The Brother Vellies Spring 2016 collection is entitled Great Heights. Aurora James, Creative Director of Brother Vellies, describes this season as, “post-hippy minimalism” and references, “the strongest things in nature – Rock, Air, Fire, Wood, Women” as inspiration. Great Heights refers to the unlimited possibilities in life.
Brother Vellies is named in part on the concept of Brotherhood – but women and the strength of women was the leading inspiration for this season.
James explains, “On our own, women are strong enough to move mountains; in numbers women can collectively change the universe. This season for me was really about celebrating the power of women and having women work together to empower each other. This concept can take on many forms but as women we must always remember that all ships rise with the tide. Sisterhood is a very central theme for me.”
For Spring 2016 Brother Vellies introduces handbags and high heels.
James says of the launch, “heels to me have always been about empowerment.” The heels were created through a process of hand carving – an African tradition, by mostly female artisans. “I wanted to make sure that the heels we introduced were raising up and empowering both the women who wear them and the women who make them.”
The handbags this season were brought to life in South Africa using materials indigenous to the region – Springbok, Water Buffalo, and hand carved horn hardware.
Consciously-minded production is at the core of Brother Vellies. For Spring 2016, the brand carved bone into beads in Kenya’s Kibera district for sandals. Each beaded piece in the collection was hand beaded by women, many of whom are single mothers who take their work home with them to simultaneously care for their children. Beading is an important tradition for many people in Kenya and is a way to create jobs through a process that supports the country’s indigenous heritage.
Many of the leathers in the collection were sourced from a tannery in Ethiopia and are chrome free. The fabrics present in the collection were woven by women in Burkina Faso and Mali.
Spring 2016 also explores the brand’s first partnership venture with the United Nations Ethical Fashion Initiative. The UN supports Brother Vellies and its mission by bringing some of the most talented cobblers and manufacturers in the world to assist with the brand’s skills training, development and growth in Africa.