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The deep, prolific and fundamentally sick-as-hell canon of Black-owned clothing brands for men, not to mention the expanse of Black designers helming independent labels and established houses alike, deserve to be acknowledged, celebrated and supported all year round, not just in February. After all, it’s these same brands — names you surely know, like Off-White and Wales Bonner, and ones you haven’t yet stumbled across — that are igniting cultural conversation, introducing novel ideas to the industry and reinventing the future of fashion in a more equitable, innovative and fun way every season.
28 Essential Menswear Brands Every Stylish Guy Should KnowFrom Corridor and Knickerbocker to Norse Projects and Story Mfg., these are the stylish brands that should be on your radar
But it’s also true that while Black designers have a concrete impact on the fashion we know, love and wear, the barriers to entry and systemic issues people of color face make it impossible to claim that intentional efforts to champion Black-owned clothing brands aren’t necessary. Fashion is a reflection of the culture at large; it doesn’t operate in a bubble. And while the industry has been making strides in recent years, there’s a long way to go.
As such, we’ve taken the time to highlight twenty Black-owned labels, brands and designers to support in one of the most finite ways you can: with your dollar. These industry heavyweights and emerging designers alike are producing remarkable apparel and challenging what it means to be stylish in 2024, and their aesthetics range from everyday sweats to future-funked tailoring to streetwear royalty. From Off-White to Denim Tears, here are 20 Black-owned clothing brands and designers that every man should absolutely know.
If there’s one name on this list that you know, it’s Off-White. Arguably the most important label of the 2010s, Off-White remains relevant even after the passing of the late, great Virgil Abloh, and one of the highest-earning labels in all of fashion. It’s popular for a reason. Abloh’s genius designs are easy to style despite their aesthetic complexity, and with the clout built off the back of “The Ten” sneaker collection and hypebeast culture, Off-White’s apparel and footwear are no-brainers for budding streetwear fanatics and old heads alike.
The only name on this list that might match Off-White’s cultural cache, Jerry Lorenzo’s Fear of God has become a force in fashion, dabbling in everything from fine Italian tailoring (FOG was tapped by Zegna for a laid-back suiting collection) to the brand’s semi-affordable ESSENTIALS line, now the official uniform of creative directors and unemployed artists everywhere. Championing California-centric styling and involved in a slew of relevant (read: shoppable) collaborations, they’re the Black-owned label of the moment.
The cotton wreath has become a recurring motif in Tremaine Emory’s work with the brand Denim Tears. He uses denim and his collaboration with Levi’s to explore the history of slavery in America. In a Vogue interview back in 2020, Emory talked about his thought process, which I’ve always interpreted as equal parts design and storytelling. “We need to find new modes of conversation, new ways to send smoke signals about old stories — and these aren’t just black stories, they’re human stories, American stories,” Emory said. The brand has since expanded into knitwear, hoodies, hats and other accessories. Emory is creating something tangible that is grappling with the history of the United States, and telling that story through a whole new lens.
It’s fair to say that Wales Bonner is one of the most promising new menswear brands in the last few years and the popularity of their collaboration with Adidas has only helped its meteoric rise. The brand was founded by Grace Wales Bonner and has explored clothes through the lens of the African diaspora. One of the standout looks in a recent collection paired a new Jamaican national soccer team jersey with tailored black trousers and snakeskin boots. The clothing looks great, but more interestingly you can feel Bonner exploring her own identity and background through the clothes, and this practice has led to her becoming one of the most important young designers in recent years.
Nicholas Daley’s namesake brand, launched in 2015, is a unique blend of U.K. and Jamaican influences. I distinctly remember seeing a collection of clothing from 2018 and completely understanding the design language and perspective. It was like looking at photos of my own family from decades ago — the way the clothes draped, the way the models wore their hats, the patterns, the cut, it all made sense. As the brand has grown, Daley has continued to lean into his inspirations, reinterpreting his history and displaying it in a fresh way. It’s a brand that’s an ode to the Caribbean, its people, its style and how it influenced the way we dress.
Chris Echevarria, the founder of Blackstock & Weber, has not only made loafers popular in the modern era, he’s managed to help men completely rethink the way they see the shoes. In one of the brand’s first lookbooks, the chunky loafers were presented right next to a pair of Jordans. B&W doesn’t see loafers exclusively as a dress shoe — they believed that they should be worn in an everyday context. By styling their unique heavy-sole loafers with streetwear staples like a hoodie and sweats, alongside distressed denim and fleece jackets, B&W has manifested a loafer boom. The brand’s storytelling and lexicon is all about rethinking how you wear these classic shoes, a mission that has spread into collaborations with brands like J.Crew, 3Sixteen and even Rocky Mountain Featherbed outerwear.
If you thought Echevarria’s output ended with footwear, you’re sorely mistaken. Academy, a 2023 launch, the sister brand to Blackstock & Webber, is reinterpreting classic American prep style through a new lens, with uniform staples and luxe colligate-leaning vibes that are dashingly refreshing and devilishly on-trend. The upstart label’s output already includes track-style sweatsuits and fine tailoring, with more to come in 2024.
Originally tied to the Black wave of design associated with Kanye West — Abloh and JJJJound’s Justin Saunders are likewise among those ranks — Heron Preston made a name for himself in the late aughts and 2010s with iconography-laden streetwear, and hasn’t looked back since. Combining his otherworldly sense of the cultural pulse with bold takes on casual styling, his not-so-basic basics are groundbreaking.
