Tracy Reese

Upcycled Fashion: Black Designers Leading the Sustainable Movement

Explore how Black fashion designers are leading the eco-friendly movement with unique upcycled designs that blend style with sustainability.


Dec. 21 2023, Published 8:49 p.m. ET

In a world increasingly aware of its environmental impact, a wave of Black designers is reshaping the fashion scene with a commitment to sustainability and upcycled fashion. These innovators blend style with conscience, proving that fashion can be aesthetically pleasing and environmentally responsible.

Thriving Sustainable Black Fashion Brands

  • Printed Pattern People: Shade Akanbi launched her ethical textile label, Printed Pattern People, in Brooklyn in 2014. She puts a modern spin on traditional ethnic materials and adds a touch of bohemian Brooklyn flair with lively textiles, prints, and patterns from around the world. What is the goal behind Printed Pattern People? The brand promotes a fashion lifestyle that values substance over keeping up appearances. It is about looking good and making a statement.
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  • GOODEE: This brand offers its customers a mix of clothing, home goods, and accessories. Byron and Dexter Peart, the brains behind it, are out to make a difference. They focus on tackling poverty, supporting marginalized communities, and pushing for gender equality. How? By backing traditional artisans and small brands globally. GOODEE moves past being just good design. The designs are made with the community in mind and doing good for the world.
  • CanDid Art: Candice Cox launched her Oakland-based artisanal jewelry and home decor line in 2011, drawing inspiration from the African diaspora, indigenous designs, and cosmic geometry. Her brand wants customers to understand that they craft every piece of jewelry from a mix of assorted chains, metals, semi-precious stones, and recycled materials. CanDid Art’s commitment to sustainability shows in the designs.
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Kind Socks: Frustrated by the struggle to find stylish and sustainable socks, Stephen Steele launched Kind Socks in 2017. Brand choices include colorful and playful sock designs sourced from organic cotton. The goal was to create fashionable and comfy socks but also leave a positive mark on the environment and community. This motto is not just about socks. It is a way of loving the world we live in.

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  • Hope For Flowers: Fashion legend Tracy Reese stepped into sustainability with Hope For Flowers in 2019, bringing us chic designs that are easy on the planet. Picture sustainable textiles like organic cotton, linen, Tencel, and cupro. Oprah and Michelle Obama have rocked Tracy Reese's classic designs, and now you can too. The brand promotes positive vibes with social and ecological responsibility that keeps customers looking good while doing good.
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Impact of Black Designers and Sustainability

Black designers today are reshaping fashion with innovation and morality by repurposing materials, embracing eco-friendly practices, and prioritizing ethical production. Redefining style while making an environmental impact works for good. And when it comes to looks, Black designer creations tell a story while urging consumers to be mindful. It is a movement transforming wardrobes and nurturing a more sustainable, inclusive global fashion culture.

The Future of Eco-friendly Black Fashion Brands

In the ecosphere of fashion, Black designers are not just creating clothing and accessories. They are crafting a narrative of sustainability, ethics, and style. By weaving together creativity and consciousness, they inspire a shift towards a fashion industry that values the planet and its people. In embracing the work of these designers, consumers can adorn themselves with style and wear their values proudly.

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