Get to know five of our favorite Bay Area fashion brands run by Black women.
Sherri McMullen, founder of Oakland store McMullen.
(Courtesy of @shopmcmullen)
In the 15 years since she opened her namesake Oakland flagship, Sherri McMullen has been a force for fashion good and a style star in her own right. The concept shop is loved and lauded from coast to coast for featuring global and local brands with a focus on emerging African and African-American fashion and home décor designers. McMullen has grown in recent years, taking her game on the road with pop-ups in Los Angeles and Detroit and, last year, she opened a 10,000-square-foot warehouse space in L.A. Look for bold and elegant styles from a roster of labels including Christopher John Rogers, Diotima, Khiry, Tibi, Sergio Hudson, Kamperett, and Jacquemus.
// McMullen, 2257 Broadway (Oakland), shopmcmullen.com
Taylor Jay Collection
Taylor Jay, designer/owner of the namesake collection and Oakland shop.
(Courtesy of @shoptaylorjay)
Like so many founders, Oakland designer Taylor Jay was inspired to create her business to fill a need. What was she hunting for? Elevated, comfy and simple-chic silhouettes designed for a woman's ever-changing body. She realized her dream five years ago with the launch of her anything-but-basic basics (dresses, skirts, jumpsuits, tops) collection, designed for women of all sizes and body types. Garments are made from certified eco-friendly fabrics and use environmentally safe dyes at an Oakland factory—where ethical sourcing and fair labor practices are the order of the day.
// Taylor Jay, 2355 Broadway, Suite 1 (Oakland), taylorjaycollection.com
Aliya Wanek's Sanaa dress.
(Courtesy of @aliyawanek)
Oakland designer Aliya Wanek has a simple mission: create sustainable and ethically sourced styles that allow a woman's individuality to shine through. Everything in her eponymous label is handmade in the Bay Area from natural fibers. Both the Jorja dress, a mid-length number with pockets, puff sleeves and elasticized waist, and the Rumi jacket, a three-quarter-length quilted cover with hidden front pockets, are representative of her effortless aesthetic. And like most of the tightly edited line, they're crafted of hemp and organic cotton. We're huge fans of Wanek's vibrant colors (fuchsia, marine blue, and pine), clean silhouettes, and cool detailing. // aliyawanek.com
Lauren Harwell Godfrey in her Corte Madera atelier.(Christopher Stark)
To say that Marin-based jewelry designer Lauren Harwell Godfrey has a Midas touch is an understatement: She works 18-karat gold, precious gemstones, and vibrant enamel to brilliant effect. The handcrafted and eye-catching pieces (rings, earrings, medallions, and necklaces) take inspiration from ancient cultures, textiles, and motifs. Jewelry is made to order and often features delicate hand engraving on the back. Godfrey recently created the Black Onyx Heart—with 100 percent of the profits going to the NAACP. Envisioned as a healing talisman, the stunning black onyx, diamond, and 18-karat pendant ($2,500) features Godfrey's signature triangle motif down the center…it looks like a broken heart that has been put back together. // Schedule an appointment to visit the Corte Madera atelier by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org;harwellgodfrey.com.
Beija Flor Naturals
Beija Flor founder Stevonne Ratliff.
(Courtesy of @beijaflornaturals)
From ridiculously moisturizing (and multi-purpose) organic buttercream to glow-enhancing agave aloe polisher and nourishing body + hair honey, Beija Flor Naturals products are chockfull of organic and nutrient-rich botanical ingredients from Brazil. Oaklander Stevonne Ratliff founded her natural skincare and haircare biz in 2013, after being inspired by the healing properties of many of the vitamin-packed botanicals she encountered while living in Rio de Janeiro. Handmade soy candles, botanical smudge sticks, and probiotic deodorant are also part of the small-batch (and affordable) mix. // beijaflornaturals.com.