Month (BHM), a time designated for celebrating, retelling and promoting the stories of black excellence across generations. While we can all agree that the energy needs to be kept 365 days a year, what better way to start than by investing our black dollars with our black creatives and brands?
This Black History Month Guide to Black-Owned Beauty and Fashion Brands is a shortlist of 20 fashion brands and 10 beauty brands to watch (and financially back) in 2021, and beyond, that won’t break the bank. Get into it, #Civilians!
The best way to describe NL the Label is probably the intersection of graceful femininity and pure seduction. The LA-based fashion house is designed for the modern woman living a luxurious lifestyle. Sound familiar? When it comes to NL the Label and designer Nichole Lynel, it’s all about a dramatic flair and extravagant twist to what would otherwise be traditional clothing. An embroidered kimono set, a delicate lace, satin slip dress, and a wide-leg power suit are just a few examples of the elevated styles that await the NL girl.
Celebs Who Love: Lauren London
Tier NYC is more than just a streetwear brand, it’s a celebration of art, design, and street-style itself. Founded by three friends in 2014, the NYC-brand runs with the motto, ART NEVER DIES. You can check out their latest release, Project 3: Joy to the World, a collaboration with local artist Pierre, or PStudios. Check out the new project, as well as their pastel-colored sweat set collection, on their site.
Celebs Who Love: Carmelo Anthony, Jimmy Butler, and Rick Ross.
Named after it’s Nigerian-born designer and creator, Muehleder’s unique signature is primarily sculpted garments made of Neoprene. Neoprene is a thick and breathable fabric, typically used in scuba gear. Muehleder has taken an extra step into black excellence, designing Neoprene Bounce and Neoprene Spacer, two qualities of Neoprene that allow for a thick and lightweight feel for flared pieces, and a thin, smooth and stretchy fabric for curve-hugging styles like body con mini dresses.
Celebs Who Love: Issa Rae, Cardi B, Ashley Tisdale, Normani, Zendaya
Two years after launching her online store in 2015, Jessica Rich released her first line of shoes, Transparent by Jessica Rich. The collection of clear stilettos included mules, sandals, pumps, and slides all made of clear PVC panels. Standout accents included metallic golds, silvers and snakeskin trimmings. The brand has expanded to include the Mule Collection and the Rich Collection, which features satin and mesh styles, and a unique rectangular base, anchoring a 4” heel. Jessica Rich has now taken over the former Guiseppe store and has recently taken up a storefront in the Beverly Center.
Celebs Who Love: Kylie Jenner, Kim Kardashian, Kourtney Kardashian, Jennifer Lopez, Cardi B, Joan Smalls, Saweetie, Lala Anthony, Normani and Toni Braxton
The unisex fashion label, Telfar Global, has housed a range of apparel styles for over a decade, but became most notable for it’s tote bags. The Telfar Shopping Bag comes in 3 sizes, Small, Medium and Large, and sells out in minutes. The monogramed totes have even been dubbed “The Bushwick Birkin,” often requiring pre-order sign-up (when available) or website stalking. To snag yours, #Civilians, be sure to sign up for their mailing list.
Celebs Who Love: Solange Knowles, Dua Lipa, A$AP Ferg
Hanifa is no stranger to the closets of some of your favorite celebs, nor is it new to the fashion girls. Designer and owner, Anifa Mvuemba, made headlines last year for debuting her line during fashion week, via a virtual 3D fashion show on Instagram Live. The garments sashayed down a runway a la invisible, full-bodied models. It was glorious. Hanifa weaves culture and tradition into intricate and elaborate designs like accordion dresses, floor-length knit cardigan dresses and color-blocked patterns.
Celebs Who Love: Sarah Jessica Parker, Jennifer Hudson, Kylie Jennifer, Lizzo
Andrea Iyamah is a clothing brand specializing in swimwear and resort wear, infused with cultural influences from various African countries. Their designs often feature bright and vibrant colors, unique cuts and a nod to vintage silhouettes and trends. The most recent collection is an explosion of color, mainly featuring rich hues of blue, yellow and pink, perfectly placed accents and uber-flattering shapes, almost begging you to take that baecation you’ve been planning all year.
