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Aurora James: Pioneers Who Have Shaped America’s Fashion Industry


The creator of the clothing line Brother Vellies, Aurora James, has become well-known in the business for her dedication to social justice and her creative designs. James, a designer of Trinidadian and Canadian heritage who was born in Toronto, has come to represent the meeting point of activism and fashion.

Founded in 2013, Brother Vellies is well-known for its unique accessories and shoes that honour traditional African workmanship. James actively works to empower African artisans, promote sustainable economic development, and preserve traditional craftsmanship. Her work transcends beyond the boundaries of aesthetics.

Her commitment to ethical and environmental processes is one of the defining characteristics of Aurora James' influence on the fashion business. James has established herself as a leader in the sustainable fashion movement during a time when the environmental effects of fashion are being scrutinised more and more. Brother Vellies leads by example in the business by using environmentally friendly materials and ecologically conscious production techniques.

James has also been a strong supporter of fair labour laws, making sure that workers who are craftspeople in the production process are paid fairly and have safe working conditions. Fashion can be a good agent for change, as demonstrated by Aurora James, who blends aesthetics with ethical issues.


In addition, Aurora James has made a major impact on the conversation about representation in the fashion business. Amidst worldwide protests for racial justice in 2020, James unveiled the "15 Percent Pledge." This campaign asks big-box retailers to dedicate a minimum of 15% of their shelf space to Black-owned companies, in line with the percentage of Black people in the UK.

The goal of the 15 Percent Pledge is to remove structural obstacles that have traditionally prevented Black designers and entrepreneurs from pursuing their dreams. James' activism has challenged the established quo and forced the fashion industry to be more representative by igniting discussions about the importance of diversity and inclusion.

The significant contributions made by Aurora James to the fashion industry have not gone unnoticed. She was recognized as one of TIME magazine's 100 Most Important People in 2020, demonstrating her influence outside of the fashion industry. Her dedication to sustainable methods and social justice has won her recognition and established a benchmark for the sector. She is also the author of the memoir WildFLower which was published in 2023, where she shares her story.

As a pioneer of Black American fashion whose vision goes beyond the catwalk, Aurora James is a shining example of change in the business. She has shown that fashion can be an effective vehicle for social change through the use of Brother Vellies, sustainable practices, and the 15 Percent Pledge. James' legacy inspires future designers and acts as a constant reminder that, at its foundation, fashion is a reflection of the varied, inclusive, and socially conscious society we hope to build as the industry develops.

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