CFDA / Vogue Fashion Fund’s Ethical Favorite
Founded by rising style icon Aurora James, Brother Vellies is the new ethical fashion label you need to know this season. Named a winner of the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund last year, this designer collection of handcrafted goods from South Africa, Kenya and Morocco is on every accessory lover’s lips thanks to a fierce fashion-forward aesthetic that evokes the African continent in locally sourced materials, wild textures and culturally inspired styling.
Artisanal & Aspirational
As seen everywhere from Vogue to The New York Times, the exquisite accessories from Brother Vellies merge an advanced designer aesthetic with earthy, elegant materials for a new signature look in ethical fashion.
While other brands might discard imperfect animal pelts, Brother Vellies takes a more thoughtful approach, making the most of every single piece according to traditional African practices.
By using wild, ethically sourced skins and hiding blemishes through careful positioning, Brother Vellies embraces a waste-not, want-not mentality and celebrates the occasional flaw as a unique memory of the animals' lives in the wild.
Each Brother Vellies item is entirely handmade by local artisans in the brand’s workshops in Africa, where makers receive fair wages and training from other skilled artisans – promoting the preservation of craft technique while facilitating economic development through job creation.
Goods are made to order, which eliminates excess inventory, reduces the number of energy-consuming machines on premises, and maximizes employment numbers and employee satisfaction. Plus, the fact that they are limited edition means you’ll be wearing something truly distinctive.
Originally launched as a footwear brand – its name is a reference to the velskoen, a traditional South African desert boot – Brother Vellies now offers a wide range of covetable shoes and sandals, including these attention-grabbing spring styles. Artisans in the brand’s Kenya workshop achieve brilliant color on the dimensional bows and strappy uppers by hand-dyeing leather with saffron and other natural elements, rather than a chemical dye. Other materials used in shoemaking, including organic cotton, are hand-dyed with natural tints like indigo.
Many of the brand’s shoes are assembled at its workshop in South Africa, a welcoming, diverse space that employs skilled artisans of all genders, backgrounds, tribes and sexual orientations and utilizes craft techniques honed over many generations. As each pair is entirely hand-made, using minimal machinery, they are able to produce a few dozen pairs per day.
Slow Fashion with Instant Appeal
Brother Vellies’ shoes are made exclusively from genuine, sustainable materials and carefully constructed to last for many years. Each pair is designed to be re-soled once the original soles are worn out – which is great news since you’ll want to keep these show-stoppers in your closet for as long as possible.
In the United States alone, an estimated 350 million pairs of shoes made from synthetic materials – including vegan leather – end up in landfills each year. By contrast, many Brother Vellies shoes are made from a base of repurposed Kudu leather, an animal byproduct stemming from the government’s mandate to reduce overpopulation. By making the most of these skins, the brand honors those animals, eliminates waste, and does away with the need to manufacture other unnecessary fabrics.
Made in Africa, Brought to Brooklyn
All Brother Vellies styles are sent from the workshops in Africa to the brand’s Brooklyn headquarters in bulk cargo shipments to ensure the minimum carbon footprint with maximum style impact.
Can’t get enough? Neither can we. We’re already craving these showstopping sustainable accessories from the Fall 2016 collection – a standout at New York Fashion Week.