Let's Celebrate Black History Month!

Today, we celebrate Aurora James, the founder of Brother Vellies, a shoe wear company that is introducing authentic African footwear to the United States.  The company has contributes to sustainable fashion by first developing sustaining artisan employment in Africa. Brothers Vellies makes sandals, shoes and boots in South Africa, Kenya and Morocco using ancestral methods of shoe making.  Their classic shoes are made from Kudu (a relative of the antelope) leather, which is a byproduct from government mandated culling to prevent over-populations.  Furs from rabbits and other animals come from farmers discarding the fur to make edible food.  Vegetable dyes are used in 70% their products, minimizing the harmful effects that chemical dyes have on the environment and workers who process the dyes in the fashion industry.  For more information on their sustainability practices please click on this link - http://www.brothervellies.com/site/sustainability

Aurora James, Founder of Brother Vellies

James started out as a model and then worked in publicity.  She did not have interest or experience in fashion designing but always was trying to explore her creative side.  "I founded Brother Vellies in January 2013 with the goal of preserving the shoe making craft in Africa and creating new jobs for the artisans in our workshops. I launched the first official collection, Spring 2014, working with shoemakers in South Africa. Not long after we expanded to working in Kenya and Morocco, to continue producing authentic, modern-day desert boots, shoes, slippers and sandals," says James.  "I've always been someone who's very hands-on," she explains. "That's how I learned about shoes, by getting into workshops and physically doing it."  With regard to creating a sustainable supply chain, she learned by fire by the internet.  "I don't have a formal education, so it's just about asking questions. I am a huge question-asker — I will go into a meeting and ask questions that I kind of already know the answer to because you can never be sure. Going into any situation with the idea that you already know anything is a mistake," James said.

Aurora James was one of the 2015 CFDA Vogue Fashion Fund Award winners, receiving a year mentorship and $300,000. 

Here are some of her beautiful designs.  Brother Vellies has a store in Manhattan. 

Cloudy Sphere Sandal - $584.00

Granny Lamu Sandal - $285.00

Brown Suede Erongo - $195

Gold Toe Cap Minis - $95

Shebeen Shoe - $295

Black Dhara Sandal - $781.00





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