- Buyer's Guide
8 Black-Owned Brands That Should Be on Your Radar
In this month’s ‘Brands You Need to Know’ series, there was no question which community we needed to shine a light on – with the US and the world engulfed in protests against police brutality and overall inequality in the Black community, Black-owned carry brands are our focus.
And supporting Black-owned businesses – along with donating to causes directly – is an opportunity for us all to not only learn about great new brands but to use our dollars for good, to pour back into the Black community and show support.
So without further ado, here are 8 Black-owned brands that should be on your radar and that you can support today!
Mifland was created in 2011 by the brand’s founder and director Tobi Egberongbe, who has worked with big names including Lexus and New Balance. Tobi draws on a range of influences with Mifland, from photography and architecture to furniture and utilitarian design. But at the heart of each piece is a focus on taking the classic and timeless and making it bold with shape or color. You’ll find clean-lined rucksacks to lovely rounded duffels, both in striking leather tans or mixing palettes and uses splashes of paint. All while having a fine attention to detail and craft, with beautiful leather the star of the show.
The brand’s base is a studio warehouse in Atlanta, Georgia, with leathers sourced from Atlanta and New York. Most pieces are hand-cut and assembled, lending a uniqueness to each one. The personal stories and patinas that are captured in the leather are a big part of Mifland’s choice to focus on this material, not to mention creating goods that will stand up to a lifetime of use.
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Kelvin Verrett, founder of Urban Survival Gear, has come a long way since his first Kickstarter project in 2015. While you may have come across his creations originally under the One2Ten brand, things really took off under Urban Survival Gear.
The brand offers CNC machined pens and EDC gear and garnered a loyal following across the pen scene with their TiScribe-Bolt. Now on version 2, the pen stands out from the crowd with its unique bolt mechanism that integrates the clip, bolt button, and bolt carrier in one for long-lasting durability. The brand is currently in the process of moving from California to Texas where they’re setting up a much bigger production facility. You can follow along with the process on Instagram, where you’ll come for the pens and stay for Kelvin’s engaging personality and infectious enthusiasm.
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If anyone is going to appreciate a durably made bag – and call out those that aren’t – it’s bike messengers. Two Philadelphia-based bike messengers faced the problem of bags that just weren’t good enough and decided to do something about it. In 1998 Roland Burns and Ellie Lum joined forces to make their own bags, a small project that led to a full-time business thanks to the support and demand from bike messengers in Philadelphia and further afield too.
More than two decades in and R.E.Load is still going strong, handcrafting gear in-house in Philadelphia (fun fact: the R and E in the name stem from Roland and Ellie). You’ll find Roland hard at work crafting bags in Philly, while Ellie has relocated to Portland where she established Klum House Workshop but is still involved in developing gear for R.E.Load.
R.E.Load offers both standard and customizable bags, with a wide range of styles including hip bags, backpacks, messengers, saddle bags and more.
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Not a lot of 15-year-olds figure out how to make shorts not just for themselves but for others in their school too. But short on funds and eager to create, Paskho founder and CEO Patrick Robinson found himself doing just that in 1981. Fast-forward to 2007 and Patrick had fostered that creative energy through a wealth of design experiences with the likes of Giorgio Armani, Paco Rabanne, and Gap as head of their global design team.
An experienced designer who realized something was missing, Patrick strove for sustainability in business practices, before forging his own brand with sustainability and freedom through clothing in mind. Patrick was inspired by the technical performance available in fitness, outdoor and adventure gear and wanted to bring that performance to Paskho (which means “passion” in Ancient Greek).
The brand offers designer travel clothing that lets you do more with less, blending technical performance and properties with timeless urban style. Pieces that can explore and move with you throughout the journey of life, from home to work, play, and travel.
Sustainability is a big part of the brand. In 2019, 43% of their design fabrics were reclaimed, while 57% were bluesign® fabrics. Other sustainable practices include the use of recycled paper shipping envelopes, reducing their carbon footprint wherever they can, and offsetting it where they can’t.
