Fashion isn’t all about looking good. Nowadays, fashionistas want brands to have values and a strong sense of purpose. With the ever-growing need to have a more sustainable fashion industry, brands, now more than ever, need to tell a story with their collections. I’ve pulled together five Black-owned brands that have unique stories and ways of presenting their collections to their audiences. These brands are ones to watch in 2021.
Thebe Magugu @thebemagugu
Thebe Magugu started his namesake label as a ready-to-wear brand in 2016 from his home in South Africa. He derives his inspiration from his country and infuses his pieces with unique prints and colors. His main muses are the strong women that raised him and continue to inspire his collections. In 2019, he won LVMH’s Young Designer award at age 26 and has since been featured in GQ, Vogue, Essence and Refinery 29, to name a few.
What really sets Magugu apart is his love of education. Each one of his collections is named after a university subject like Home Economics (AW2018), African Studies (AW2019) and Prosopography (SS2020). Under each collection on his website, Magugu includes a detailed explanation behind his inspiration and a section called “Recommended Reading,” which includes a list of books or texts that further emphasizes the story he is trying to tell.
If you’re looking to make a statement, Magugu’s beautiful crafted pieces are just the ticket. His collections are composed of ponchos, dresses and pleated skirts, and deconstructed suits. You can buy his designs on his ecommerce website.
RE ONA @reona
Simple, classic and sexy, the RE ONA label is designed in Toronto and made in Bangladesh. If you’re in need of some basics in your closet this season, RE ONA is a good place to start. Each one of their pieces is minimalistic and will give that effortless chic look without actually trying too hard.
RE ONA is all about the environment and sustainability and tries to honor the two in each piece. They create in small batches to minimize waste and use sewing techniques that create pieces to last a long time. They’ve also vetted their manufacturer in Bangladesh, who pays its workers a fair wage with benefits.
Not only are you getting beautifully-made staples for your wardrobe, but you can also feel good about where they came from.
Sai Sankoh @shopsaisankoh
Former luxury fashion consultant turned fashion designer Sai Sankoh launched her namesake label in 2018 as a way of empowering women. Born in Sierra Leone, West Africa, Sankoh’s goal is to make women feel more confident and empowered through their clothing choices. Her pieces were inspired by a mix of African culture and old-Hollywood style.
You’ll find beautiful kaftans, jumpsuits and dresses for the woman who is not afraid of color. All her pieces scream confidence, so if you’re looking to feel like a goddess, even while lounging at home, Sai Sankoh does not disappoint.
These brands are not just focusing on the pieces they create, but also how they make their customers feel. Gone are the days that fast fashion can cut it for the average consumer, so these Black-owned brands can be the portal to your new wardrobe. I already found a few pieces I’m adding to mine.
Which are your favorites?
Follow me on IG @sallythatprgirl!