February is Black History Month. Although we at FASHION celebrate diversity all year round, we’d like to take this opportunity to specifically highlight the exceptional talent of Black designers, who still face barriers to entry, marginalization and a lack of representation in the world of fashion.
It’s been over a year since protests against policy brutality that escalated across the U.S. and around the world triggered major changes across many industries, including fashion. In May 2020, Aurora James founded the 15 Percent Pledge, calling on retailers to pledge 15% of shelf space to Black-owned businesses. A month later, notable shoe designer George Sully launched the platform Black Designers of Canada to feature and celebrate Black talent across the country.
And while we witnessed the overwhelming support of Black businesses at the height of the summer of 2020, our support must extend beyond a movement (or a month, for that matter). You’re probably familiar with a few of Canada’s renowned fashion figures, such as Kirk Pickersgill of Greta Constantine, Aurora James of Brother Vellies and Byron and Dexter Peart of Goddee (and formerly Want Les Essentiels), but there are myriad up-and-coming creatives that also deserve the spotlight. Here are some of our favourite Black Canadian designers to shop all year round.