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Aurora James

Brother Vellies
Founder and Creative Director
A Toronto-native and New York transplant, Aurora James went from model agent to curator to now, Founder and Creative Director of Brother Vellies.
James grew up with an acute awareness of the importance of culture and diversity. This led her to travel throughout Africa in 2013 where she was inspired by African style for her future designs. In an effort to preserve the historic elements of cultural apparel, James collaborated with local artisans to introduce traditional African footwear to the rest of the world. Since then, James has not only introduced the global market to African designs, but has also created and sustained artisanal jobs across Africa.
James strives to create a working environment within local workshops that is free of discrimination and judgement by employing men and women of different ages, tribes, religion and sexual orientation. Brother Vellies currently manufactures and sources materials from South Africa, Kenya, Morocco, Ethiopia, Bukina Faso, Haiti, Bali, Mexico, and Italy, where local artisans are given a full skillset of craftsmanship that empower them to create long term growth and development.
In 2015, James was one of three designers to win the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund and became a member of the CFDA Incubator program. She was most recently nominated for the 2018 CFDA Swarovski Award for Emerging Talent within the accessories category.
James often travels to Africa, particularly South Africa, Ethiopia, Kenya, Nigeria and Morocco, where she collaborates and reconnects with the local artisans to learn more about their culture, gain more inspiration for the brand, and to continue in preserving and reinventing African accessories.