Celebs Who Love: Gabrielle Union, Ciara, Kate Hudson, Issa Rae
Another designer with an elevated streetwear aesthetic is GSuwoo. GSuWoo specializes in body contouring jumpsuits, monochromatic two-piece sets and blinged out sneakers, amongst other things. GSuwoo is definitely for the trendsetting, flight-hopping, leisure-loving #Civilians who want to stay cute and comfy this month!
Celebs Who Love: Jayda Cheaves, Dream Doll, Mulatto, Ari Fletcher, Alexis Skyy
Oyemwen is a custom clothing designer specializing in ethereal pieces that are perfect for the special occasions and celebratory moments in your life. The brand is known mostly for it’s tulle robes, dresses and sets, but is well-stocked with luxurious pieces for every occasion, including luxe leisure and a Mommy-and-Me Collection. Whether it’s for a maternity or bridal shoot, or a holiday party, if you’re looking to bring the drama, in a #Civil way of course, Oyemwen’s got you covered.
Celebs Who Love: Claire Sulmers
This one’s for the denim lover in you. Brooklyn-based fashion brand Broken Land Co. produces quality pieces made of denim fabrics, often in various washes, sewn together. The handmade pieces are of traditional mediums like trench coats, bomber jackets and pleated skirts, as well as structured silhouettes like corset tops. While the shapes and styles are familiar, the use of denim is anything but. It is unexpected, a new form of high-end and non-traditional. It is Brooklyn.
Celebs Who Love: Lady London
There’s no better way to celebrate Black History Month in 2021, than with Brandon Blackwood’s End Systemic Racism (ESR) tote. If you haven’t gotten your hands on the iconic accessory yet, you’ll have one last chance to snag it in April, before it’s discontinued. Brandon Blackwood’s collections are filled with classic styles, fun prints, bright colors and ethically-sourced materials.
Celebs Who Love: Lupita Nyongo, Yandy Smith
Fe Noel is a favorite of many, even landing on Beyonce’s Black Parade website, getting the stamp of approval from the Queen herself. Inspired by the founder’s Caribbean heritage, Fe Noel’s collections are primarily comprised of vibrant, bright-colored luxurious fabrics in resort-wear styles, many of which feature tropical or cultural patterns or prints. A bit on the pricier side, Fe Noel is definitely a worthwhile investment for the luxurious traveler in you.
Celebs Who Love: Tessa Thompson, Kelly Rowland, Katy Perry, Gabrielle Union
If you are just learning about Pyer Moss, we forgive you… or at least that’s what’s printed on the brand’s signature-collared boxy tee. Pyer Moss easily became fashion’s “it-brand” to watch after dominating NYFW SS19 with a runway show that was, essentially, a celebration of blackness. Rooted in social justice and activism, Pyer Moss has a range of wearable and culturally cognizant pieces, from staples to statements. The brand is now on their 3rd collaborative collection with Reebok, which ranges from $80 to $250, available now.
Celebs Who Love: Vice President Kamala Harris, Zendaya, Issa Rae, Tracee Ellis-Ross, Lil Nas X, Jhene Aiko, Summer Walker, Lala Anthony and more.
Rihanna told us long ago that she was a savage, and when it comes to the lingerie game, she’s Queen Savage. And we stan a considerate queen who thinks of everyone. Savage X Fenty is affordable and inclusive, with sizes ranging from XS to 3X. If you sign up for the Xtra VIP Membership, you can shop or skip the month, to avoid being charged $49.99 automatically, or bank credits to use on future purchases. You also save 25% on all purchases with the membership. In addition to super sexy styles for the ladies, Rihanna recently released a Men’s capsule collection of underwear and sleepwear, complete with satin smoking jackets and boxer briefs. With a networth of $1 billion, it’s safe to say Savage X Fenty is here to stay.
Celebs Who Love: Megan Thee Stallion, Jackie Aina, Miguel, Rihanna (of course), Cara Delevingne, Bella Hadid, Normani, Lizzo, Demi Moore and, well, everyone.