Connor McKnight’s story is an inspirational one: The Brooklyn-based designer started his inaugural cut-and-sew collection out of his bedroom deep into the pandemic, interpolating outdoor workwear and functional designs into high-concept designerwear by hand. That’s not to say that his offerings are infinitely wearable; McKnight’s mission statement centers around exploring “the relationship between normality and luxury in hopes of reestablishing the black mundane,” a pursuit he’s to date nailed with trendy technical-wear and prep-adjacent leisure.
The Brooklyn Circus has modern takes on Ivy classics like varsity jackets, sweatshirts and Oxford cloth button-downs. They’re also known for their collabs, the most recent being a collection with the Gap. One of the standout pieces is a reimagining of the popover button-down shirt with a freshly frayed hem. The brand’s founder, Ouigi Theodore, also included a black varsity with beige-colored piping running down the sleeve. The brand continues to reinterpret the way we dressed in the past for a present-day sensibility.
A product of Saville Row tradition and an NYC-born, London-raised black experience, Idris Balogun’s Winnie NYC is pushing the boundaries of classic men’s tailoring with eye-catching designs (many of which dig into ’70s style for inspiration) and fluid styling.
A combination Jamaican-English roots, blokecore, the ’90s rave scene and luxe menswear, Martine Rose’s 2017-founded namesake label is one of the most prolific in recent memory. Offering a barrage of everything from shirting to footy kits to crocodile-leather footwear, the Central Saint Martins product has carved a distinctive lane that earned the reputation of Virgil’s spiritual successor. Any well-dressed guy would do well to follow…and cop up.
Le Fleur is a lifestyle and apparel brand created by the Grammy award-winning musician, Tyler the Creator. It’s a brand with delicate sensibilities and a sprinkling of Tyler’s unique point of view. Loafers are paired with pleated trousers, and you can pick up some nail polish along with a custom French Waltz scent. Tyler is a world-builder at heart, and his creative output often jumps from music to clothing, all of which is handled with the precision you would expect from one of music’s leading craftsmen. Back in 2022, the brand even created a custom pop-up on a mountainside in Malibu, showcasing trunks, clothing and other accessories. There’s a classic elegance to the styling and the presentation, but the brand cuts through the noise and presents something that feels wholly of the present while still looking to the future.
Vinny’s is a shoe brand based out of Copenhagen created by Virgil Nicholas. They are primarily known for their loafers, but they’ve recently expanded into other footwear like mules. They also partake in the occasional collab, which has included tops and eyewear. The Townee loafer is Vinny’s bread and butter; it has a sleek silhouette and beautiful design details in the back with the reinforced heel. The brand also offers a more robust lug-sole loafer and an elegant snaffle-bit loafer. Vinny’s is a study in elegance and durability, and they continue to show their vision as they move onto different designs.
There’s been considerable recent hubbub on the status of NYC-native Kerby Jean-Raymond’s Pyer Moss label, but that shouldn’t detract from Jean-Raymond’s impact as one of the most prolific faces in modern menswear design. Extolled for his era-defining Spring 2016 NYFW menswear collection, in which the Haitian-American designer displayed a short film about police brutality while models walked the runway, the designer has continued to intertwine on-trend design with serious activism, storytelling and the Black experience, including through his longstanding partnership with Reebok.
At first glance, A-Cold-Wall’s GORPy, technically elaborate collections have more in common with a space suit than a hoodie, but founder Samuel Ross learned his craft as a protégé of Virgil Abloh before founding the London-based label in 2015. A-Cold-Wall certainly pushes boundaries — the brand has been lauded for its expansive use of materials and innovative Savile Row-style tailoring — but has become a fan-favorite to the Stone Island crowd and Rick stans alike. Quality prevails.
Union LA has long been a streetwearhead’s delight, with the LA-based shop playing retailer for many of the industry’s most sought-after brands. But since the introduction of their own in-house line in 2017, Chris Gibbs’ visionary label has produced hit after hit — including some very notable sneaker drops with Nike.
Post-Imperial is all about the fabrics. By using a rare Yoruban hand-dyeing technique called Adire, the brand creates uniquely stunning pieces that are one of a kind. It’s not hyperbole — there are very few master Adire dyers, and many of the patterns and designs have specific references and meanings passed down through generations. The brand’s founder, Niyi Okuboyejo, is still focused on creating clothing for today. It’s a brand interested in the past, borrowing techniques from bygone years but still very much interested in the way we dress presently. If you want clothing with a sense of meaning, history and brightness, turn to Post-Imperial.
A bootleg-turned-internet-sensation operation from Philadelphia creative Saeed Ferguson, All Caps Studio utilizes an at-home (if not surprisingly subversive) streetwear aesthetic not unlike Online Ceramics to great effect, churning out a variety of Black-championing prints and wavy designs across tees, sweats and more, most of which sell out pretty much immediately. Case and point: In partnership with fellow menswear label 18East, ACS managed to raise over $100,000 for organizations like the Philadelphia Community Bail Fund and Covid Bail Out NYC during the height of the Black Lives Matter movement with the now seminal “SILENCE IS VIOLENCE” tee.
At face value, Telfar Clemens’s eponymous brand, established in 2005, functions as a luxury handbag brand, but peel back one more layer, and you’ll find a kooky, expansive world of genderless garments — in the words of Clemens himself, “It’s not for you — it’s for everyone” — and a diaspora-driven interpretation of Black culture in America and beyond. Clemens has exerted his CFDA-awarded vision through collaborations with UGG, Olympic kits for Liberia and more. Not just a chic, it-girl accessory label, now is it?
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