Empowering Change: Spotlight on Black Women-Founded Sustainable Fashion Brands

SAWA SAWA – Luxury Artisan Eco Baskets

In recent years, the fashion industry has witnessed a transformative shift towards sustainability and inclusivity. Within this movement, black women founders have emerged as powerful change-makers, leading the way in creating sustainable fashion brands that prioritize ethics, diversity, and environmental consciousness. Their inspiring journeys and commitment to making a positive impact have not only transformed the industry but have also empowered individuals to make conscious choices. In this blog post, we shine a light on some remarkable black women-founded sustainable fashion brands and celebrate their contributions.

  1. Brother Vellies – Aurora James

Aurora James, the founder of Brother Vellies, is a visionary committed to preserving traditional African craftsmanship while championing sustainability. Her brand focuses on producing handmade footwear and accessories using responsibly sourced materials. Brother Vellies is dedicated to supporting artisans in countries such as Kenya, Ethiopia, and South Africa, providing them with fair wages and a platform to showcase their incredible skills. With a strong emphasis on transparency and environmental responsibility, Brother Vellies is at the forefront of the sustainable fashion movement.

  1. Lemlem – Liya Kebede

Liya Kebede, an Ethiopian-born supermodel and actress, founded Lemlem with the mission of preserving traditional weaving techniques and creating job opportunities for artisans in Africa. Lemlem’s vibrant, ethically made clothing features handwoven fabrics and empowers local communities. By providing fair wages and supporting women’s cooperatives, Kebede ensures that her brand is both sustainable and socially responsible. Lemlem’s commitment to preserving cultural heritage and empowering African artisans has garnered international recognition and admiration.

  1. Studio 189 – Abrima Erwiah and Rosario Dawson

Studio 189, co-founded by Abrima Erwiah and acclaimed actress Rosario Dawson, combines sustainable fashion with social impact. This brand showcases the beauty of African craftsmanship through contemporary designs that empower local communities. Studio 189 sources materials responsibly and employs traditional artisans, providing them with fair wages and access to global markets. The brand’s commitment to sustainability and social change has earned them numerous accolades, reinforcing the power of fashion as a force for good.

  1. Telfar – Telfar Clemens

Telfar Clemens, a visionary designer and founder of Telfar, challenges the conventional norms of luxury fashion by creating unisex, sustainable designs accessible to all. Telfar’s iconic “Shopping Bag” has become a symbol of inclusivity and has garnered a devoted following. By prioritizing ethical manufacturing processes and utilizing sustainable materials, Telfar sets an example for the fashion industry. Clemens’ commitment to social responsibility and dedication to making fashion more inclusive have propelled Telfar to new heights.

5. SAWA SAWA – Anne Drane and Catherine Mung’ara

Anne and Kate founded SAWA SAWA which means “it will be okay”. The company is a nonprofit organization that partners with artisans in Kenya to create one of a kind, handwoven, all natural, organic bags, baskets and accessories. Their mission is to empower women especially mothers to create a sustainable, dignified income. They use the revenue to fund empowerment and quality of life programs. They partner with other nonprofits to bring essential services to villages and artisans.


Black women-founded sustainable fashion brands are breaking barriers, challenging the status quo, and promoting positive change within the industry. Through their commitment to sustainability, ethical practices, and the empowerment of communities, these visionary founders have transformed fashion into a vehicle for social impact. By supporting these brands, consumers not only contribute to a more sustainable future but also celebrate diversity and inclusivity.

As we celebrate and amplify the voices of these incredible black women founders, let us be inspired to make conscious choices in our own fashion consumption. By supporting sustainable brands that prioritize ethics and diversity, we can contribute to a more inclusive and sustainable fashion industry for future generations. Together, we can create a world where fashion not only looks good but also does good.

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Black Woman Founded Sustainable, Conscious Eco-Fashion Brand