Black History Month may be wrapping up, and if ever there were a time to embrace some of the black-owned fashion labels in our world, it’s now.
You may have already caught major brands such as Nike and adidas releasing collections that pay homage to the African diaspora. Meanwhile, Union LA’s in-house tees featuring Malcolm X, an Awake NY BHM capsule, and a collaboration with the Brooklyn Museum from Alife have also been highlights this month.
But for some brands, celebrating their heritage is a year-round effort. Here, we’ve profiled five black-owned brands every Highsnobiety reader should know, spanning everything from apparel to travel accessories. From popular streetwear label Daily Paper and luxury durag brand L’ENCHANTEUR to belt bags label ASHYA and screen-printing project Philadelphia Printworks, there’s a new design for every wardrobe to cop before Black History Month’s over.
Based in Amsterdam, Daily Paper was co-founded in 2010 by Jefferson Osei, Abderrahmane Trabsini, and Hussein Suleiman, of Ghanaian, Moroccan, and Somali descent, respectively.
Inspired by the founder’s shared African heritage, Daily Paper fuses traditional aesthetics from the continent with modern and casual designs. Today, Daily Paper is a well-respected label in the fashion world, counting collaboration with brands from PUMA to colette.
But Daily Paper is more than a fashion brand. “It’s a movement of ingenious creatives from all walks of life, brought together by shared passions,” says co-founder Hussein Suleiman. “We’re creating a community of belonging rather than exclusion.”
Starting out as a menswear-only label, Daily Paper is living up to this sentiment with the launch of its women’s line in 2017, further expanding their offering.
Founded in 2017 by Ashley Cimone and Monya Annece, ASHYA is a Brooklyn brand focusing on high-quality leather accessories such as belt bags, pouches, and other travel-ready accessories. After traveling to India and noticing a shortage of sophisticated and contemporary accessories, Cimone and Annece saw a unique opportunity to realize their design passions.
“The accessories market is quite saturated with traditional bag styles, and even the resurgence of belt bags sees the same shapes over and over again,” share the founders about the brand’s beginnings. That’s what motivated ASHYA’s founders to offer a newer approach to the accessory, opting instead for designs that are both stylish and functional, inspired by the modern traveler.
The brand’s designers have clearly been doing it right, with ASHYA having recently been picked up to take part in the CFDA Elaine Gold Launch Pad residency program for emerging designers.
Based in New York, Third Crown was created by husband-and-wife design duo Kristin and Kofi Essel. Kristin studied apparel design and worked in jewelry, while Kofi graduated in men’s design from FIT. After their respective experiences in fashion, the couple decided to become business partners as well, creating a line of unisex jewelry.
Using 18K gold, silver, and gunmetal, Third Crown’s latest collection includes jewelry that is simple yet full of attitude, featuring clean lines and elegant designs. “Masculinity and femininity are fused for us,” says Kofi Essel. “Anyone can find something they love, regardless of their gender. If it fits, rock that joint.”
Though Third Crown is still in its early stages, the brand has already caught the attention of celebrities including Beyoncé and Solange Knowles and has made appearances in Issa Rae’s hit show Insecure.
As its name suggests, Philadelphia Printworks is a Philly-based brand. But calling it a brand may be too restrictive. Founded in 2010 by Maryam Pugh and Ruth Perez, its graphics point out current social issues, while paying homage to revolutionary leaders of the past.
Philadelphia Printworks’s designs tackle hot topics such as ICE raids, intersectional feminism, and gentrification, with James Baldwin, Shirley Chisholm, Assata Shakur, and the Black Panther Party’s Food Program featured on graphic tees, hoodies, and sweatshirts.
Along with apparel, Philadelphia Printworks also offers various events for the local community, including screen-printing lessons, childbirth workshops, and various fundraising projects.
The brainchild of twin sisters Dynasty and Soull Ogun, L’ENCHANTEUR takes on an affordable essential you’ll find in any black household — the durag. After spending years perfecting their crafts in the textile and jewelry fields, the Ogun sisters launched the brand in 2012, debuting with a line of high-end durags made from silk, velvet, and denim.
While beauty supply durags usually retail for no more than five bucks, L’ENCHANTEUR’s fancy ’rags come with price tags of up to $130, turning the affordable accessory into a flex-worthy piece. But the Brooklyn-based brand’s offerings don’t stop there. With a shared interest in astrology, mythology, architecture, and magic, L’ENCHANTEUR’s collections also include apparel, hats, jewelry, art, and more.
Every piece is created with the goal to leave a mark on society, while also documenting the times we live in. More recently, the brand has received nods from artists such as Erykah Badu, Lauryn Hill, and J. Cole.
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