9 Things to Know About CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund Winner Aurora James

Aurora James of shoe line Brother Vellies is on her way. Not only has she just received one of the most coveted awards in fashion, but her shoe line is set to be everyone's must-have label. Solange, big name fashion magazines and "it" girls everywhere are already supporters. Here's what you should know about the rising star. 

Dominique Hobdy Nov, 04, 2015

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On Monday, Aurora James became the newest CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund Award winner, meaning she beat out up-and-coming designers for a $300,000 award to take her business to the next level. She's the first woman to win the prestigious honor since 2009. Her win signifies the next step in an already booming career in fashion. 

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Brother Vellies actually has some of the coolest, most original shoe and sandal options on the market. Adding a pair of these beauties to your wardrobe is the ultimate style victory. 

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Brother Vellies' New York Fashion Week spring 2016 presentation was one of the most diverse shows of the season. James even had to take matters into her own hands and cast unsigned talent when she couldn't get agencies to send her Black models. “I was pissed,” she told Man Repeller. “I was like, how is this going to make all the people I work with feel? I want them to feel reflected and included.”

 

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She's been featured in and covered by every major fashion publication from Vogue to Elle to The New York Times. She's a favorite among stylists and her shoes can be seen on the pages of all your favorite glossies. 

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From Solange rocking her funky sandals during New York Fashion Week to Zendaya hitting the red carpet in her show-stopping shoes, James has the support of some of the coolest women around. 

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After starting her business in 2013 with the goal to expose the world to her favorite traditional African footwear, James opened a studio and store in Brooklyn, New York. When it comes to the ups and downs of running her business she told Refinery 29, "I'm so happy to be a female entrepreneur, and to be an African American CEO...It’s a learning curve for people. But, then we work together and they learn that women can be great CEOs. People have to get used to it; I’m not afraid of that."

 

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James believes that fashion should be empowering and "giving someone a handout isn't as empowering as giving someone a job." Her line employs women in Africa who hand-make the brands sandals, flats and trademark style, a modern take on the African desert boot. 

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Brother Vellies relies on local artisans in Africa who use genuine leather, vegetable dyes and organic cotton to make the much sought-after shoes. A main focus of the brand is to recycle, provide jobs for a diverse group of people and to follow an overall mission to reduce its carbon footprint. 

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James is not only well-versed in accessories, she's one to watch when it comes to style. Her easy, breezy look and love for denim can be attributed to her Candadian roots. 

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