Every month I will highlight a Black artist, form of entertainment, business, or social media personality to help to spread awareness of Black Excellence. Be sure to check here on the 2nd of every month!
I love clothes. A lot. Retail therapy is in my top three of coping mechanisms. So when I made the decision to support more Black owned businesses it only made sense that the first thing I looked up was places where I could support my clothes-aholic tendencies. Of course, when you look good in the clothes you're wearing people start to ask where you got the clothes from, so in this month's Monthly Spotlight I want to highlight some Black owned clothing stores (mostly online but some physical) that I support. To give you an idea of what they offer I've included some sample pictures, so if you see something you like please visit these stores and support their owners. Check the eight stores below:
(Click on the name of the store to visit their site, or the name of the owner to see their social media pages)
Haute Greeks Couture was the first of these businesses that I found. I first heard of this store at last year's Atlanta Greek Picnic. Despite the name, the owner of the store, who also is a member of Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority Inc., creates not only Greek paraphernalia but socially conscious clothing like the above. She is also on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook under the same name where she promotes her brand, her people, and of course her sorority. It's not all about talking though, as her line of "I Can't Breathe" shirts donate 20% of sales to the Eric Garner Family Support Fund. So why not look good and feel good doing it by buying one of these shirts, sweaters, tanks or hats?
HBCUGrad is the place to show that you are proud of being a graduate of one of the over 100 historically Black colleges and universities in the country. This site has t-shirts, tanks, hats, and sweaters that allow you to tell everyone you meet that yes, you are an #HBCUGrad. There are even designs for eight of the nine NPHC organizations (sorry Iotas) to show that you are both an HBCU Grad and Greek. To be an HBCU graduate is a source of immense pride, something the owner of this store emphasizes, so all of his clothes show that. Show some of that pride yourself with his gear.
Speaking of HBCU pride; have you ever noticed how stores stock all this paraphernalia for colleges like UA, LSU, Ole Miss and like but you hardly ever see stuff promoting colleges like Alabama A&M, Grambling or Tougaloo? Well the people behind the store Tradition Ever Since did. This store attempts to right that wrong by providing cardigans, lettermans, jackets, shirts and more featuring the logos, mascots, names and founding dates of historically Black colleges and universities. The store is also open to creating designs for other schools should the demand be high enough, and considering the fact that these items are sold in many HBCU bookstores and pay the respective school for using their name; it may be good for you to take a look and support this site.
For my sisters looking to make a bold statement about their heritage, you can't go wrong with the jewelry at Rachel Stewart Jewelry. The owner has been featured in JET magazine and her popular earrings, rings, bracelets and necklaces are very affordable and she often runs special discounts on pieces. Anyone looking to unapologetically show their pride in their Blackness can find something that appeals to them on this site, so take a look around today and see what catches your eye.
It's often the simple things that are the best. Abdul Chatman of Black Tag Apparel feels the same way; which is why his site features shirts and sweaters inspired by Delaware's famous "Blacktag" license plate. All of the high quality clothes come in black and white, and often feature symbols like the "Hands Up, Don't Shoot" pose and pride in all things Black. Seeing as how Black Tag clothing is supported by famous media personalities you can believe that you will be paying for the quality, but you can also believe that it will be worth every penny.
I had to put these two young business men together because they are both revolutionizing the bow-tie game with their success. Ayinde Muhammad is the 16 year old mastermind behind Ayinde Family Ties (his are on the bottom row). What started off as a school project turned into a full blown award winning business selling bow-ties and hankies from his website. Moziah Bridges is the 13 year old CEO of Mo's Bows (top row), a Memphis based company that has had its bow-ties and hankies featured on Shark Tank and Steve Harvey, just to name a few. Whether you decide to purchase one of Ayinde's affordable package deals or Mo's handcrafted, customizable bow-ties, hankies or t-shirts, you can rest assured knowing that both of these young entrepreneurs will use your money well. Ayinde is a public speaker and spoken word artist who often promotes good business skills and other values, and Moziah donates all of the profits from one of his bow-ties to the Go Mo! Scholarship fund for kids to attend summer camp. If you're like me and love a good bow-tie; why not support one of these young brothers making major moves?
I have to first say that I LOVE the Sleep Is 4 Suckers mentality. David Shands, the founder of this business describes the motto as a lifestyle; if you use the time you would normally spend sleeping (either actually sleeping or just not doing anything) to reach for your goals you would be a more successful individual. I know I have incorporated this philosophy into my life (probably too much...I never go to bed before 2 AM now smh) and will proudly wear this gear that promotes a more productive lifestyle. The popular wristbands, hats, shirts, tanks and hoodies of this Atlanta based store all advertise using the limited time that we have wisely, and that is definitely something I can get behind. If you ever find yourself wanting to learn more about this lifestyle decision you can listen to one of their motivational speeches or just pick up on a few of their many items online. I know you won't be disappointed.