Six Brilliant Women of Color in Ethical Fashion
New thinking and fresh perspectives are what makes ethical and sustainable fashion so exciting.
Even though fashion has always been fuelled with creativity, for too long, big brands haven't been held accountable for their impact, lack of diversity, and disregard for inclusion of the human experience.
I'm tired of that type of fashion, aren't you?
Pricing, mass production, and consumption isn't the only story 21st century has to tell the world. Those stories aren't very noteworthy if they aren't moving the dial towards something better.
I believe that part of doing better is the opportunity to celebrate and share the stories of what's truly possible in fashion. Those stories include inspiring founders, sparks of genius, and true human connection.
So, to celebrate the good, here are six brilliant women of color who saw something worthy of their attention and passion.
Emefa Kuadey, founder of Israella Kobla
Launched in 2019 by British born Ghanaian designer Emefa Kuadey, the luxury made-to-order clothing and accessories brand redefines minimalism through structure and bold femininity.
After experiencing deep personal loss in 2012, Emefa spent time in Ghana with an aunt, and it was there that she began to learn drafting, sewing and, ultimately, an appreciation for architecture and timeless design. Emefa is an engineer, a designer, and a woman with a keen eye for how luxury and sustainability can work together.
Ultimately, Emefa's goal is to redefine the way we look at minimalism and modern fashion.
Nadine launched Mayana Geneviere in 2009, following the birth of her daughter.
Having recognized a need for functional undergarments for new mothers without compromising on style, Nadine was adamant that anything she created would be manufactured to rigorous standards, protecting the environment not just for today but for her daughter’s generation and beyond.
Her digital platform provides a safe place for new mothers to converse and receive much appreciated maternal health education.
Sena Ahohe, Founder of Kejeo
Sena was born and raised in Bénin and moved to North America in 2001. Kejeo came from her love for fashion and the strong desire to turn vibrant African textiles into styles that could be easily adapted in the western world.
KEJEO (Ké-Jé-O) is derived from "nou kéjéo-a" in the “Mina” language from Bénin and Togo in West Africa which means something that looks beautiful on you.
All clothes and accessories are made with various type of premium African print fabrics, from African Wax also known as Ankara, to Bogolan also known as Mud Cloth.
While in middle and high school, Kayla found that as a petite young woman with a 38DDD bra cup size , locating a comfortable swimsuit top that wasn't made with someone else's grandmother in mind was nearly impossible, so she began creating her own.
Her mission through Arrow + Phoenix is simple: To empower women, give back to the community, and provide creative, affordable, and comfortable swimwear that celebrates diversity, sustainability, + positivity.
Taylor Jay, founder of Taylor Jay Collection
Taylor Jay saw that the fashion industry wasn’t catering to her body type and it truly challenged her self-esteem. There had to be a way to make women feel comfortable and confident in their skin.
And this is why inclusion is the principal value upon which Taylor Jay is founded.
She designs with every woman in mind, knowing a woman’s journey is, by nature, a multifaceted one.
We all need reliable clothing that will perform extraordinarily under any circumstance, stand the test of time, and seamlessly integrate into our lifestyle.
All while being sustainably sourced and made.
Kimberly McGlonn, Founder of Grant Blvd
The mission of Grant Blvd is to make clothes that are undeniably and reliably stylish, but to also center an approach to design within the fight for justice and reform.
For Kimberly, sustainability also means hiring womxn, particularly those that are returning citizens, immigrants, & those working through homelessness.
KImberly's belief is that we if demand more, if we think differently about not only what we buy, but who we buy from, we have the power to challenge not only the social issues exacerbated by mass incarceration, but to more meaningfully address climate change.