It has been a time of learning, empowerment, and action as the highlight on injustice has taken over our Instagram feeds and lives. I’m sure the inevitable return to “normalcy” (what does that even mean?) will mean many people closing the book on their personal fights towards anti-racism, but not me. As we look to the future after a week of protests, social media blackouts, and civil unrest — it’s important that I create long-lasting goals for diversity & inclusivity where I can and hold myself accountable to being part of the solution. One space that I know in the past has had issues with diversity is sustainability. Too many brands say, “well, we’re fighting climate change and creating products/pieces that are better for the planet and created by people paid living wages, we’re doing good enough” and while those points are valid and important, it’s not even close to being enough.
Sustainability is the last thing that should have an exclusivity tag attached to it.
I think one of the ways to keep this conversation of anti-racism in general going is to find where it speaks to you individually. For me, it’s in the eco-friendly sustainable space. So throughout this time that’s one of the topics I’ve been focusing on. I’ve learned about intersectional environmentalism and am excited to get involved. I’ve also created a resource highlight on my Instagram that shares many different types of businesses, educational sources, and more that can support you in being loudly anti-racist. In addition, I recently started following an Instagram page called Buy From BIPOC that is a community focused on showcasing the work of BIPOC in slow, ethical and sustainable fashion.
I have discovered so many incredible sustainable businesses that are Black-owned specifically and so I thought as a start, I could share a few of the sustainable fashion & clean beauty brands with you. I plan to return to this post again and again as I discover more brands and to include more diverse offerings throughout all of the content I create. This is only the beginning.
I look forward to you joining me in supporting these beautiful companies and therefore helping create fundamental change in our society and world.
Two Days Off
Two Days Off is a climate-neutral, made-to-order sustainable clothing company founded in Los Angeles by Gina Stovall. Two Days Off believes that a good wardrobe should be simple, conscious, and have enough ease for everyday life. For Gina, ease is not only about how you feel in the clothes. It is also the ease of mind that garment on your back is not at the cost of someone else’s welfare whether that be directly though Two Days Off‘s production practices or indirectly through their environmental impact.
Beneath Your Mask
Beneath Your Mask is a natural skincare brand that was created to reverse the toxic effects of environmental hazards, health challenges, stress, and the damage done from countless other unforgiving aspects of our lifestyles. Dana, the founder, has such an incredible story on resilience and her fight with a severe form of lupus. Beneath Your Mask’s products are sourced intentionally and having a leader like Dana makes me even more passionate about supporting the brand.
Thando’s is a conscious brand driven with a passion to create innovative African designed products. Thando’s has taken its mission so far as to officially move their entire production facility to be 100% African-based this year. The three ways Thando’s make an impact are: source fabric from Nigeria and purchase directly from women in the fabric trade, crowdsource designs from African artists and share a royalty with them from each purchase of shoe utilizing the respective artist’s art, and donate part of sales proceeds to charitable causes in Africa that inspire the art behind the crowdsourced designs.
Realizing the gap between sustainable fashion and her experiences in lifestyle and entertainment, celebrity stylist Dechel Mckillian launched GALERIE.LA to present a tightly curated selection of brands with a shared philosophy. GALERIE.LA curates sustainable fashion from emerging brands worldwide. Each piece is hand-selected based upon its quality of design and production following a sustainable strategy. They work closely with brands to disclose where every item in the store is made and the materials it is made from. What’s cool is they also incorporate a sustainable value badge system that allows you to view and shop items according to each initiative GALERIE.LA supports.
Brother Vellies was founded in 2013 with the goal of keeping traditional African design practices, and techniques alive while also creating and sustaining artisanal jobs. Brother Vellies makes statement, fashion-forward shoes and small leather goods with a conscience.
Mented Cosmetics is a clean beauty brand founded by two women over a glass of pinot while they worked to solve the problem of why it was so hard to find the perfect shade of lipstick. Thus, Mented was born with a range of lipsticks that are vegan, paraben-free, non-toxic and cruelty-free. Over the years, Mented has grown into a full-blown beauty brand with all kinds of makeup products in many different shades so you can be guaranteed to find the perfect match for you.
While Ebi isn’t technically “clean beauty,” it is organic plant-based postpartum care for women which I believe is just as important to share. Ebi is the Yoruba word for family. It encapsulates Ebi’s commitment to the formation of healthy families by supporting mothers from the very beginning in creating positive, self-care focused products including oils, bath essentials, undergarments and more.
