Black-owned fashion and beauty brands to support now, and always

If you’re currently looking for a way to effect change, redirecting your economic resources and supporting black-owned beauty businesses is a great place to start.

The pressing question ‘how can I help?’ is one that’s been dominating social media lately. As protests calling for an end to police brutality and justice for George Floyd’s murder continue to take place across the globe, there exists a variety of ways in which you can take action in support of the black community and BLM movement.

Besides signing petitions, contacting government officials, and donating to organisations fighting racial injustice – as many major brands and designers have been doing this week – another way to make your voice heard is by buying from black-owned fashion and beauty brands.

‘Black people are less likely to have access to capital to fund their businesses, so it’s critical non-POC support them because these purchases can make a major impact on the potential growth,’ says Lesley Thornton, founder of Klur Skincare. ‘It’s small actions like supporting black-owned businesses that help level the capitalist playing field for us.’

Vowing to join the push for equality and committing to being anti-racist means being an ally in every sense of the word. As consumers therefore, how better to lend ourselves to the cause than to get educated about these businesses and invest in them wherever possible?

A vast wealth of black talent within the fashion and beauty industry has not received nearly the amount of attention it deserves, and its due time we dedicated ourselves to showcasing more of its exceptional work. Particularly amidst a pandemic that has put retail in a more vulnerable position than ever before.

From up-and-coming independent designers to big names in beauty, here are just a few of the labels you need to have on your radar. In the words of Angela Davis: ‘the importance of doing activist work – big or small – is precisely because it allows you to give back and to consider yourself not as a single individual who may have achieved whatever, but to be a part of an ongoing historical movement.’  

Rad Swan

Freddie Harrel is the blogger-turned-entrepreneur launching a conscious hair and beauty brand ‘built for the global diaspora’ this summer. Featuring ethical hair extensions and premium wigs, Rad Swan is on a mission to transform the $7 billion black hair care market complete with an admirable socially conscious agenda.

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This is not quite the launch I imagined when I embarked on this journey with @target over a year ago. Partnering with them has been a dream of mine for so long and my dress collection is finally launching tomorrow in the midst of all this injustice and heartache. It has been a devastating 2 weeks but this struggle for the black community goes far beyond these recent events. We have been fighting for justice, fighting for equality, fighting for our lives for far too long now. But finally I am hopeful that we are starting to be seen, so we must continue the fight and continue to support the black community. Let’s always hold in our hearts the lives of George Floyd, Breanna Taylor whose birthday it is today, as well as so many black lives. And so as we fight let’s also celebrate black life, black culture, black contributions, and black business. #cushniextarget #blackownedbusiness

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Cushnie

Renowned for its sleek separates and sculptural eveningwear, Cushnie is a New York-based clothing label that’s been worn by the likes of Ashley Graham, Jennifer Lopez, and Michelle Obama. Although easily a red-carpet favourite, it also offers a variety of elegant day-to-day pieces such as chic jumpsuits, midi dresses, and sharp blazers.

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Double up ✨ 📸 @nabiuti

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Liha Beauty

Liha is a conscious, organic skincare brand that mixes ‘natural African roots’ with a ‘quintessentially British attitude.’ Created with the Nigerian tradition of making beautifying oils, soaps, and lotions from nuts, tree bark and plants in mind, everything is handmade and uses aromatherapy remedies for an added level of nourishment.

Wales Bonner

Currently one of the most exciting names in British fashion, Grace Wales Bonner launched her menswear label in 2014, only recently venturing into women’s clothing as well. Exploring her African/European history and heritage, the designer fuses the two nationalities in her collections, her creations a direct response to perceptions of race and gender. Her retro prints, impeccable tailoring, and soft silhouettes have won her a number of coveted awards including the Fashion Award for Emerging Talent and prestigious LVMH Prize.

Pat McGrath Labs

Since the 1980s, Pat McGrath has been honing her skills, producing beauty looks for John Galliano and Alexander McQueen that have earned her the title of one of fashion’s – and arguably the world’s – most influential MUAs.  Her eponymous line, launched in 2015, offers a ‘quartet of exquisite palettes, 50 legendary lipsticks, a divine dozen eyeliners and five fetish-worthy lip pencils’ driven by the power of transformation, of beauty, and of makeup.

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