Summer is here, and even though many of us aren’t travelling around the world (or the country) like we used to, that doesn’t mean we can’t have some fun with fashion on a staycation, daycation, or socially-distanced picnic in the meantime.
As we continue to fight for racial justice, it’s important to keep the conversation going about the needed support of Black-owned brands. So as you shop around online for summer looks, keep these six innovative companies in mind. From Sai Sankoh’s dreamy capes, to Enitan London’s mask-blazer sets, to Aminah Abdul Jillil’s show-stopping sandals, these brands have something for every fashion-lover.
Luxury fashion consultant Sai Sankoh launched her brand in November 2018. The Sierra Leone native’s whimsical dresses, vibrant skirts, and runway-ready capes are inspired by the glamour of old Hollywood and her West African roots, and blend vintage style with modern sentiment. Sankoh’s goal is to make women around the world feel more empowered, attractive, and confident through fashion, and that ethos shines in the brand’s dresses, kaftans, rainbow Casablanca-striped wraps, and more. The structured yellow Aureta Cape and bold yellow Autumn Skirt Set—which comes complete with a high slit—are just two looks not to be missed.
If there was a mantra weaved into Enitan London pieces during this pandemic, it would be: mask up, but make it fashion. The brand gives a stylish edge to a ballooning trend with its patterned masks that match its vibrant structured blazers, trousers, and bandeau tops. The designs are crafted for those who revel in the art of unique styling and want to stand out.
When Sun Gods founder LaShawn Kenley sat on the Black Lives Matter street mural in Washington, DC in a dress she designed, cameras snapped. It was a statement that encapsulated the spirit of her brand and what she’s all about: celebrating Black excellence. Her bohemian Afro-chic lifestyle and women’s apparel line includes an assortment of patterned masks and matching head wraps, dresses like the flowy Amoya, and jumpsuits like the popular Zoe.
Nigerian fashion designer Dumebi Iyamah started her brand Andrea Iyamah at only 17. The line’s high-fashion, whimsical designs are the epitome of glam resort wear, bringing the runway to the shore. The collection sizzles with innovative designs like the bright red, high-waisted Kamari bikini and the bright orange Kari bikini. The sheer yellow Naya robe, white pleated Sachi romper, and billowy yellow Ekon pants are also essentials, even if you’re only creating a resort moment at home.
Tianah Adenrele debuted her sunglasses brand at Afropunk London in 2017 and it instantly made waves. Soon, fashion-forward celebrities including Beyonce, Bella Hadid, Kaia Gerber, and Rita Ora were rocking her sleek shades. Each pair of ChristianahJones sunglasses is packed with style, edge, and personality—there are no subtleties here. These shades are made for those who want to make a (very cool) statement. The collection of unapologetically bold shapes—like the bright red Shady Biggie Smalls, two-toned cat-eye Shady Split, and slim rectangular Shady Queen Latifah—will enhance any ensemble.
Aminah Abdul Jillil
Just one glance at these next-level shoes will make anyone a fan. Former professional dancer (for the likes of Britney Spears and Janet Jackson) Aminah Abdul-Jillil launched her luxury footwear brand in August 2012, and it is now sold in over 50 countries. The line’s signature shoes come complete with an oversized side bow in statement-making stiletto, shimmery and satin flat, and sandal varieties, but newer styles are just as covetable: the Gold Chain flat sandal, ribbon-wrapped Ballerina Sandal, and leather wrap-around Riyka Sandal are just a few favourites to grab before summer ends.