For Black History Month 2019, we are celebrating Black queer creatives who are changing the world through fashion. Each piece is written by and about Black people. We are kicking off a month of exciting programming with a round-up of queer black brands from stylist Cee Sando. Enjoy! — The Qwear Team
I’ve never been one for New Year’s Resolutions. Instead, I look at the start of a year as a chance to make small tweaks to what I am already doing. Going into 2019, I decided the best change I could make was financial activism — investing in my own community as much as possible. “Financial activism” doesn’t mean donating money you don’t have — it means shifting where you spend the money you are already spending.
Shopping is political. Your hard-earned dollars can make a huge impact in the community where you spend it. Instead of buying clothing at huge corporations like Macy’s, why not put those dollars into communities you care about?
This past Tuesday’s violent hate crime against Empire star Jussie Smollett was a tragic — and far too common — reminder that the Black queer community needs support. Our intersectional identities leave us more vulnerable to these kinds of attacks.
If, when you shared a photo or quote from Martin Luther King Jr for his birthday, you wished there was more you could do to fight for racial equality, you may find that shifting your spending habits is a great place to start. Of course, it would be nearly impossible to make all your purchases within the Black queer community. Just a few minutes into the first episode of Netflix’s new show Trigger Warning with Killer Mike and you can see how difficult taking on this challenge can be. Tasked with buying exclusively Black for just 72 hours, Killer Mike finds himself in Athens, Georgia hungry, exhausted and sleeping on a park bench because he cannot find a single Black-owned restaurant with food sourced from a Black farm, nor a Black-owned hotel to stay in. So what about a different approach, instead of trying to completely overhaul spending habits, why not make smaller changes in terms of where you choose to spend your money.
This 2019, I am forming a new habit to be more mindful of where I spend my cash, and I challenge you to join me! Here are a few QTiPOC brands, businesses, and retailers to help you get started.
Patty Wack Vintage
Sabine Maxine Lopez’s online vintage store is a trove of incredible treasures handpicked with love. Sabine has an eye for quality and detail, plus unlike many vintage shops, her prices are incredibly reasonable.
This gender-free (not unisex, “because clothes don’t have any organs last time we checked”) clothing brand created by Stoney Michelli & Uzo Ejikeme has adorned the bodies of some of your favorite queers like Lena Waithe, Amber Closet, Cheryl Dunye and Ari Fitz. Says their website: “Our brand is for the non-conforming and bold at heart… Whatever shape or form you choose to exist in, we celebrate that!”
Black Queer Magic
Self-taught jewelry designer Vanessa B. Miller, the creative behind Queer Black Magic, designs and handmakes healing crystal and metal stamped pieces specifically with the queer and trans community in mind. Each piece in the shop is one-of-a kind and lets you wear your positive energy on your wrist, neck or ear!
Pyramid Seven is a Chicago-based company which creates menstrual underwear for all genders. Of their purpose, Pyramid Seven says “our underwear allows a person to wear any available menstrual product comfortably inside our boxer briefs without worrying about leakage, bagginess, or discomfort.” On top of that, the products are available in a wide range of sizes to fit an array of body types.
Jag & Co
Jag and Co is a queer Black-owned clothing line by the creator of Rainbow Fashion Week for people of all genders, specializing in custom suit pieces and committed to the use of recycled materials.
Ramdasha Bikceem and Shabina Toorawa are the entrepreneurs behind Herbal Botanicals, a magical CBD healing salve that can be used for pain relief, decreasing inflammation and swelling, massage cream, or aromatherapy. Composed of simple local ingredients- CBD sun grown flowers, arnica, lavender, shea butter and olive oil, the salve begins working immediately upon contact. It is important to note that since the THC is removed from the cannabis, there are no mind-altering effects.
Whit Hazen, Los Angeles
Whit McClure creates some of the most beautiful floral arrangements you have ever seen. If you have ever noticed gorgeous whimsical flowers on the tables at your favorite Los Angeles café or restaurant, they may just be Whit’s doing.
Show & Tell, Oakland
Concept shop, gallery, and gathering space, Show & Tell serves as a platform for sustainable, socially responsible apparel, accessories, and gift items. Think scented soy candles, unique greeting cards, printed scarves, T-shirts and aromatherapy balms.
Run by avid thrift shopper and fashion blogger Dannie Cherie, Hella Thrifty is an online shop focused on stylish throwbacks. Giving classic TLC and Fresh Prince vibes, the one of a kind pieces are ungendered and unabashedly black.
Based in Toronto, Queer Supply is co-owned by Black queer femme Sade Petlele (pictured). In addition to hand-made clothing that boasts queer pride, they sell hand-crafted journals, one with Vintage National Geographic maps as inside cover pages.
BEAUTY & WELLNESS
Project Q Salon, Los Angeles
Project Q boasts stylists highly skilled in curly hair, qpoc/poc hair, short hair, extreme color and gender-affirming haircuts. Along with being a super cool full-service queer owned and operated hair salon, ProjectQ also acts as a community center which provides over 700 free hair-cuts to LGBTQIA homeless youth every year.
The Beauty Mage, Los Angeles
Taryn Dean provides transcendental beauty services with the goal of having each client leave transformed and empowered. Says Taryn about her services “the ritual is meant to provide space for light talk therapy, aromatherapy, sound therapy, crystal healing, reiki, & tarot all wrapped around a beauty service”. Services include natural looking eyelash extensions, microblading and reiki available both at her Silverlake location as well as at your home office.
Deeper Genius Acupuncture, Los Angeles
Deeper Genius is a practice run by Portia Wilson focused on optimizing wellness using acupuncture & herbal medicine, bodywork and energetic release technique. Portia offers acupuncture, cupping and facial rejuvenation services in Downtown Los Angeles and West Hollywood.
Originally appeared on Qwear