October is an important month for us as we celebrate Black History Month. Fashions Finest salutes this month by celebrating big and small realities in the beauty and fashion industry with you all.
Ph. Rodnae Productions, Pexels
The contribution of the Black communities in the UK has been underrated or simply unseen for too long. Yet Black Britons have enriched our cultural landscape and economy with vibes and stories coming from afar. Fashions Finest wants to celebrate black innovators and strong business women who make our life more beautiful.
Every month tinges with different colours and surges as the flag for a cause. Fashions Finest's Black History Month is a journey across people and ideas fueled by a courageous entrepreneur spirit and passion.
Tiph'arah is a UK-based haircare company born in Coventry, Midlands. The brand moved its first steps in the intimacy of a house - to be more precise - a kitchen. Jessica Oduro, the founder, was looking for intensive and natural options that could keep her Afro hair nourished and hydrated for longer. Failed to do so, she started to experiment with natural and organic ingredients at home until she found the right formulation for glorious hair. 'Tiph'arah means 'glory' in Hebrews, in fact! Tiph'arah's hair butters aim to strengthen the hair strands, hydrate and promote healthy growth. The product range, consisting of three types of hair butter (Shea Cocoa Mango, Paw Carrot and Shea-Mang AVO'), is made with 90% of pure and organic ingredients from Ghana and the remaining sourced in Europe at high standards.
Aviela (read [a-vee-el-ah]) is a word used in Northern Ghana for 'good', 'nice' or even 'beautiful'. This word conveys very positive vibes. Aviela is the child of Patricia Monney who, during a family holiday in Ghana in 2007, was introduced to the power of raw, unrefined shea butter to heal her little daughter's ankle. Patricia learnt about shea butter anti-inflammatories properties and, once back home in the UK, she focused on expanding her knowledge on shea butter. She found a way to work the natural ingredient without compromising the natural properties and qualities of shea butter. The solution was her kitchen helper which gives Aviela products that superb weightless whipped consistency. Aviela offers a range of skincare and body care for all skin types with 100% pure, unrefined shea butter. Patricia sources her shea butter ethically from a cooperative of 25 women from the village of Gurugu in the Northern region of Ghana.
Pamoja (read [pam-oh-jah]) is a Swahili word meaning 'together' and is inspired by formulator and founder Sarah Taylor's Tanzanian/British heritage as well her skin journey. During pregnancy, she experienced severe sensitivity and succeeded in finding the solution by herself. She worked on her own products and formulations gaining also some spotlights in national magazines.
This independent, black-owned company offers natural skincare with high performance and quality standards. Cruelty-free and environmentally friendly, Pamoja takes equal care of sensitive skin and the environment with sustainable packaging, ethically sourced botanical ingredients and zero palm oil. Sarah thinks that 'everyone deserves to feel good and that when you are kinder to yourself, it will help you be your very best.' For Sarah 'Black History Month is an opportunity to be more inclusive, to shine a spotlight on the contributions and the challenges we face so that we can better understand our collective history every single month of the year.'
Meet Wax + Wraps
For many of us, the pandemic represented a forced stop; however, this suspended time allowed us to reset priorities and rebuild ourselves. This happened to Jaqueline Shaw with Wax + Wraps. The fashion expert and entrepreneur overcame the COVID-19 backlash thanks to her acumen and love for fashion design. She realised how many people get interested in handmade and sewing during the pandemic and she also noticed how popular were and are still crafting subscription boxes.
Jaqueline, who has an MA in Ethical Fashion, is passionate about Africa and traditional fabrics. She put this personal love in her own subscription box by sourcing unique textiles printed, woven or knitted by hand in African states and regions. 'Other sewing boxes do the job but they are all very similar and I felt that they don’t inspire me to learn more about the people or even to source responsible fabrics and textiles too. My Master's degree in Ethical Fashion from the UCA Epsom, taught me that in this fashion industry, WE the consumers are the change we want to see. We are responsible for the impact of the industry on our planet and our purchasing decisions can build or break the industry. And its environment impact.'
Jaqueline thinks that 'Africa is Fashion's Future' and has been spreading awareness at previous London Fashion Weeks and events in Africa and the States. We could not but totally agree on that. Her sewing box does not just quench our thirst for crafts but also disclose stories from beautiful lands and people as no other service does.
Saka Luxe Beauty
Many feels puzzled by the length and complexity of cosmetic labels. This exact reaction is behind Saka Luxe Beauty, a UK natural hair and skincare company founded in Bristol in 2020. Available on Etsy, eponymous of everything handcrafted, the brand's ethos is based on creating simple and affordable products to moisturise and nourish hair, beard and body. Every jar of butter, every bottle of oil is handmade in small batches to ensure a caring and luxurious feel.
