We went to visit some of Birmingham’s black-owned clothing brands
We went to visit some of the black-owned clothing brand businesses in Birmingham for Black History Month. The owners shared their unique start-up stories with BirminghamLive.
Entrepreneurship can be such an effective way for black people to create wealth and reduce disparities and by supporting these businesses and many others it contributes to the continuation of entrepreneurial opportunities and fuels economic prosperity.
According to government statistics published in 2018, 5.4% of small and medium-sized enterprises are run by a majority black and minority ethnic leadership in the UK.
Philippé Remy – Luxury modern streetwear
The owner Remy, 25 from the Congo, moved to Aston in 2007. He named the brand after his father and late mother, which is why it has even more meaning now.
He told BirminghamLive: “I began with £300 and it all started in my bedroom, a lot of people told me to stick to education, but I stayed determined and have the brand that I have now.
“It’s very important to recognise black-owned clothing brands, the BET awards was one of the biggest inspirations for myself and after seeing people that looked like me being awarded for their great achievements it made me think that I can do that for myself and turn my thoughts into reality, and that being my brand.”
Ninth ‘009’ – Luxury streetwear
Meet Trai Dewar-Jackson, 23 and from Smethwick. Trai started the brand in 2017 after losing his Aunty that used to help his mum pay the bills.
“009 comes from the reference of 2009 which is very sentimental to me and my family, we lost one of our family members who used to help my mum with the bills. But after she passed away that put my mum into debt and over the years I used the brand to help my mum pay it off and dedicated it to her.
“The pieces of clothing are inspired from real-life experiences and real-life stories, so everything that is designed, cut and worn has come from an experience that myself or someone in the team has experienced. As the founder of this brand, everything in my life has been about storytelling and I do that through my clothing.”
NO JEANS CLUB – Sustainable, contemporary streetwear
Krystina Mhlandhla, 23, from Walsall started her business during the lockdown in 2020.
She told BirminghamLive: “Funnily enough, I first started the brand for women. I couldn’t find comfortable clothing that fitted well without looking too baggy or that wasn’t overpriced and if I did find it, it was pink or cropped which gives off the impression that girls are limited to one colour and I didn’t want that.
“So I found a gap in the market and thought to make something for women. But after the first day I launched, I got a lot of customers that were male and from that day forward I make my brand unisex.”
SLMPD CO – Luxury streetwear
Meet Wes, 30, from Smethwick. Being the creative individual he is, Wes started the brand in 2014 after following a passion for fashion.
“With quality being at the forefront of the brand, it represents people with passion and drive. This is a brand for the people and like-minded individuals that strive for the best and that can be reflected in the clothing that they wear.
“I think its very important to support black business owners to show the generation coming after us that it is possible to become a business owner, despite what you look like and your past. Its always good to have role models that look, sound and dress like you.”
Take Risks & Prosper UK – Streetwear
Here is Armani, 29 and from Great Barr. The brand began in 2016 as a result of chasing an entrepreneurial ambition. Take Risks and Prosper UK has a physical store located in the Bullring – 43 Edgbaston St Birmingham B5 4RQ
“I wanted to work on my own time and have something I can call my own which was the core reason for starting this business.
“We are a streetwear brand and we are trying to branch out into all types of wear. But right now we do: t-shirts, hats, tracksuits gloves, baby coats. And will be branching out into female wear. Everything that every other streetwear brands does we do it but I believe we offer something different.”
It is important to support local businesses in Birmingham, make sure to check all of these businesses out and keep supporting the local economy.