If you’ve been here for a while, you know that at the beginning of 2020 I decided to only buy clothing and accessories from Black owned designers, stores, and boutiques. Amongst many other reasons, I wanted to expose myself to new companies and train myself to think about buying from Black owned brands first before going to a mainstream store. I discovered tons of new fashion, home decor, and baby brands during my challenge, but here’s what else I learned from buying Black for a whole year.
Buying Black is Easy… Usually
There were very few things that I wanted to buy that I couldn’t find a Black owned version for. In fact, the only thing I can remember struggling to find was a Black owned pair of jeans (that were designed by someone Black, not sold by a boutique). Everything else, from undergarments to shoes to cloth diapers to candles and even wrapping paper, there was a Black owned version out there.
Luxury Designers Are Not Only White Europeans
I’ve got to admit, I LOVE treating myself a designer handbag or pair of shoes to celebrate my life milestones. I remember buying my Louis Vuitton Neverfull in Paris and just feeling so proud of myself for being a responsible enough steward of my finances to swipe my card. However, I’ve been able to now shift my idea of what a luxury designer purchase means. French, Italian, and Spanish fashion houses aren’t the only luxury designers — there are a lot of Black luxury designers (we can debate whether luxury should even exist, but that’s a different conversation). So next time I want to treat myself to a designer purchase, I won’t just be checking the usual suspects.
Kimono by Shop New Level, Black owned
There Are a LOT of Bomb Designers in Africa
My buying Black adventure was a global one, and I was actually surprised by how many things I bought were made in Africa as opposed to by American or British designers. If there’s one brand that I bought the most last year, it was the Nigerian brand Imad Eduso. I literally CANNOT get over their pieces! And my kimono set from Christie Brown from Ghana? 😍 It seems I’m not the only one who’s noticed the talent in Africa, since Farfetch recently added 7 African designers to their catalog thanks to a partnership with The Folklore.
Not All Brands That Are Black Owned Lean Into the Label
So this is a minor point, but I distinctly remember coming across a company (well actually they reached out to me) who was interested in a possible promotional partnership. It wasn’t a good fit, but I suggested that they start using Black owned hashtags to lean into the movement and benefit from the momentum. They replied with a “we’re for all women” type of vibe, so I just shoulder shrugged and kept it moving. I’ll do a separate post about how small Black owned businesses can market themselves better and attract a wider audience, but I assure you, there has never been a time when being a Black, WOC, or woman owned business is more attractive to potential customers.