In an era when the human and environmental costs of fast fashion are getting more attention, Aurora James's thoughtful approach to style is at once refreshing and necessary. Since unveiling accessories brand Brother Vellies in 2013, James has made sustainability the foundation of her business. Brother Vellies' model of social entrepreneurship revolves around its partnerships with artisans in countries like Namibia, Kenya, and Mexico—all of whom earn fair wages for the craftsmanship they put into the bags and shoes.
James's non-traditional approach—one that favors slow and steady growth over rapid expansion at all costs—is reaping rewards. Brother Vellies has picked up a CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund award, expanded from footwear into handbags, and won loyal fans among style icons such as Beyoncé and Meghan Markle. When speaking with James, one gets the sense that her ambition is not solely to expand your wardrobe, but to inspire a more thoughtful, more intimate relationship with it.
Here, James talks to Rose Inc. about balancing creativity with entrepreneurship, viewing beauty as self-care, and why she'd rather her clients repair their shoes than buy another pair.