Jessica, Patricia, Sarah and Jacqueline are just four of the many black businesswomen that turn their creative verve or necessity to express themselves and made a living from their passion. Black History Month is important to us because the majority of the black-owned businesses are too small to gain the deserved visibility on the media and still struggle in this overcrowded industry.
We invite you to have a look around and discover the authenticity of these companies and that of many similar ones. As you and we shop independent and black-owned, we can support these individuals and make a little but significant change in their lives, ours, and the way we shop.
Fashions Finest is happy to bring you these personal stories and call all the black-founded companies to get in touch to join us and build together a network of creators beyond Black History Month.
- Black History Month
- independent brands
- Natural Hair Products
- ethically sourced
- Organic Products
- African Fashion
- African Prints
- Black British
- Black women
- Black Owned business
- Black businesses
- Body Care
- Subscription box
- Dry Hair
- Sensitive Skin
- Afro Hair
- Afro Hair Company
- Afro Hair Products
- Wax + Wraps
- Sourcing in Africa
- Jacqueline Shaw
Nitho means spin. Spinning is an ancient textile art form in which plant, animal or synthetic fibres are drawn out and twisted together to form yarn, by simple hand tools, the spindle and the distaff.
Maddy Stringer, born in Somerset, UK, is a recent fashion design graduate from Edinburgh College of Art. Her specialism lies in textile and material development, exploring tactility and three dimensional surfaces for fashion. Her graduate collection took inspiration from beauty in the mundane and the human desire to collect, focusing on her own childhood collections. Juxtaposing the traditional ornate patterns found in the miniature Persian rugs of her childhood doll's house with the bright, structured plastics of her hotel soap packet collection allowed Maddy to create unusual and unexpected surfaces that then informed her packet like silhouettes.
Born in Chile into a family of Italian and Spanish immigrants, educated by English ladies in a school that was all about British values and traditions, raised near a port city with a strong multicultural heritage, she has known from her early years the very best of many worlds.
As a self-made slow fashion designer – with studies in fine arts, architecture and culinary arts – she started Alpaca Samka in 2007, working with Aymara weavers from the Andes highlands of Chile. She travelled to many isolated, and it would seem, almost forgotten villages for more than two years, living in harsh conditions between 2,800 and 5,800 meters (9,186 – 19,000 feet) above sea level to rescue ancestral weaving and braiding techniques.
Andrea only works with natural fibres, mostly with alpaca yarns from animals bred on natural pastures, hand spun and hand woven by indigenous communities.
Her collections are based on traditional Andean methods and British weaving patterns keeping the legacy of both the Andes native peoples and the immigrant pioneers of South America.
She values simplicity and authenticity, where less is more, creating timeless collections, quality textiles with an infinite lifespan.
Her work has received a nomination to the “Best Performance in the Sustainable Luxury Awards” and has exhibited in important fashion shows such as “Ethical Fashion Show” in Paris and the “Latin Trends”.
Andrea is now located in the UK working from Gloucestershire after being selected by the UK DIT Latam inbound investment program.
Linda Blissett is a fashion /textile designer, specialising predominantly in niche handwoven fabrics which she designs and hand weaves herself and creates one off couture pieces. She graduated from Middlesex & Portsmouth University with a BA honours in Constructed Textiles and H.N.D Textiles for Fashion.
Stylistically, Linda's work is a blend of her own handwoven multi-textural fabric designs incorporated with her Avant Garde couture designs. I like to breathe new life into fabrics by upcycling found fabrics and incorporating them into my designs. Linda has also recently started to work with Shakespeare at the George theatre company (affiliated with the RSC) in Huntingdon Cambridgeshire. She will design and produce a few pieces for them for future productions each year.
Linda showcased for the first time at London Fashion week with Fashions Finest a platform for emerging designers in September 2014. Since then has shown in London/Paris fashion weeks for emerging designers. She was also a finalist for the John Singer Sargent art prize (Broadway arts Festival). Her collections takes its’ inspiration from Celtic mythology to the mood and style of the Edwardian Avant Garde, to the seasonal ebb and flow of the British Isles, from Autumnal woodlands, insect wings, and tree bark and the undulating patterns of seaweed left by the outgoing tide.
No two pieces of Linda's work will be identical, although themes flow from one piece to another. She has an affinity for colours and textures and likes experimenting with variety of different forms of media. building these into an intricate architecture using modern and traditional methods worked into an eclectic art form.
Her intention is to echo these powerful elements while creating something fresh and new transforming the wearer and turning any event into a modern Fairy-tale.
"I take elements of what inspires me and put those elements into how I perceive the design - It's fused together, my interpretation really"
After a short break In 2018 Linda has rebranded her design business to concentrate on her couture designs, and has introduced new collections, since from moving from London and now based in Cambridgeshire . Her pieces are available for purchase or one-off event hire. Whether you're attending a party, event, premiere or red carpet event. You can be assured that Linda's exclusive designs are suitable for all occasions.