Brother Vellies has it all. Black-owned, female-owned, sustainable. Independent. Luxury. It’s as good as it gets. Focusing on chic, sexy footwear and accessories, the brand was founded in 2013 by New York designer Aurora James with the goal of preserving traditional African artistry. Inspired by her worldly travels, James couldn’t help but be inspired by the craftsmen she encountered and made the decision to have her products produced by local artisans across the globe. By doing so, Brother Vellies celebrates the unique culture, stories, and work ethic of the artisans and their communities, while gifting us with beautiful footwear. The shoes are glamorous and high fashion while still maintaining a down to earth feel- even though you’ve seen them on Zendaya, Snoh Aalegra, and yes, Beyoncé.
Traditional designs, textures, and materials found across Africa are the muse for the line: from South African vellies to zebra print mules, it’s all a celebration of tradition. Crafted in places like Ethiopia, Morocco, and Brooklyn, NY, the designs are vibrant, elegant, and equally flirtatious. You can wear them to a casual get-together or to the MET Gala which is what James did herself, rocking her own designs alongside Solange in 2019. So, whether you’re strutting around in the pink strappy heeled Bike Shoe, the dreamy Bowery Palms pumps topped with fluffy feathers or the ultra-chic bohemian Raffia Platforms, we all can agree that Brother Vellies has a shoe for any occasion. It’s like playing dress up, but for adults–and we need a whole closet full. The mid-high snakeskin Palms boot, a knockout favorite, even made a cameo in the cult film “Queen and Slim” this past year.
With endless companies constantly coming under fire for unfair labor practices, it’s a refreshing comfort to know that there are brands like Brother Vellies doing the right thing. Aurora James has proven that you don’t have to cut corners in terms of quality, aesthetic, and ethics in order to become a household name in the fashion industry.
There’s never been a better time to support independent brands. If you want to see Brother Vellies’ shoes and accessories in person, visit their store located in Brooklyn, NY, or take a look at their online storefront.