With every Black History Month comes the call to support Black-owned businesses across industries, especially when it comes to fashion. And while it’s a welcomed call, it can often underestimate just how impactful it can be to support Black-owned fashion brands year round, opening opportunities for further investment, access to resources, and sustainable growth.
Aurora James, founder of accessories brand Brother Vellies, put the idea into collective action during the summer of 2020, following the protests honoring George Floyd and Black Lives Matter. Coined the 15 Percent Pledge, James called for major retailers and start ups alike to commit 15 percent of their shelf space (virtual and otherwise) to Black-owned businesses. Today brands like Sephora, Madewell, and Macy’s are on board.
“Small businesses can turn into bigger ones. Real investment will start happening in Black businesses which will subsequently be paid forward into