In recent years, we have witnessed a worldwide outcry against racial injustice. Sewn into the fabric of American history, racism has been prevalent for over 400 years, and while it’s not new, it’s imperative that we do all we can to dismantle it. One way to do this is to shop and support black-owned businesses.
While this moment has shed new light on these businesses, major black-owned fashion brands are nothing new. Designers like Zelda Barbour Wynn Valdes, known for being the mastermind behind the original Playboy Bunny costume, and Stephen Burrows, who was the only black American designer among the five chosen to represent the United States at the iconic fashion show of the Battle of Versailles, paved the way. for them to succeed. As we enter a new era, the emergence of designers like Christopher John Rogers, Pyer Moss and Victor Glemaud have continued to push the status quo through their designs while defying the odds.
It is our responsibility to continue to shine a light on their work in the weeks, months and years to come. While there are tons of black-owned businesses to explore (and you can do that here), we’re specifically highlighting shoe brands worth investing in.
Founded in 2013, this line has developed a cult following. Designer Aurora James has a background in a mix of fields – fashion, journalism, horticulture, music and art – and her past experiences influence all of her glamorous, bohemian designs.
From minimalist strappy styles to heavily embellished pairs, there’s a style here for every type of girl. Plus, these bad boys come at a great price. A win-win.
The search for the perfect skin pump ends here. Founder Jamela Acheampong saw a hole in the market for skin-toe heels in all shades. She launched her own luxury line in 2016; it quickly became one of our favorites when looking for the perfect nude.
Loza Maleombho founded her eponymous brand in 2009 in New York and has since moved to Ivory Coast. Working with artisans who have honed their skills over decades, she aims to blend “Ivorian tribal aesthetics and urban New York fashion.”
The perfect satin pair for the evening. Once a political PR star, Monet made the career leap into the shoe industry and made his first pair entirely by hand. These shoes are available in six shades and each pair has a “recessed platform”, providing extra comfort under the ball of the foot.
Named after her daughters, designer Theresa Ebagua founded this enduring line in 2012. From mules to ankle boots to flats, there’s a style for everyone (though we love their strappy sandals)!
Founded in Sydney, Australia, Shekudo’s origins began with women’s fashion. Now based in Lagos, Nigeria, Creative Director Akudo Iheakanwa has refocused the brand towards producing chic shoes and accessories created by local artisans.
Tejahn Burnett is a Jamaican-Canadian shoe designer who founded her label in 2018. Available for pre-order in two different colors, the Simijah heel is a must-have for summer evenings.
Who doesn’t love a heel that’s both comfortable and stylish? Designed with the goal of creating the ultimate comfortable nude heel, AM:PM knows exactly what a girl wants. With three collections released to date, they strive to create “diversity, design and quality that instantly elevates any outfit”.
Chunky mules and abstract loafers are just a few of the styles you get when shopping with Nigerian brand Kkerle. All shoes are handmade to order, taking up to three weeks to make, but believe us, they are definitely worth the wait.
Feeling detached from her everyday life, designer Katherine Theobalds designed Zou Xou as she searched for meaning in life. The brand works with Argentine shoe artisans and traditional techniques to create shoes for every woman. In the words of Theobalds, “A good shoe has a distinct character and captures an emotion. That’s why I only design what I like and what I need.
Sustainable? To verify. Vegan? To verify. Enduring stylist Jo-Anne Vernay has noticed a lack of stylish options available in the luxury vegan shoe market. In the spirit of change, she created, with Italian artisans, the Mel heel in pineapple leaf fiber. Can’t go wrong with fashion and durability.
Founded by a Sudanese brother-sister duo, Barkal embraces tradition and modernity with its simple leather flats. The shoes are neutral and come in a variety of colors.
From bold heels to statement boots, Kendall Miles has already proven to be a force when it comes to creating one-of-a-kind footwear. This family-owned shoe brand believes in producing high-quality must-haves.
In Latin, Res Ipsa translates to the thing that speaks for itself and these shoes created by former lawyers Josh & Odini need no introduction. Made from recycled fabrics, we are obsessed with these unique masterpieces.
Designer Kenya Martin left her life in corporate America behind to embark on a different journey in luxury footwear. Her shoe brand, Keeyahri, is renowned for its faux fur and signature spiral heel that will turn heads.
Drawing inspiration from the colorful culture of Africa and the stripped down Danish approach to design, designer Yvonne One aims to create timeless pieces in her own way.
Bright, shameless, and fearless are a few words that come to mind when you think of Kkira’s feet. Born out of the need to express themselves in the most authentic way possible, Mauryn set out to create a shoe brand that she hoped would inspire people to explore and embrace who they are at the core of their identity.
Launched in 2012, Aminah Abdul Jillil is now distributed in over 50 countries. Striking and bold designs are at the heart of this eponymous brand. Fun fact about Aminah: She’s a professional dancer who has performed with Janet Jackson and Britney Spears.
Looking for a shoe with a classic silhouette and an elegant feel? Titi Adesa has what you need. Since the brand’s inception in 2019, it’s released a myriad of styles for every occasion.
Black Lives Matter