Aurora James is no new name to the fashion industry, especially amongst the seemingly small number of Black designers that have gained a hint of mainstream notoriety. However, maybe every designer has their day. Today, it’s definitely for Ms. James.
At a CFDA nomination party hosted by none other than one of my favorite designers, Brandon Maxwell, Aurora James was honored for her nomination for the Council of Fashion Designers of America’s Swarovski Award for Emerging Talent. Now, this moment matters for a few major reasons: First of all, James is the first Black female to be nominated in the category, and secondly, Brother Vellies is not your stereotypical “high-fashion” brand.
While the CFDA has been around for quite some time, the ongoing list of Black designers that have been honored have been…sparse, to say the least. James did win the 2015 CFDA /Vogue Fashion Fund and part of the 2016-2018 CFDA Fashion Incubator, but we’ve also seen Telfar and Maxwell Osborne, Carly Cushnie and Kerby Jean-Raymond of Pyer Moss, who is also a nominee for the Emerging Artist award.
In fact, BV’s branding is quite afrocentric: James employs women from South Africa, Ethiopia, Morocco, and Kenya to help expand the brand, one that has not only created sustainable jobs throughout Africa, but also introduced the world to traditional African footwear. The Black-owned, Brooklyn-based business isn’t one that just talks the talk, but walks it through ensuring that the diverse culture of Africa is shared. Yes, even in fashion.
Congratulations to all of the nominees for this year’s awards! We can’t wait to see what everyone tackles next! See you on June 4th.