plaid blazer suit instagram brand
5 POC-Led Brands to Follow on Instagram Posthaste
04.08.19

There’s this saying, “you gotta let wack people be wack.” You know what else you gotta do? Let great people be great. And hype them when they are — as one of my fave activities, gassing, might suggest. I’ve also been known to enjoy scrolling Instagram, because it’s 2019 and I’m a human “person” or whatever. So, in a “with our powers combined”-like turn of events, I’m here to gas some great brands I found while scrolling Instagram.

And since the only thing I love more than gassing my friends is gassing amazing Black, Brown, Indigenous folk doing amazing things and making beautiful shit, the five brands below were all created by people of color. If you want to be intentional about where and how you spend your dollars, here’s a good place to start looking for inspiration. If you want to be intentional about who you follow on IG for that good good spring style inspo, this list is good for that, too.


ASHYA

 

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As a rave kid, I was pretty into fanny packs before they became a Thing. As an adult kid, I’m still into fanny packs, but I guess we call them “belt bags” now because: adult? (Still raving though. You can take my fannies but you can never take my fun.) So of course I’m into this Brooklyn-based design label featuring gorgeous “belt bags” and other travel-or-rave friendly accessories. ASHYA, created by Ashley Cimone and Moya Annece, aims to “unify function and style through its purposeful designs,” and it really hits the mark if I do say so myself. Gonna try and get my hands on this one before the next Papi Juice. Or maybe this one. Orrrrrr this one — who can say “no” to hand-stitched, citrine leather?!


Selva \ Negra

 

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Dude. DUDE. Spring has arrived and that means we all need a cotton-and-silk, strappy-topped, billowy-legged, banana-yellow plaid jumpsuit (see dreamy — and aptly named! — jumpsuit here) right?! I know it can’t just be me. Which is why I’m letting you all in on the little secret that is Selva \ Negra. Designers Kristen Gonzalez and Sam Romero found an immediate connection after meeting post-fashion school and united to create this gorgeous line influenced by their Latinx heritage that points to both tomboy feelings and bold feminine identities at the same time. Boom. Sign me up.


Orenda Tribe

 

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This brand is all about creating with consciousness, and uses sustainable design practices to bring us — the unworthy masses — pieces that are a mix of handmade, restored and repurposed. “Upcycling” never looked so good. I mean this one thousand percent: Exhibit A. Exhibit B. Exhibit C. Need I go on?

Because Amy, the founder, can explain her brand better than me:

Orenda Tribe is my soul journey. I believe that there is power in our choices, and that all of us have the power to make change for good.

A small team of artists and makers in Southern California and indigenous artists who live on the Navajo reservation, we are lovers of old things, inspired by the energy of vintage textiles. We can feel the lives they’ve lived before they’ve arrived in our hands, and we seek to continue this life cycle. With each Orenda Tribe garment we creatively approach the upcycling process to repurpose for the future.


Smart Squid

 

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If you’ve never googled “cephalopod intelligence,” well, that’s on you, and you’ll just have to trust me when I say squids are smart as fuck and Sarina, creator of SmartSquid the brand, is too. She focuses on creating pieces that spark “ecological conversations.” I for one am down to have either ecological or fashion-focused conversations about this T-shirt that I must purchase and crop immediately.


NORBLACK NORWHITE

 

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NORBLACK NORWHITE’s fashion and philosophies develop from “paying respect to the past, questioning the present and creating for the future.” Founders Mriga Kapadiya and Amrit Kumar were raised in Toronto but moved to India in 2009. NBNW was born out of a desire to re-interpret the ancient textile design practices Mriga and Amrit noticed were disappearing while they were exploring their roots. Now they mash ancient art forms up with their contemporary loves — like 90’s R&B. Thanks to NBNW and pieces like thisI can mash up my contemporary loves of looking good and smashing the capitalist imperialist white supremacist heteropatriarchy.

Feature photo via Selva \ Negra.

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