Founded in 2013 by New York transplant and Toronto native Aurora James, Brother Vellies was inspired by the traditions, and people of the African continent. The brand takes its name from its founding product – the South African velskoen, (aka vellies) – a popular, century+ old walking boot. With the tried and true vellie as thier staple, James expanded upon the collection, working with local artisans in South Africa, Kenya and Morocco to create one wild and woolly line that has already caught the eye of Vogue, The New York Times and yes, even Yeezus.
In a recent interview with The Cut, James explains, “I wanted to use fashion as a platform to explore a lot of what’s already intuitive to craftspeople in Africa, as opposed to being like, here’s my dress that I want to make; now make it! It’s more about saying, You guys are carving, you guys are embroidering, you guys are eating this animal and have this by-product. How can we combine that and make a collection?”
Today, the burgeoning brand continues to take its cues from the continent, boasting boots embellished with hand carved Kenyan beads, sandals inspired by the Masai’s traditional lacing, and use of recycled tires as soles, and of course the ever evolving vellie, made modern once again through unique cuts, fabrics and the occasional wild tuft of fur. Quirky, cool, a little outrageous – this is organic chic at its best, and Aurora James is definitely one to watch.