Oui The People
Oui The People is a shaving company focused on sustainable, single-blade razors and shaving products. Oui The People is more than just a shaving company, though, it’s a movement to empower women to embrace themselves fully just as they are. Oui The People‘s ingredients are chosen for their efficacy, and products are free from the usual suspects (parabens, synthetic fragrances, phthalates, animal-testing). Their razors aren’t run of the mill (literally), they’re custom milled to their exacting designs and packaging is recyclable or refillable. Oui The People‘s long-lasting steel razors avoid ending up in a landfill, where 2 billion plastic razors are found each year.
People of Color
People of Color is a non-toxic, vegan, and cruelty-free nail polish brand created by Jacqueline Carrington to bring nail polish shades that are perfect for all kinds of brown skin. People of Color is not just for People of Color. Their slogan is “nail polish for People of Color and those who live in color”. This essentially represents everyone who lives in and loves color!
Founded in 2016, ALIYA WANEK is an eponymous womenswear label that focuses on creating comfortable, stylish clothing ethically and sustainably as an extension of the wearer’s individuality. If not sewing the garments herself, Aliya works with a production sewer and other local contractors in the Bay Area to produce and dye her garments, always taking into consideration ways to reduce the brand’s environmental impact.
Rochelle Porter Design is an Atlanta-based lifestyle brand specializing in thoughtfully made, eco-friendly home and fashion accessories. Starting with handmade pillows then venturing into athleticwear, scarves, masks, and more; Rochelle Porter Design prioritizes fair pay, environmentally safe manufacturing, and the use of allergy-free organic and recycled materials whenever possible.
lemlem is an artisan-driven collection of women’s, men’s, children’s and home goods made entirely in Africa. Supermodel Liya Kebede was inspired to launch the brand following a trip to her native Ethiopia where she met a group of traditional weavers who no longer had a market for their craft. Meaning to bloom and flourish in the Ethiopian language of Amharic, lemlem is committed to elevating artisanship and expanding production and jobs across Africa.
A A K S
A A K S is a sustainable handbag company founded by Akosua Afriyie-Kumi with the goal of introducing the world to her favorite weaving techniques done by the women of Ghana while also creating and igniting sustainable jobs within Africa. The essence of A A K S design philosophy is a complex combination of thoughts, design element which comes from a critical attention to craftsmanship, authenticity and ethical values in their production; while having a strong sense of identity and quality.
While Shea Moisture was bought by Unilever in 2017, I still believe it’s worth mentioning as the company continues to be focused on making natural & sustainable products that include NO parabens, mineral oil, formaldehyde, phthalates, or petroleum along with being a certified B Corporation, Fair-Trade & ethically traded, and never tested on animals.
Hope for Flowers
Hope for Flowers is a beautifully designed clothing company focused on using daring colors and unique prints to make joyful, feminine clothing for modern women. At Hope for Flowers, designer + founder Tracy Reese believes that by incorporating positive, social, and ecological practices into the sourcing and operating structures, they can imbue products with greater substance and offer customers an opportunity to be a part of doing good while looking good.
BLK + GRN
BLK + GRN is an all-natural beauty marketplace by all Black artisans. Founded by Dr. Kristian, who believes her mission has and always will be to connect Black women to the tools, resources, knowledge, and products they need to lead happier and healthier lives. She believes that a life free of toxins and all things artificial is a life worth cultivating.
The ethos behind SIKA is not only to produce quality ‘made in Africa’ garments for the international market but also to ultimately prove that garment production can successfully have social and environmental responsibilities at its core. For SIKA that means paying fair wages, creating employment and making a meaningful difference within the Ghanaian community. SIKA was founded in 2005 by creative director Phyllis Taylor with the vision that fashion has the power and potential to make a positive contribution to society.
Serendipitous Project is a sustainable & vintage jewelry company founded in 2019 by Sydney Ziems. Focused on unique yet timeless design, Serendipitous Project sources the best materials and pieces to create one-of-a-kind jewelry at an affordable price.
Subrina Heyink Vintage
Subrina Heyink Vintage is a designer & bridal vintage shop focused on curating individual yet timeless vintage pieces. Subrina has such an eye for finding statement fashion with an elegant touch and I love that her website and Instagram page feel like you’re stepping back in time while also at the forefront of style.