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As a parent, it’s important to have open and honest conversations with kids about race, equality and how to actively be anti-racist as they grow. One simple way to foster equality at home is by stepping away from big companies and supporting small Black-owned businesses and brands.
If a closet upgrade is in order for your children, here are some of our favorite Black-owned kidswear companies to buy from.
When Chelsea Coulston’s daughter asked for a dress with scientists on it, the mother of two realized there was a giant void in the market. Unable to find a dress that matched her daughter’s interests, she decided to make one.
On a mission to give girls the same availability to STEM-inspired clothing as boys, Coulston developed Annie The Brave, a collection of whimsical play dresses. She hopes her company proves that girls can be anything and interests like science, space and construction are for everyone.
Temidayo Adedokun wanted to spread the warmth, vibrance and joy of African culture she has carried with her to others. While pregnant with her son, she discovered the gap in clothing and decor representative of her Nigerian roots. Everything she found lacked traditional colors and patterns, or was a safari theme.
Ade + Ayo, a collection of African-inspired children’s goods, was created to fill this void. The name, which means “crown” and “joy” in Yoruba (a Nigerian language), is a reflection of the pride and happiness children bring to their parents’ lives.
Sanjay Smith is a mom on a mission. When she recognized the lack of unique, eco-friendly options available for children, she decided to start her own brand. Founded in 2013 by the mom of three, Le Petit Organic provides clothing and accessories that are safe and healthy for kids ages 0-8.
The brainchild of Nina Westbrook, wife of NBA All-Star Russell Westbrook, Minibrook is a Los Angeles-produced line of sustainable styles, which include rompers, pullovers, dresses, tees, ‘cozy pants’ and onesies.
Inspired by her own kids — Noah, Jordyn, and Skye — Westbrook wanted designs that were a combination of stylish, functional and sustainable. In an effort to give back, a portion of all proceeds each quarter is donated to a nonprofit organization that uplifts and serves youth populations.
Shun Moore was pregnant with her third child when she got the itch to create. As a blended Black family with Asian, Pacific Islander, Hispanic and European roots, it was important to Moore that her children grow with self-awareness. In an effort to create an opportunity for families to teach culture through self expression, Marlo Bea, a collection of handmade head wraps, was born.
3. Youth Masks
Seven isn’t just a number for Alayna Dunklin; it’s the exact number of letters in the first, middle and last name her her sons, Dalante Donnell Dunklin, Jr. and Dashiel Donnell Dunklin. When she was 29 weeks, the expectant mom was searching for clothes void of slogans, sayings, prints and patterns, but was coming up short.
Dunklin launched SEVIIN, derived from the Roman number for seven (VII), to provide simple, neutral and high-quality clothes for kids ages 0-3T.
2. Baby Bonnets
Childhood, but make it fashion! Designed with the littlest fashionistas in mind, The Little Posh Co. takes aim at designing fashionable apparel for kids through stylish collections. Items like waist capes, which can be worn as a skirt or a cape by your tiny superhero, as well as dresses with glitter mesh overlays will make your tot the trendiest one on the block. Founder Liyah Askew-Shannon launched her company on the belief that clothes won’t change the world, but the girls who wear them will.
Like many expectant moms, Shennel Fuller announced she was pregnant and well-intentioned gifts began to arrive. Fuller found herself torn between two extremes in kids' clothing with little room for her minimalistic yet fashionable aesthetic. Determined to develop a brand that combined key basics with a fashionable twist, Miles and Milan was born. The collection includes bodysuits, tees, sweatshirts and sweatpants, which all feature the brand’s trademark starry-eyed smiley face.
Created in 2019 in response to the growing concern about the toll textile waste is taking on the environment, Alf-Phi was launched by cousins Sarah-Marie Parish and Tia Robinson. Using only pre-loved, vintage and deadstock textiles to handcraft every garment, the company produces eco-friendly, sustainable children's clothing. In an effort to be completely waste-free, Parish and Robinson ensure no usable scrap of fabric is discarded and all packaging is either made from recycled or compostable materials.
Tina Dixon Spence established Buddha Babe in 2014 as a line of luxurious and practical items that provide comfort and style to kids' apparel and accessories. The mom of two boys started the business from her dining room table when she couldn’t find bibs to match her son’s style. She taught herself to sew from videos on YouTube and grew the business as an e-commerce platform. In 2020, the store opened a brick-and-mortar location in Philadelphia with an aim to not only provide luxury products for babies and children, but to employ local residents and use the space to host community classes.
For more stories like this, check out:
- 11 surprising Black history facts to teach your kids
- Serena Williams on the Qai Qai doll and wanting to 'share joy'
- 32 books bestselling authors recommend to honor and celebrate Black history