Estimated reading time: 5 minutes
Supporting sustainability goes hand in hand with supporting diversity – both help us strive for a better world in the future, where everyone can enjoy all our planet has to offer. Buying from sustainable brands owned by black and indigenous people of colour is one of the best ways to do that!
In order to celebrate BIPOC-owned eco-friendly businesses and inspire you to support them, we’ve put together a list of our personal favourites.
This is a lingerie brand that’s all about including people of colour. The founder, Shobha Philips, who is of south-Asian descent, has started the brand because she was frustrated with brands which only made ‘nude’ lingerie for white people.
To represent a wide range of skin tones, she has launched a brand which creates sustainable basic ‘nude’ pieces in a variety of shades for different skin tones. This way, the frustration of searching for a nude bra and only finding one suitable for pale skin tones is a struggle of the past.
However, Shobha’s story also goes to show that the problems with fast fashion brands do not end with environmental threats and worker abuse in sweatshops – these corporations are riddled with inequality from the moment clothes are made to the point where they’re displayed in stores. Brands like Proclaim are a solution, which can push for overall change. By supporting them, you’re not only buying from a person of colour owned business – you’re also fighting for the inclusion of people of colour worldwide.
2. Briogeo hair
Nancy Twine, the African American founder of this brand, grew up using natural home-made hair care products. Once she moved to the big apple, she found that the store-bought varieties, especially that for curly and thick hair, did not measure up to the homemade products she was using growing up.
She founded Briogeo hair to provide natural hair care free of chemicals such as phthalates or parabens, to people of all ethnicities, with all different types of hair.
We don’t talk about the struggle African American women face when searching for natural haircare enough. Somehow, the natural beauty and haircare market has been largely dominated by brands targeting white, upper middle class women – with disregard for the rest. Brands like Briogeo hair are pushing for wider availability of natural options for black women and could revolutionize the beauty industry to be much more inclusive in the future.
Keri Ataumbi, a Native American woman raised in the Wind River Reservation in Wyoming, makes jewellery into art. She combined the Native American tradition with modern ways of jewellery-making to create the signature style of her brand.
The Ataumbi Metals brand is where history meets modern art and where traditional designs are refreshed with a modern twist.
In today’s fast-paced world, we don’t appreciate the value of craftsmanship and tried and tested traditions nearly as much as we should. By taking a modern approach to popularize traditional craftsmanship, brands such as Ataumbi Metals can introduce those of us long disconnected from tradition with our history.
4. Two days off
This sustainable clothing basics brand, founded by Gina Stovall, is a climate-neutral wonder. As a full-time climate researcher, Gina has dedicated the two days off her day job to build a sustainable clothing brand fighting overproduction and crafting low waste, made-to-order garments.
Isn’t it empowering, to see women like Gina pursue a career in the sciences alongside entrepreneurship and excel at both? We can’t even begin to estimate how much positive difference Gina and other women like her can make in the world, by focusing their efforts on researching how we could make the world a greener place and applying this knowledge to entrepreneurship as well.
B. Yellowtail is a brand celebrating ancestral Native American tradition with apparel and jewellery handcrafted by Native American artisans. The founder, Bethany Yellowtail, was raised on the Crow Nation and is a member of the Northern Cheyenne Nation. Through her artistic vision, she wants to provide jobs for indigenous artists and fight for women’s rights.
All their designs are created in-house to support the entrepreneurial spirit of Native American, First Nations, and Indigenous creators. This not only preserves traditions, provides jobs and ensures good working conditions for the artisans, but it is also a much more sustainable option!
Do you have any favourites you’d like to share with us and others? Drop them in the comments below.
Looking for more?