Aurora James, Brother Vellies

Aurora James, Brother Vellies

Image credit: Instagram/aurorajames/

Aurora James is the founder and creative director of Brother Vellies, which she started in 2013 to keep traditional African design practices and techniques alive while also empowering and sustaining communities of (mostly) female makers.

“Growing up we spent a lot of time traveling. My Mother managed to curate a collection of vibrant, culturally infused fashion pieces along the way - silk kimonos, Danish clogs, elaborate hats. Hours would be spent in her closet imagining the glamorous women who would wear these traditional pieces. As I got older those imaginations came to life while reading fashion magazines, through the work of Steven Meisel, Richard Avedon and their cast of muses.”

Inspired by this, Aurora went on to pursue a career in fashion, journalism, art, music and photography, all of which fueled a growing desire to express her creativity and give back somehow on a grander scale. She launched her first official collection, Spring 2014, working with shoemakers in South Africa. Soon after, she expanded to work in Kenya and Morocco producing authentic, modern-day desert boots, shoes, slippers and sandals.

She is now based in New York City, overseeing artisanal production of luxury accessories right across the globe. She can regularly be found in the workshops, communing with the makers on collections. She won the International Canadian Designer of the Year Award in 2019, and, guess what… she counts Nicki Minaj and Beyonce amongst her clients.

Read more about Aurora and the Brother Vellies story here.

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