5 Black-Owned Sustainable Brands To Shop And Support

5 Black-Owned Sustainable Brands To Shop And Support

Ethical and eco-friendly shopping is the new way to go. 

Fast fashion has increasingly made its way in shopping carts over the last couple of years. Brands like Shein and Romwe are some of the most featured online clothing sites that make up the majority of YouTube fashion hauls or unboxing videos.

With the concept of fast fashion, the name suggests it’s everything we’ve ever dreamed of: ready-made pieces available to us in the blink of an eye. Inexpensive, in stock, and in instant clothing and accessories. It’s appealing to young people who want to look fashionable on a budget and don’t want their items to take centuries to arrive. 

The appeal of the apparel is what’s led to the rise of fast fashion popularity, with social media playing a big role. The trend #sheinhaul on TikTok has over 1.4 billion views on the app. Some of the social media platforms have been used to weigh in on the brand, accusing them of using unethical practices like child labor. In a recent reply to a tweet, the official Shein Twitter account said they “strictly abide by the child labor laws in each of the countries we operate in,” attaching a link to their Social Responsibility page.

Shopping sustainably isn’t impossible! It’s a commitment and requires dedication to building a more sustainable future with clothes. The fashion industry is considered to be one of the most polluting industries in the world. 85% of textiles are ruined annually, according to Business Insider. The industry also prices 10 percent of carbon emissions.

Making the switch to conscious clothing doesn’t have to be difficult. While more brands co-opt this phrase, hopefully acting on it behind the scenes, consumers can shop in a way that makes them look good, feel good, and do good. Below are 5 Black-owned sustainable fashion to do so.

Grant Blvd

Founded by Kimberly McGlonn, Grant Blvd is a Philadelphia-based sustainable store fighting for those who were formerly or currently incarcerated. Described as a “response to slavery, to leased labor, to Jim Crow, to persistent economic injustice and marginalization,” Grant Blvd takes secondhand clothes and turns them into completely new pieces, often with unique prints or social justice phrases. In January, Grant Blvd was awarded a $10,000 grant from Beyoncé’s organization, BeyGood. This brand combines sustainability and support for people in the criminal justice system.

Subrina Heyink Vintage

Subrina Heyink is the creative mind behind her eponymous brand. With its inventory sold through Instagram shops, her store is the go-to for all things vintage pieces with fun patterns and prints. The fashion world sees a resurgence of trends every now and then from decades like the 90s, or more commonly the 80s, so get your nostalgic fix from the mastermind of this modern maven. Her shop is currently selling an array of cotton masks. 

The Tiny Closet

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Set in Los Angeles, The Tiny Closet creates cute pieces out of leftover textiles. The items are chic and minimalist and are all handcrafted by founder Natalie Harris. Their capsule is filled with wardrobe staples like a little black dress and a classic white tee but given a little extra edge. Nothing at the store is thrown out, everything is remixed and repurposed into a new article of clothing from the thousands of fabric scraps left in landfills. Deadstock fabric takes on a new life at The Tiny Closet. 

AAKS

AAKS is the artsy handbag brand we all need. Launched in 2014, creator Akosua Afriyie-Kumi celebrates the weaving skills of women of Ghana in every colorful handbag. The bags are made of ecologically harvested raffia to craft products from totes to baskets and take about a week to put together. 

Taylor Jay Collection 

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At Taylor Jay, it’s all about elevating basic fashion staples and expanding sizes to be more inclusive. Produced in Oakland, Taylor Joy has made basics anything but. They’re partnered with an ethically sourced Oakland-based factory that creates eco-friendly textiles to create their pieces. The brand also recycles its threads. Designed for every woman and for every occasion, The Taylor Joy Collection gives sustainability and style a good name.


Writer: Deidre Redhead