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After a year of living in a global pandemic, most of us are overworked, starved for a vacation, still experiencing zoom fatigue and coping in the best ways we can.
The more I speak to my friends I realize we all share one specific coping mechanism and that’s shopping for some sort of far-reaching dream of a vacation that we all think we'll be going on soon. More than ever our chatter about new finds centred Black-owned brands, businesses and people within the Canadian community bringing a new product to our doorsteps.
Last year we chanted loudly for visibility and diversity by highlighting Black-owned businesses and to be completely honest, this year it’s going to be much of the same. Canada is filled with a multitude of large scale and indie brands that are Black-owned ranging from beauty to clothing and everything in between.
Here are a few that should be on your radar and in your checkout basket!
To launch a beauty brand in the middle of a pandemic takes major guts and to do so with only one product takes something else entirely. However, Toronto natives Brittney MacKinnon and Dwayne Vatcher did just that when they gave us Metadia - a clean beauty brand dedicated to simplifying our skincare routines. Cluttered beauty cabinet? We don’t know her. Their first product is the Copia Face Oil, a lightweight moisturizer made from a variety of botanical oils.
Jewellery is the name of the game and Omi Woods does it exceptionally well while celebrating the African diaspora through their pieces. The brand carry’s pieces that are meant to be gifted and passed down from generation to generation. Its founder Ashley McFarlane also went the extra step of ensuring that fair trade African gold is used and conflict free fine metals.
Say goodbye to your old pairs of shoes and hello to the shoe of your dreams. Tejahn Burnett is a Jamaican-Canadian contemporary footwear designer behind those viral images you may have seen on Twitter of a pair of spinning strappy bubble-gum pink heels. They are called Simijah which is Jamaican Patois for ‘here I am’, a nod to Tejahn’s Jamaican roots. The brand is size inclusive running up to a 12US.
We saw an influx of made-to-order clothing in 2020 due to burgeoning talks about sustainability in the fashion industry and israella KOBLA is adding its voice to the narrative. The made-to-order brand is a combination of architectural showstoppers and minimalist daintier pieces.
Body of Work is bringing luxury to our official WFH uniform of sweatpants and sweaters. Founded by the creators of the Toronto-based skincare brand Metadia, Body Of Work is on a mission to simplify and improve every aspect of your life with their holistic approach to the design and quality of their pieces. Though the homegrown brand is built on basics there’s nothing basic about its dedication to using Canadian materials and manufacturing.
Spencer Badu has been making a name for himself on the Toronto fashion scene and the world stage since 2015. Before the term gendered clothing was a widely known thing, Badu was giving us modern takes on contemporary sportswear with the accessories to match.
If you haven’t seen Sean Brown’s viral 90’s CD rugs floating around the internet, then perhaps you’ve seen some of his other products. The Toronto native’s business is an amalgamation of all of the coolest things we never knew we needed. You name it and Brown has already stamped his fresh take all over it, from wrapping paper, to a casted hands incense holder and even bedding. Yes you read that correctly, bedding!
Nigerian designer Andrea Iyamah's eponymous namesake celebrates her roots by blending modern designs with colour to create luxe resort wear. The brand launched with a swimwear line in 2015 and has since expanded to include ready-to-wear clothing.
Mytignon is not only providing beautifully crafted headwraps for women of colour but also rewriting the history of the Tignon – French creole for headwrap. During the 18th century, the state of Louisiana created the Tignon Law, a ruling that forced all free and enslaved Black women to cover their hair with cloth when in public. It was an attempt to distract from their beauty and show their low status, but the Mytignon brand has completely flipped that on its head with their eclectic collection.
Yaa & Ama is providing luxury in the form of beautifully crafted handbags with the desirable price point to match. On trend colours, tiny handbags and uniquely constructed bags ranging from $25 to $74 are what makes them a great addition to your spring wardrobe.
Trends come and go, but minimalist fashion labels are still going strong - and Projets De Jets Privés is one to watch. The brand is a combination of simple staples like tank tops and dresses made in striving two-tone colours. On the other end of their spectrum, they carry corsets and small bags.