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Stress reliever to fully-fledged business? Odin Leather Goods demonstrates what can be achieved with creativity, big dreams and hard work. The brand was founded in 2012 and is owned and operated by Odin and Rachelle Clack. But its origins begin in 2011, when Odin started crafting leather goods as a means of relieving stress while his first child was in hospital. A dining room table hobby flourished into a leather workshop based in Coppell, Texas, with a retail store located in The Colony, Texas.
Odin Leather Goods uses only the very best leather (from the likes of Horween) as their material of choice. And focus on clean, timeless pieces. Letting the leather be the hero, while nailing a modern Texan vibe with a little bit of attitude splashed in. Our favorite examples, see their ‘Tear of My Haters‘ drinking flask and Texas ‘Recycling’ T-Shirt. So good!
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Bricks & Wood is a streetwear brand based in South Central, Los Angeles. And the man behind it is Kacey Lynch, a firm believer in creating a brand that goes beyond product to focus on authenticity, storytelling, and community.
Founded in 2014, the brand was run from Kacey’s grandmother’s house but has gone from strength to strength over the years. Bricks & Wood integrates a slew of influences and features, offering street-ready style with quality craftsmanship and versatile designs that can be worn by men and women alike. The brand refers to their offerings as “rarewear”, classic pieces with timeless style that you’ll hold onto for years, items that tell stories and evoke memories.
Bricks & Wood uses their platform to support smaller communities like South Central and others, keen to provide opportunities for those less fortunate to showcase their skills and creativity. And Kacey is keen to set an example to younger generations from his community that they can create anything they want if they start with what they have, believe in themselves and work to grow it.
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It’s safe to say Glenn Liburd’s passion is denim. For 30 years he has lived and breathed the fabric, having learned to craft top-notch jeans as a patternmaker, designer, and master craftsman. Glenn’s love of denim was fostered in his native Trinidad where he worked in an apparel workshop making tough, functional jeans and other clothing. Apparel that his favorite characters from American films were wearing. Glenn states, “For me, the blue jean represented the uniquely American idea of opportunity for those who were ready to work hard, and take risks. I knew I wanted to make jeans and I wanted to do it in the USA. And if I was going to make jeans in the country where they were born, then where else but New York City.”
He continued to hone his tailoring skills in Trinidad before relocating to New York City in 2001 and immersing himself in the American denim industry. Glenn became a lead denim tailor for Levi Strauss in 2014, tasked with creating jeans for the brand’s Lot 1 bespoke denim program, an opportunity to create the most premium and completely custom version of the iconic 501 jean. Now he’s demonstrating you can continue to pursue your dreams at any age, stepping out with his very own collection at age 62.
Glenn teamed up with Daniel and Brenna Lewis from Brooklyn Tailors in 2019 to create Glenn’s Denim. The first collection takes inspiration from New York City’s ’70s and ’80s subcultures across art, music and culture. The collection almost exclusively uses American-made denim (including limited runs of American selvedge denim) and is designed and manufactured in New York City. Glenn crafts most of the collection himself, using vintage machines in a Brooklyn-based workspace. For producing larger orders, the brand turns to an expert denim factory in the Manhattan Garment District.
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Bravo Company was born from the philosophy that if you can’t find an existing solution to your needs, create one. Founded by Atiba Jefferson, Berto Liechty, and Rian Pozzebon in 2013, the brand was created to meet their demanding travel needs and to provide a platform for them to follow their creative ideas.
Aesthetically there’s a strong nod to the street and skate scene, with the brand getting playful across colorways in addition to ever-faithful stealthy black. However, don’t think functionality has been overlooked in favor of fashion here.
Designed with durability and practicality at the fore, their collections span everyday, travel, EDC and photography carry. In addition to their own range, Bravo has also teamed up on custom offerings with the likes of Andrew Reynolds, Geoff McFetridge, Anthony Van Engelen, and William Strobeck.
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If you know of any Black-owned brands in the carry space, please share in the comments!