Gifts for your HBCU bae this Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day tends to bring out the love language of gift-giving, and if you’re romancing a bae that stands ten toes down on HBCU culture, then consider adding a few of these items to your gift list.

Maybe you and your Valentine’s date met at an HBCU. Perhaps your partner attended one. Or it might just be that the beauty of your Black love appreciates the HBCU aesthetic. No matter the case, this list is curated by Reckon’s HBCU and Blackness reporter, also an alumnus of North Carolina A&T State University, and offers a little something that caters to the adoration of HBCU style and culture as you shop for your date.

Ralph Lauren Collection with Spelman and Morehouse College’s ($$$$)

The partnership between these two HBCUs and Ralph Lauren is designed with a historic vintage theme meant to invoke pride and prestige in every thread from the Morehouse Collection Polo Coat at $2,500 to the iconic and staple white Spelman Collection Wrap Dress at $350.

While this collection is on the pricier side, it is perfect for your HBCU vintage bae who likes to support young Black designers.

Telfar bag ($$$)

The Telfar brand has more to offer than just its signature bags. They now have wallets ($144), puffer coats ($400+) and durags ($90). Everyone — from college students matching their Telfar bags to their outfits to even Queen Latifah dripping in a white Telfar beanie and sweatshirt to an NBA game — is wearing Telfar from head to toe and maybe your HBCU Valentine’s bae might want to too.

Telfar is a luxury brand, so its prices reflect that but if your Valentine’s is a ‘material (insert gender identity here) then adjust your budget.

Culture Tags card game ($)

Laughing while decoding key phrases and moments in Black

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60 Black-owned clothing brands to know in 2023

When it comes to equity and inclusion, the fashion industry has significantly changed in recent years, said Adrienne Jones, the first tenured, full-time Black professor at the Pratt Institute. Jones told us that years ago, boutiques would praise her designs — until she dropped off her clothes in-person and they realized she was Black. Their interest would suddenly evaporate.

Thankfully, progress has been made. As you recognize Black History Month and feel inspired to support Black-owned brands — and, by the way, you certainly don’t need a specific month to do so — we’ve outlined a number of brands that fashion experts recommended to us below, along with some of their standout products. In addition to Jones, we spoke to Jonathan Square, assistant professor of Black visual culture at the Parsons School of Design, and Rikki Byrd, writer and PhD candidate in African American studies at Northwestern University.

Best clothes and accessories from Black-owned brands

We consulted the aforementioned fashion experts about their favorite Black-owned clothing brands. In some cases, we highlighted specific items they recommended. Other times, we highlighted a particular item from a brand they recommended to us. From skirts to earrings, we chose those items because of their positive reviews or affordable price point.

Telfar: Small Puff Shopper

Every expert we spoke to mentioned Telfar, the luxury brand piloted by Liberian-American fashion designer Telfar Clemens. As they should: Telfar shopping bags were one of Oprah’s favorite things in 2020 and Beyonce has been spotted in their gear — in other words, Telfar is everywhere. “During the holidays, I went home to Louisiana, and saw someone wearing a Telfar bag in Walmart. I thought, wow, [Telfar is] really global,” Square told us.

Telfar’s bags are hard to come by — they typically sell out quickly. The latest batch

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15 Black-Owned Fashion Brands We’re Shopping Right Now

Fashion has always been one of the best ways to express your individuality and personality. But it’s no secret that despite how much fashion influences our lives and culture at large, the fashion industry has long underfunded and underrepresented Black designers and Black-owned fashion brands. 

Thankfully, the times are changing. In recent years, there has been a growing movement to support Black-owned fashion brands and to recognize the contributions Black designers have made to culture. There are so many Black-owned fashion businesses to shop, but we’re highlighting 15 brands that are making waves in the industry right now. Keep reading to find out what makes them all so special.

Telfar Medium Black Shopping Bag


Established in 2005 by designer Telfar Clemens, this Black-owned accessory and clothing brand has taken the world by storm: It garnered a shoutout from Queen Bey herself in “Summer Renaissance,” and Tracy Ellis Ross recommends the Telfar bag as a fantastic gift for girlfriends — if you can get your hands on one. Telfar is mostly known for its signature shopping bags in a variety of shades, from bubble gum pink to highlighter green — the perfect size for a weekend getaway.

