Fashion is all about expression, identity and autonomy. Ever wonder why people dress the way they do? What global influences are at play, dictating the latest trends? How do different communities choose to express themselves? What history is woven into traditional garments? “Styling Stanford” is a recurring column that will attempt to address these complicated questions and explore the eclectic mode of Stanford, highlighting students’ voices and offering insights into the greater world of self-expression and beyond.
There are many substantive ways to be an ally to the Black community: educating yourself about racism, calling your local officials and advocating for policy change or donating to an advocacy organization. However, true allyship extends beyond the twenty-eight day period of Black History Month. One way to incorporate meaningful support into our daily lives is by shopping from Black-owned businesses and brands all year long! In honor of Black History Month, I present to you eight Black-owned businesses to keep on your radar all throughout the year, because putting your financial support behind your words ensures these worthy businesses stick around for years and years to come.
Lola Ade ($-$$$)
Lola Ade is a curated collection of fine gold jewelry pieces, from dainty necklaces and “Tribestix,” to rings and color hoops. Having grown up in Lagos, Nigeria, founder Lola Ade was enthralled by the abundance of colors and textures from local artisans’ handmade jewelry, clothing and goods. Her self-titled brand name derives from the Yoruba language, with Lola meaning “wealthy” and Ade meaning “crown.” Proud of her heritage, Ade seeks to apply splashes of authenticity and cultural pride to her collection. “I curate and create pieces that can easily be a part of a minimalistic or glamorous wardrobe,” Ade states on her website. “Everything that you order is packed with love, using specially curated materials that I can’t wait for you to see.” As a serious ring-lover, I would recommend the “Ila Ring” to bring some dimension to your collection while also remaining true to Lola Ade’s signature classic look of simplicity.
EthereallPrincess is an “eclectic, afrocentric” fashion company, based in Maryland and designed by a team of young Black creatives and innovators. In 2020, model, content creator and part-time student TyairDnae curated a team to share her love for fashion and accessories with the world. EthereallPrincess aims to promote “slow, sustainable, ethical fashion.” You can find gold-lined deep jade bracelets, stone-pendant necklaces, faux-fur hats and hot pink balaclavas all at EthereallPrincess. At EthereallPrincess there is no shortage of show-stopping accessories, but I’d recommend the “Tiffany Fur Hat” or the “Eva Necklace.”
The iconic Telfar shopping bags can be seen everywhere, from celebrities’ Instagram pages to Stanford’s campus. And for a good reason: they’re eye-catching and minimalistic all at once. Telfar is a luxury, unisex fashion line based out of New York City. In 2005, Liberian-American Telfar Clemens created the brand, aiming to create genderless clothing that fits his fashion vision. Over a decade later, the world is beginning to catch up to this designer’s ideals. By the motto of Telfar, “Not for you—for everyone,” the bags are priced affordably compared to other luxury brands. There is seemingly only one catch—they are quite hard to come by, as the website is frequently out of stock! Still, there are other worthy Telfar products to direct your attention to, such as the jewelry or clothing options. I myself don’t own a Telfar, but my bougie oldest sister does. When she comes around with her medium dark olive bag, I like to snatch it up, strut around and imagine that it was mine!
Solely Fit ($-$$$)
Fitness enthusiast, design lover, Haitian-Nigerian-American and South Florida native, Stefania Okolie had long desired to develop a brand that supports and unites strong women, while telling a story of who they are. Solely Fit intends to “capture the beautiful narrative of a woman’s body and the core of who she is while empowering her to be all that she is inherently destined to be,” according to the store’s website. Solely Fit is a powerful collection that brings Okolie’s vision of unifying bold and daring women to life. Try the new Dermis collection, a set of deep earthy-toned athleisure wear that is designed to mold to any body type and make the wearer feel ready to take on the world.
Tia Adeloa ($-$$)
Featured by the likes of Vogue, Elle and Galore, fashion brand Tia Adeloa is a dreamy-modern neo-renaissance escape. From Nigeria, raised in London, and now based in New York, founder and designer Tia Adeloa created the brand from her college dorm room during the summer of 2017, using her art history background and passion for the Renaissance period as inspiration. She aims to rewrite fashion history for people of color. The brand features imaginative pieces, creating a sense of ethereal high culture. Browsing through the website is like walking through an immersive museum experience, as art is seemingly all around! For those looking for eccentric face coverings to match the rest of their regalia during the pandemic, try any of Tia Adeloa’s “Ruffle Masks.”
Buzzoms is a small business with a big mission, according to the shop’s website. The age of uncomfortable bras is over! Gone are the days of squeezing into too-small sizes that were not designed with curvier figures in mind. When CEO and Founder of Buzzoms Marshay Clarke began to develop boobs in middle school, she felt out of place and uncomfortable. 16 years later, she still faced issues with her chest, struggling to find a bra that actually fit her. That’s why she developed Buzzoms. “At Buzzoms we believe that women of all shapes and sizes should be able to go braless. Because well, we’ve been through enough. We’re not just here to support your girls, but to support you,” Clarke said on her website. Buzzoms carries a variety of products (that don’t require bras) like dresses, tank tops and bodysuits. In the near future I will be ordering a “The Swoop” tan bodysuit!
Riot Swim ($-$$)
Founded in 2016 by Monti Landers, RIOT SWIM is beloved for its “luxe meets minimalist vibe,” according to the company’s website. RIOT SWIM’s goal is for everyone to unapologetically wear swimwear and step into their utmost confidence. The brand uses “buttery, soft fabrics and clean finishing to flatter any shape,” and is marked by their brilliant command of deep browns and black. A“global destination for high quality, fashion-forward swimwear that can be worn season after season,” RIOT’s silhouettes are designed to make wearers stand out. The brand stresses that coverage and confidence don’t have to be mutually exclusive. However, there is often online debate about the quality of the material. Despite these quality debates, I still think the suits are worth the risk because of their eclectic color palette — ranging from vibrant greens to deep browns — their seamless finish and compelling designs.
ÖFUURË is an award-winning African fashion brand that features stunning pieces with vibrant prints and bold patterns for the everyday wearer. Originating in Nigeria, the Ishan word “ofure” means “it is well.” With this sentiment, ÖFUURË encourages their wearers to “be bold! be beautiful! be fabulous!” Even just scrolling through ÖFUURË’s product designs, bursts of color escape the screen and fill the senses. While there are many worthy and dazzling articles of clothing on this website, the “Bisola African Print Tiered Mini Dress” has taken hold of me!
Editor’s Note: This article is a review and contains subjective opinions, thoughts and critiques. This article contains recommendations based on lived experiences, research about the products and other online recommendations.