#BlackHistoryMonth || The Black Owned Brands You Should Know

There’s something quite electric about this year’s Black History Month. We’re living in the most exciting renaissance of black culture and black dominance in spaces that we might have only dreamed about, if given the luxury.

I wanted to celebrate my appreciate for this month with a post dedicated to those celebrating our culture and setting trends in fashion, beauty and lifestyle. Today, money equals financial support to brands and individuals, and ultimately, beliefs. I’m making it a mission of mine to invest my support into these incredible black-owned businesses -- can anyone say #melaninmoney?

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100% Made in Africa, Tongoro combines it’s cultural influence with a playful grace that will grant any wearer a day or night of queen-like behaviour. If you’re wearing any of these draping pieces,  there’s no holding back on any dramatic pose or waving farewell to all the peasants RiRi style. I found them through my IG favorite, @serrebellum and immediately thought “Damn, maybe it’s time for a vacation.”

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This brand is one very close to my heart. Zinny is a dear friend of mine and her eye for fine jewelry is truly astounding. I’m lucky to have a few pieces of her collection now because when she’s dressing the world’s celebrities (and all those Bella Naija-worthy weddings) I hope she will remember me! Throw on a pair of these gems and dress up a casual day look or stunt at any evening event, but either way, Zinny’s Box is my go-to for pieces that stand out.

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Festival season is quickly approaching so trade in your cliché flower crowns in favor for of these colorful belt bags made for the modern day explorer. The line is an ode to exploration and allows the wearer effortless movement and ahem, more opportunity for instagramming. The bags come in a variety of colors and sizes and ~ bonus ~ they're unisex so feel free to buy one for you and one for bae. They'll thank you. 

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Meet Corianna and Brianna Dotson, twin co-founders of Coco and Breezy Eyewear. They were 19 years old and still in high school after they rose to popularity on Myspace. I not only fell in love with this brand's designs, but I became inspired after hearing their background: Half Hispanic and half African American, the twins were the only kids of color at their school. They were bullied for the way that the dressed. What a familiar tale...but how sweet a victory knowing that past didn't define the future. Coco and Breezy's designs have been worn by celebrities like Beyoncé, Prince, and Nicki Minaj -- Officially making this company the eyewear brand of QUEENS.

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Kintu has a magical story built on the foundation of storytelling - one of my favorite things. Founder Sarah interacted with many highly skilled artisan communities on the verge of disappearing if those skills were not passed on from generation to generation. So like many of those dedicated to preserving the skills of generations past, she incorporated that craftsmanship into her line of handbags. These handbags have a history and cultural elements made from Italian leather makers and the handicraft of artisans from India and Kenya.

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My first thought after stumbling across Cocoon was, "Holy sh*t, I don't think I've ever seen anything more beautiful in my entire life." I sent my best friend, Micah a few of the photos from the website and she immediately corroborated my sentiment. These umbrellas are far from your desperate bodega buys, they are decadent and quite frankly deserve to live in a museum. I'm not being dramatic here (for once!!). Choose between the Viceroy, Zeuxidia, and Queen Alexandria's Birdwing, but mind you, these babies --forgive me -- should be saved for splurge on a rainy day at $180.

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I don't know what I love more...the jewelry or the exquisite art direction. Definitely both.  Edasjewels was created to focus on sustainability by using unusual home-goods and refurbished elements to produce beautiful feminine and delicate pieces. Designer, Sade Mims, has designs, produces and creates with a mission of making every woman feel beautiful.

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So I’ve been obsessed with Brother Vellies ever since my eyes landed on their Elevator Boot. It was love at first sight and after finding out that the company’s founder Aurora James, created the brand with the goal of combining traditional African footwear and creating sustaining artisanal jobs within Africa. The shoes are handmade in South Africa, Ethiopia, Kenya and Morocco -- basically my travel bucket list in a nutshell. I’m saving my pennies for a pair of these ethically sourced shoes that i just KNOW will make my lifelong dreams of being a Disney princess come true.

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Beneath Your Mask

The story behind Beneath Your Mask and it's founder, Dana is powerful, full of grace and lots of #blackgirlmagic - much line the line's range of skin, body, and hair products. She created the line to restore, repair, and reverse the toxic effects of environmental hazards, health challenges, stress, and the damage done from countless other unforgiving aspects of our lifestyles -- Preach! Dana started the line after being diagnosed with Lupus (and nearly dying) -- her seemingly perfect life completely changed and she was forced to evaluate who she was and what "perfect" looked like on this new journey. Browse the line of pure, luxurious, all-natural products (Did I also mention free of water, phosphates, parabens, sulfates, gluten, toxins, GMOs, or synthetic colors and fragrances -- damn that's a mouthful). Yes, sis, what a survivor! 

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It feels so fitting to celebrate a brand built on family history for #BlackHistoryMonth. The Okpo sister, daughters of Nigerian immigrants were inspired by the interplay of their parent's personal style with American culture. Through William Okpo, the Okpo sisters want to illuminate the dynamic aesthetic that results as immigrants draw on the American sense of style. I think what I love most is that you truly see this unique perspective of feminine and masculine elements and that these sisters pay ode to current and modern silhouettes without losing sense of their cultural roots.  

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If you’re reading this, you may remember this sweatshirt worn by the queen of black comedy herself, Issa Rae, in her iconic show, Insecure and what’s good enough for Issa Rae is damn sure good enough for me! But don’t get too caught up on this statement sweater because Omondi has a lot more to offer than apparel for the tired-of-yo-bullshit- femme movement. Browse through the collections of equisitie silhouettes and unabashed color play and I promise you won’t regret it.

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Who doesn't love a good husband-and-wife team?! Third Crown co-designers Kristin and Kofi Essel celebrate their mutual fascination with structure, architectural lines, and bold accents. 18k gold, silver and gunmetal are used to create a mood that’s at once restrained but full of attitude. I wasn't shocked to hear that Beyonce and Solange Knowles were favorites of the brand.

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This Brooklyn-based concept store has really caught the eye of Manhattan and Brooklyn-ites alike. With their vintage inspired looks and inclusive brand direction, it’s easy to see why. Sincerely, Tommy is a great place to look for one-of-a-kind pieces that I can guarantee will turn heads….I’ve got my eye on this dress in particular. 

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Cheyenne Adler