Dec 16, 2016

Influencers: Aurora James Creator of Brother Vellies

Toronto-born, Brooklyn-based Aurora James has built the company into a force with which to be reckoned since its inception in 2013.

The Toronto native became obsessed with the local artisans designing vellies, a shoe style no longer so popular in Africa. In hopes of sharing her favorite shoes with the world and creating jobs for the struggling artisans, Aurora founded Brother Vellies. Today the store has multiple styles (all ecologically sustainable) that are designed by many artisans across Africa. things like producing Hood By Air’s first show and generally dabbling in different creative ideas. She went to Nigeria, Morocco, and Namibia with my good friends Darlene and Lizzy from William Okpo. and heard a lot about traditional African shoes like 'vellies,' which are desert boots, to 'baboush,' the traditional Moroccan slipper.

Brother Vellies produces all of its shoes with local artists across Africa and has recently expanded its manufacturing practices to collaborate with artisans in Namibia and Mali. Even more recently, James has made her first foray out of Africa—she’s partnered with a group of weave makers in Haiti for her new handbag collection. Frequently working throughout South Africa, Morocco and Kenya, James returned to one of her sites in Ethiopia to develop a high heel for her line. The founder partnered with the United Nations Ethical Fashion Initiative to raise money to bring Italian shoemakers to the underprivileged nation to teach her extensive group of artisans how to craft the perfect heel. A beautiful brand Aurora is building and I only wish her more continued success.

Support Brother Vellies below.


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