The brand has also made a name for itself with frequent collaborations, including a fuzzy shopping bag with UGG, (complete with a shearling trim). It’s even branched out into ’80s-inspired puffer tracksuits with Moose Knuckles and a range of canvas shopping bags with Eastpak.

Categories: Bags, Accessories, Shoes | Shipping window: 14 days | Return policy: All bags are final sale

Savage x Fenty Deco Glass Lace Teddy

Savage x Fenty

Rihanna predicted that her reign just won’t let up in her hit song “Hard,” and she hasn’t let her foot off the gas yet. In addition to the superstar’s groundbreaking Fenty Beauty brand, she has also started her own lingerie brand, aptly named Savage

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Husband and Wife Open Newest Black-Owned Cutting Edge Beauty and Wellness Store In Hollywood, Florida

Stacey and Martin Clarke have long used their sales and business development skills to help clients create successful companies across South Florida. Now the husband and wife team have used their expertise to work for themselves as the new owners and operators of Asili Beauty and Wellness store located in Hollywood, Fla., where they offer cutting-edge, sustainable, carbon-neutral beauty and wellness products from around the world.

“You can’t have real beauty without wellness,” Martin said in defining the philosophy behind Asili (pronounced Ah-sill-lee), which means “natural” in Swahili.

“What makes us unique is that we have combined beauty and wellness in the same space with equal focus” Stacey said.

“Nowhere else can you find beauty and wellness products presented as cause and effect.”

It’s a natural pairing, Stacey said, one reflected in the products sold in their 5000 square foot flagship store located at 2014 Harrison Street, in Hollywood, Fla., just north of Miami.

“We carry products that are good for you,” Stacey said.

“We incorporate a wellness aspect in everything we do. In our buying strategy, we source products that are clean, made with social responsibility, and have a limited carbon footprint.”

“Ninety percent of the products we offer are one hundred percent vegan.”

Asili carries the Clarke’s own luxury lines, including 15 fragrances of herb and oil based natural soaps, an all-natural skin care line featuring cleansers, daily cream moisturizers, and wrinkle recovery serums fortified with vitamin A and vitamin B.

In July 2022, Asili will debut a luxury raw human hair line including cranial prostheses and custom, glue-less hair units (wigs) that can be cut and styled to the customers preference.

Asili products are sourced from the U.S. and countries around the world.

“You can find products here that you can’t find anywhere else,” Martin said.


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Protest calls for boycott of Ego Beauty Supply

While addressing the crowd of protestors outside Ego Beauty Supply on Waughtown Street last Saturday, Effrainguan Muhammad, a student minister with the local Nation of Islam, didn’t mix words when delivering his message to the owners of the establishment.  

“Our message is short and simple. Keep your God damned hands off our Black women,” Muhammad said. The protest, which was organized by Hate Out of Winston, was held in response to videos posted on social media that show the store’s owner and a female employee getting into a physical altercation with a Black customer. 

Here’s what we know about the incident: On July 16, at around 10:30 a.m., Terrica Hughes, a professional stylist who has a salon in Clemmons, approached the counter to make a purchase, but when she tried to pay, the transaction couldn’t be completed according to the employee working the register. 

Hughes waited for the error to be corrected and says she used her banking app to show the owner, Hasan Kanan, that the transaction for $31.17 had cleared. But that wasn’t enough for Kanan. Instead, Hughes said she was accused of stealing and Kanan even tried to make her pay again.

Hughes said after waiting about 30 minutes, she tried to grab the items and walk out the store. The video clip posted on social media begins a few seconds before Hughes tried to leave the store. The clip shows Kanan grabbing Hughes and pushing her back to the counter. A female employee also grabs Hughes in the video and takes her bag. 

After Hughes’ video reached more than 100 shares on social media and the “#weareterrica” hashtag started to spread, Ego Beauty Supply released a statement on Facebook. In the statement which included somewhat of a backhanded apology and has since been deleted, they said

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