Fashion designer Aurora James on sustainability in fashion and why she owes so much to her Canadian roots

The New York-based Canadian fashion designer tells us how her brand Brother Vellies is redefining the possibilities of sustainable fashion.
Aurora James is the founder and creative director of the shoe and accessories brand Brother Vellies. (Jason Eric Hardwick)

Aurora James is a New York-based Canadian fashion designer whose brand Brother Vellies is redefining the possibilities of sustainable fashion.

The shoes and accessories designed by Brothers Vellies are handmade by artisans in South Africa, Ethiopia, Kenya and Morocco, where they are paid a living wage. With celebrities like Solange and Nicki Minaj wearing her designs, it appears that James has found that magical combination of socially-conscious and cool.

She joined q's Tom Power from a studio in New York to talk about why she believes sustainable fashion is the future and how Brother Vellies is helping to preserve the work of artisans in Africa.

"Ultimately, every time you spend a dollar, that is an exchange of power," said James. "Every time you like an Instagram photo, you are empowering that thing. And so as a planet right now, we all need to be really thoughtful about how we're putting our time, effort, energy and resources into other businesses and what we want to see succeed."

You can see some of Brother Vellies' footwear designs in the gallery below.

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