Brother Vellies introduced handbags and high heels to their footwear collection at their Spring/Summer 2016 presentation at New York Fashion Week with Kanye West in attendance.
Creative Director Aurora James said the collection was inspired by, “The strongest things on earth” referencing stone, air, fire and women. James translated these components in to the presentation title Great Heights through a “post-hippy minimalism” as she described with sleek designs paired with fur and beaded elements. Kenyan women employed by James, many of whom are mothers, used a process of traditional Kenyan hand beading to create the look. Though the name bares the word “brother,” sisterhood was a major inspiration particularly, “celebrating the power of women and the having women work together to empower each other,” said James.
Heels were introduced to not only empower the women who wore them, but also the women who made them according the director. The collection utilized resources as well as labor from African countries such as Ethiopia, Kenya and Morocco. Their aim is to create jobs in this area while also supporting indigenous heritage of the countries. The heels were made using a traditional African hand carving technique, many of the artisans being female.
The handbags featured were created in South Africa from materials native to the land such as horns for hardware and water buffalo. Brother Vellies’ chrome free leather was also sourced from a tannery in Ethiopia.
In a new step of their ethics, the line has partnered with the United Nations Ethical Fashion Initiative. The UN helps to connect the brand with cobblers around the world to train their employees and aid in the growth of the company. Though the brand may not need help with gaining popularity when they draw in Kanye to their presentations and are a finalist for the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund.