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
Award-winning celebrity hairstylist Dionne Smith introduces a magic trick for all hairdressers: the Ebony Braiding Doll. The beautiful Ebony is a new way to learn how to cut and style Afro-textured hair thanks to her soft type 4 coils.
We know well how curly and Afro-textured hair needs special care to maintain its luscious beauty and health. Sophia London, a new haircare brand, answers this 'emergency hair call' with its official launch.
Afro cuts are on our radar for Spring/Summer hairstyles. A-list hairstylist Stefan Bertin - who counts the likes of Letitia Wright, Hannah John Kamen, Elle Eyre, Sabrina Elba, AJ Odudu, and many more amongst his clientele - has revealed how natural hair textures can get the '70s hair look that is so hot right now.
With the hair salons closed and everyone on locked in their homes, lots of ladies will be wondering how to maintain their hair. So we decided to call upon on hair specialist Claire Martin to provide some simple tips especially for all the natural Afro hair ladies so they can keep their hair moisturised and looking good all lockdown long.
Over the weekend, i had the pleasure of attending the Curly Hair Festival at the ILEC Conference Centre in London. I had previously attended a number of the Natural Hair Week events in London so I was excited to see what the founder of the iconic event Vinna Best had in store following the recent rebranding from Natural Hair Week to Curly Treats Festival rebranding.
After years of attending hair events, i’m always astounded by the number of natural haired lovelies that attend and in this, i’m sure that they were not disappointed by the offering in this instance. Throughout the day guests were treated to hair and health workshops, demos and interactive discussions, a fashion show in celebration of Black Girl Magic and of course some of you favourite brands such as Cantu beauty, Creame of nature, Mixed chicks and Softn’ Free were in attendance as alongside some amazing independent brands. Popular influencers such as MahoganyCurls, Lekoia Lee and the girls from Curlcuture were also on deck taking part in workshops, discussions and meet and greets. I especially loved the fact that men were catered to with a dedicated afro men’s hub which offered free shape-ups, beard maintenance and skin care advice for the man in your life. For mini curlies, there was an empowHER lunch and a children’s corner which provided fun interactive activities and storytelling.
It was great to catch up with CEO Vinna Best for Fashions Finest as one of the things that aided and encouraged my natural hair journey definably has to be natural hair events.
While straight and silky hair is perfect for going out to an elegant event, a wavy look is sometimes the more appropriate style when going to a more casual event.