Aurora and Brother Vellies

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Who is Aurora James? She’s the girl every fashion conscious person in New York knows. Shortly, she’s the founder and designer behind Brother Vellies. But her label isn’t an average footwear and accessories one-moment-Instagram-hashtag thing – Aurora is up to something much more significant, and certainly ground-breaking. Bringing fashion, which is both ethnically appropriate and ethically made is a struggle in today’s fashion industry – and the latest spring-summer collection of Valentino proves that, with an all-white model cast wearing tribal, African dresses and cornrows. But Aurora does a totally opposite thing. Rather than saying that her shoes are just “inspired with Kenya”, she really has them made in Kenya, by local craftsmen and women. Naturally, the artisans are properly paid, and have an amazing opportunity to show their real, heritage tradition of shoe making abroad.  “There is a popular saying in South Africa that only two things will survive the apocalypse: cockroaches, and vellies.” The phrase describes the indestructible nature of veldskoens (a South African shoe known colloquially as “vellies”) and an idea that is Aurora’s foundation of her design signature. James believes that her shoes should last for a long time – that’s why the quality of those hand-made shoes, decorated with various types of raffia, furs and feathers, have a solid and durable sole. Moreover, this talented, Brooklyn-based designer won the main CFDA / Vogue Fashion Fund award together with the designer behind Gypsy Sport, Rio Uribe, and Jonathan Simkhai! Now, I am extremely curious what will be the next step for Aurora… and I can’t wait to see her shoes in person when they hit Europe.

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