Last spring, Aurora James — the Canadian designer and founder of the NYC-based shoe brand Brother Vellies — launched the 15 Percent Pledge. The pledge asks major retailers to dedicate at least 15 percent of their shelf space to Black-owned businesses. It’s an important move for retailers and consumers alike; supporting Black entrepreneurs is necessary for wealth and opportunity redistribution. And while Black History Month is often a rearward-looking time, celebrating the past contributions of countless individuals, another way to celebrate is by supporting Canada’s current class of Black entrepreneurs. We’ve rounded up 8 designs from some of the most stylish Black-owned brands in Canada, which you can shop not only this month, but every month.
Mike Paul Atelier
The Bespoke Overshirt from car mechanic-turned-tailor Mike-Paul Neufville is made-to-order and customizable right down to the fabric, colour, and finishes.
Sully & Son Co.
The Kuro backpack collection from designer George Sully (also the founder of the Black Designers of Canada index) was inspired by time he spent in Japan. While the collection isn’t available to buy just yet, you won’t have to wait long: it’s set to hit Harry Rosen shops come spring as part of the retailer’s ongoing efforts to diversify its shelves.
Sadly, formal occasions have been few and far between in the past year. But if you’re looking to ditch the sweatsuit once and for all, get fitted in some custom tailoring from Toronto outfit Fari Hara.
This functional waist pack from Montréal bagmaker Bain, founded by industry veteran Linsey Myriam Bain, can be worn around the waist or slung across the body. Upgrade the nylon to nappa leather if you’re looking to go even more luxe.
You can trust that everything stocked by the Peart brother’s Goodee is not only ethically made, but good looking too. (They did found WANT Les Essentiels, after all.) That includes the Bassi Market Tote, which is handmade by refugees in Italy of handwoven fabric from Burkina Faso.
Inspired by the landscapes of Ghana, Nana Boateng Osei’s eyewear label Bôhten has put a fresh spin on the classic aviator by using not only acetate and metal, but reclaimed ebony wood. Bôhten’s long-term goal is to manufacture all of its products in Ghana, while drafting a blueprint for sustainable manufacturing on the continent.
Atelier New Regime
Founded in 2009 by Setiz Taheri, Koku Awuye, and Gildas Awuye, Montréal’s Atelier New Regime has become a staple of the Canadian streetwear scene. These tailored pants come in a wide-fit and are made in Portugal of a cotton blend.