Trinidadian-raised designer Jade Gedeon had a promising career in art illustration before trading in her pencils for pendants. Her company, We Dream in Colour, creates and-crafted jewelry pieces with an “antique flair,” inspired by nature and often featuring whimsical depictions of wildlife and plants. As eccentric as the designs may sound, the pieces are easily wearable in everyday life, or as occasion-wear.
Celebs Who Love: Zendaya, Jennifer Hudson, Katy Perry
Keeyahri’s mission is “to empower women to strut into their fearlessness.” The footwear brand is known for it’s iconic spiral-wrapped block heel, inspired by Hiroshi’s Nakamura & NAP architects “Ribbon Chapel” in Japan. Keeyahri recently released a collaboration with Zerina Akers, the costume designer and wardrobe stylist responsible for many of Beyoncé’s internet-breaking looks. The thigh-high leather boot, “Zerina,” is defined by glossy, genuine leather, an open split behind the thigh and, of course, the signature ribbon swirl heel in a metallic silver. Keeyahri founder Keya Martin was recently chosen as one of Essence Magazine’s honorees for Accessories Designer of the Year.
Glam-Aholic Lifestyle is an accessories brand providing luxury at an affordable price, started by Detroit-native and retired fashion blogger, Mia Ray. The line consists of travel and lifestyle accessories like cosmetic bags, wallets, travel accessories and journals, as well as the ever-popular Glam Tote and exclusive monogrammedTravel Like a G Travel Set. They come in metallic pinks, golds, silvers and even a matte black, because how is luxurious luggage not a thing? In addition to going viral on social media and local news for selling out in minutes during Black Friday, Mia Ray inspires everyday boss women by sharing tips on entrepreneurship, budgeting, and even mom-life. Her drops are designed with the customer in mind, announcing release dates ahead of time, and even helping customers create a savings plan for the already-affordable products. We appreciate you, Mia Ray.
While the internet is talking about Hermes, we need to be discussing Marté Egele. Each leather piece that comes out of Marté Egele’s Lagos-based headquarters is handcrafted by local artisans. Every piece, from the silk scarves to the leather travel cases and belt bags, features bright colors, rich textures and interesting geometric shapes. Forget the Birkin, get into Marté Egele’s accessories, ranging from $25 to $200. Now, thats a bag that won’t break the bank!
Celebs Who Love: Beyoncé, Chimamanda Adichie, 6lack
Matte Brand is the definition of minimalism done sexy. With monochromatic collections that typically feature scrappy jumpsuits, matching thongs and “mini mini” skirts, Matte Brand is for those #NotSoCivil fashion risk-takers. Not so daring? Matte Brand’s Frame Collection is a series of body conscious comfortable pieces that still pack a punch in the sexy department.
Sammy B is a standout ready-to-wear line that’s just that…eclectic, eye-catching and neck-breaking designs that happen to be wearable in just about any everyday setting. Sammy B designs are effortless, with rich colors and relaxed fabrics in leisure-like, playful silhouettes. It’s exactly what we mean when we say “look amazing, but not like you tried too hard.”
Celebs Who Love: Nicki Minaj, Beyonce, Issa Rae
If you haven’t seen the viral clip of Kreyol Essence founders Yvecar Momperousse and Stephane Jean-Baptiste on Shark Tank, you’re missing out. The couple went viral for their show of black excellence, expressing their passion for the brand and its purpose, while proving their preparedness with a counter-offer that impressed even the sharks. This beauty brand specializes in natural & ethical beauty products for hair and skin, made in Haiti. The best part? Each purchase helps to alleviate poverty, increase jobs, promote better health, reduce deforestation and much more. Their 100% Natural Haitian Moringa Oil Facial Cleanser and the 100% Natural Haitian Moringa Oil Nourising Face & Hair Oil are favorites, and available in Ulta stores.
