Black-owned Canadian companies are making their mark in the green beauty and sustainable fashion industries, focusing on the well-being of the planet and their consumers while firmly committing to conscientious business practices.
Putting an emphasis on natural ingredients, sustainable sourcing, eco-conscious packaging, fair trade, ethical treatment of workers, and a rejection of animal testing often comprise the criteria that these industries prioritize.
At a time when a disproportionate number of Black people are dying and suffering financially from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, (Canada has only recently started collecting race-based data) actively supporting Black-owned companies can be a small step in the right direction towards dismantling the systematic racism that the Black community continues to face.
WATCH: Canada, our structural racism is no accident, and we need to face it. Story continues below.
The pandemic “has taken hold in ... areas where many Black-owned businesses exist,” Brian Phillips, owner of World Salon and a 30-year veteran in the sustainable fashion industry, told HuffPost Canada. “Perhaps supporting Black-owned businesses is a way for those in the majority to demonstrate their love and understanding of the injustices that have occurred for hundreds of years.”
Check out our roundup of Black-owned Canadian green beauty and sustainable fashion brands below.
Based in Toronto, this innovative green beauty brand comprises a renowned salon and product line, and specializes in luxurious, multi-use products designed to minimize environmental impact while delivering top quality results using botanical ingredients.
The brand is known in part for its multi-use products: shampoos are interchangeable as all-over body washes, while conditioners double as moisturizing lotions — both products are available in 4L refills to save on waste.
All of their products, with the exception of three, are vegan, and are fragrance-free and cruelty-free.
Phillips is the proud recipient of both the Green Circle Salons Award for Environmental Stewardship and The Green Champion Award from Environmental Defence.
Based in Toronto, and co-founded by Nana Boateng Osei, Bohten produces chic prescription and sunglasses frames using sustainably sourced reclaimed materials from Ghana.
Bohten’s stylish frames support the wearer and social enterprise; the brand is set on reducing their environmental impact as well as aiming for full manufacturing in Ghana within the the next five years.
The company is also donating five face masks to those in need for every frame purchased.
Based in Vancouver and founded by CEO and cosmetic formulator, Oyeta Kokoroko, Okoko’s natural skincare products focus on moisture, nutrition, protection, renewal, and radiance to support skin naturally.
This luxury green beauty brand’s innovative, high performance products are inspired by the power of nature: Kokoroko draws on the landscape of the West Coast as well as her multicultural heritage to create her luxurious, clinically tested, natural skincare line.
The company says they believe in being environmentally conscious from the sourcing stage to production, as well as transparent labelling and ingredient purity.
A Toronto staple for the past two decades, Brimz ships internationally to a loyal clientele — founder Dameion Royes has made hats for Lauryn Hill, Carmelo Anthony, and Kardinal Offishall, to name a few. The company supports at-risk youth with Royes’ work in the community, and acts as an incubator for several small Black-owned brands.
Did we mention the hats are stylish and well-crafted? They’re a must-have for anyone in search of the perfect snap back, toque, or fedora.
Developed to meet the needs of clients from diverse cultural backgrounds, Queenfidence, a Winnipeg-based cruelty-free and vegan makeup line, proudly boasts affordable, high quality products for all makeup lovers inclusive of gender and skin tones.
Founder and CEO Francine Behati says on the company’s website that she was influenced to start her company due to her struggles with confidence as an Ugandan refugee before immigrating to Canada. She named her brand Queenfidence to “empower and inspire everyone that beauty starts from within and can be enhanced with makeup.”
Stunning prints and flattering cuts abound with this Montreal-based swimwear brand, where suits are designed in-house and made by hand using mostly recycled fabrics.
Selfish Swimwear prioritizes quality products, body positivity, and a conscientious environmental impact. Designer and founder Naomie Caron is passionate about sustainability: she guarantees the stitching on her suits for the first year after purchase, and even offers a repair service after that initial year has passed.
The Toronto-based beauty brand, founded by Témi Shobowale, formulates handcrafted, plant-based beauty products designed to be inclusive of any gender, skin-type, and age.
The company draws on Shobowale’s experience in the beauty industry and combines clean, cruelty-free ingredients, a passion for the environment (Essentials by Temi is committed to a low carbon footprint and celebrates the planet using fair trade-sourced ingredients, and environmentally friendly packaging and business practices), and a strong belief in spiritual, physical, and social wellness
Inspired to right the gender inequality she experienced firsthand growing up in Kenya, founder Evelyne Nyairo’s Calgary-based company is devoted to putting women first, through their sourcing and purchasing practices, and their Ellie Bianca Woman Scholarship, an educational bursary award for single moms who are pursuing post-secondary education.
The natural skincare brand’s ingredient sourcing is sustainable and ethical (Nyairo personally sources the shea butter/oil from women-run co-ops in Africa), and their nourishing skincare products are vegan, non-gmo, and cruelty free.
We also love:
House of Hayla - Vegan heels and sneakers
Apprenti Organik - Holistic skincare
Sade Baron - Natural bodycare
Love and Nudes - Flesh tone lingerie
Reliv Organics - Organic skincare
Skin Drama - Natural and organic skincare
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