Celebs Who Love: Jada Pinkett-Smith, “Shark” Kevin O’Leary
When it comes to bright lipsticks and bold eyeshadows, Juvia’s Place is the brand of choice for so many. Inspired by the richness and royalty of African heritage and history, Juvia’s Place products are designed for maximum pigmentation, at price points you’d typically only find in a drugstore. You can buy directly from their website, or find them in your local Ulta Beauty store. It’s everything you want in a beauty brand- affordable, pigmented and black-owned!
Celebs Who Love: Remy Ma, Juju, Amara la Negra
#Civilians, we know our melanin is everything to us, which is all the more reason why we need to protect it year-round. Black Girl Sunscreen was made for us, by us. You can say goodbye to ashy sunscreens that leave your skin feeling sticky and tight, or create that white-cast makeup look. Black Girl Sunscreen is all about celebrating skin, with face, body and kids’ sunscreens designed to protect and moisturize for everyday use. It’s now available at Target and ulta.com!
I don’t know about you, #Civilians, but I love me some Tracee Ellis-Ross. It’s always amazing seeing images of melanated people in mainstream media, especially when they’re living wholly in their blackness. Tracee Ellis-Ross is one of them. For a long time, Tracee was one of the only actresses on television with natural, curly hair. SHe’s not new to this, she’s true to this… which is why her brand, Pattern Beauty, is definitely one to try this year. It’s products are created for curly, oily and tight-textured hair, and the brand claims to be “black-centered.” It’s definitely on our shopping list this year.
Celebs Who Love: Tracee Ellis Ross, of course!
It’s always collaboration over competition over here, and we love a good girl group! The idea behind Mented Cosmetics came to girlfriends KJ Miller and Amanda E. Johnson the way most ideas between friends come about… over a glass of wine. The goal was to create a makeup brand with products that allowed women to live in the best version of their complexion. Mission accomplished. Mented products are perfect pigMENTED, as the website notes. As an added bonus, all Mented lipsticks are vegan, paraben-free, non-toxic and cruelty free. You can shop Mented products at Target!
Two things we’re definitely not compromising on this year: representation and quality. Luckily, Briogeo is on a mission to celebrate all hair types and textures. The brand is taking on inclusion in its products and in its organization, with a focus on diversity in its team, as well. The line has a strict 6-free hair care check: NO Harsh Sulfates, NO Silicones, NO Phthalates, NO Parabens, NO DEA and NO Artificial Dyes. It’s completely clean care for every curly girl. You can shop Briogeo at Sephora, Ulta and Nordstrom.
When it comes to elite makeup marketing, Beauty Bakerie takes the cake (pun intended)! From flour bag setting powder to organic egg beauty sponges, it’s the branding for us. Beauty Bakerie was the first brand to ever organize complexion shades from darkest to lightest, putting deeper skin tones at the forefront of their brand. Beauty Bakerie is committed to ending racism and discrimination in the beauty space. You can check out their Black History Month declaration and shop the goods on their website.
The Lip Bar, now TLB, is a beginner-friendly makeup brand that create products that require minimal skill. One of the most popular products is the Fast Face Kit, with 6 products to do a full face in 7 minutes. The kit is a one-stop-shop for a flawless everyday face, complete with foundation, face palette, brows, eyeliner and lipstick, all curated by complexion. Now that’s easy.
Buttah Skin was founded by model, actor and recording artist, Dorion Renaud, to address complexion challenges often experienced by multicultural skin. Their products helps to combat dryness, discoloration, oiliness and blemishes with clinically validated, organic, FDA-registered and cruelty-free products. It’s basically ethically-sourced luxury for your skin.
Celebs Who Love: Duke Riley, Beyoncé
Tracee isn’t the only actress-turned-haircare CEO. TPH by Taraji celebrates the versatility of our hair. The brand aims to protect the hair, no matter what style you’re rocking. Like the founder, even the product names are spicy, with items like “Never Salty” sugar-based scalp & hair scrub and the “Tough Cookie” style-defining gel. TPH is already innovating, with a tri-touch applicator that provides direct-to-scalp cleansing, to avoid stripping the hair.
Celebs Who Love: Taraji P. Henson, duh!