Toronto-native and New York City-transplant, Aurora James is the Creative Director and Founder of luxury accessories brand Brother Vellies. Founded in 2013 with the goal of keeping traditional African design practices and techniques alive, while also creating and sustaining artisanal jobs, Brother Vellies is now handmade across the globe. Prior to founding Brother Vellies, James amassed an impressive resume of industry experience. Her background in fashion, journalism, art, photography, and horticulture joins a forever-passion for artisanship, design, and humanitarianism to create truly one-of-a-kind pieces you will have in your wardrobe forever.

Brother Vellies is worn regularly by dedicated followers including Beyonce, Meghan Markle, Zendaya, Rihanna, Serena Williams, Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, Chrissy Teigen and Solange.


This extraordinary memoir of struggle and perseverance offers new ways of envisioning economic equality for everyone—from a leading activist and fashion pioneer.

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Brother Vellies’s Aurora James Opens Up About Her Powerful New Memoir, Wildflower
I felt like it could only ever help to be fully honest and transparent,” James, wearing a knit Brandon Maxwell dress, says of her decision to publish a memoir at the age of 38. “When I meet young girls, they always ask, ‘How did you get to do what you do?’ And it’s hard to answer that without people understanding where I came from and how I was socialized in the world.
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Fashion industry disruptor Aurora James
With her fashion and lifestyle brand Brother Vellies, Aurora James has demonstrated her commitment to designing a better, more diverse future, with a focus on sustainability and empowerment of local artisans.
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Aurora James Is Breaking the Fairytale Founder Memoir Mold
A lot of entrepreneurs were inspired by the Brother Vellies story, and media outlets referred to James’ journey as magical. Her new book, Wildflower, challenges that narrative.
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Designer Aurora James examines representation and equality in fashion
In her new memoir, Wildflower, she describes the complicated upbringing that led her to her current work as a creative and activist. In today’s episode, she tells NPR’s Michel Martin why it was so important for her to work with African artisans and the misconceptions and biases she hopes to break down in the world of high fashion.
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Aurora James Shares How Her New Memoir ‘Wildflower’ Got Its Name
“Young girls always ask me, ‘How did you get to do what you do?’ And it’s hard to answer without people understanding where I came from and how I was socialized in the world,” James exclaims. “Writing a book from authenticity and honesty and being vulnerable was the only way I could share my story with the world.”
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Activist & Fashion Designer Aurora James Shares Trial, Triumph and Struggle with Identity in New Memoir
Activist and fashion designer Aurora James has received acclaim for her groundbreaking “15% pledge” aimed at urging retail giants to dedicate 15% of shelf space to Black-owned brands. Now, with her literary debut, the fashion pioneer is using her memoir to remind others of the beauty that lies on the other side of adversity.
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Aurora James Unravels Her Own Story
“My mom would always talk to me about making sure that you view anything that seems barren or forgotten as an opportunity for growth. And to always remember to bloom in unexpected places with reckless abandon.” Those memories are the inspiration for the title of her memoir, Wildflower, out now.
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There’s something for everyone to learn in Aurora James’ memoir.
In “Wildflower,” the designer and Fifteen Percent Pledge founder tells a story about being human and blooming into purpose.

In June 2020, Aurora founded The Fifteen Percent Pledge, an initiative that urges retail giants to commit 15% of their shelf space to Black-owned businesses by creating clear business strategies and attainable goals. The Fifteen Percent Pledge has since been featured on Forbes, Fast Company, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, CNN, and Vogue. Within the first year, over 2 dozen major corporations dedicated to The Fifteen Percent Pledge, effectively diverting over $5B in capital to Black entrepreneurs in the United States.


in conversation with Rosie Huntington-Whiteley

RHW: When are you frugal?
AJ: With my time.

RHW: When are you extravagant?
AJ: With my love.

RHW: What keeps you in bed?
AJ: The sun coming into my window.

RHW: What do you admire in a man?
AJ: Honesty and loyalty.

RHW: What do you admire in a woman?
AJ: Strength. Courage.

RHW: What will you always do?
AJ: Be true to myself.


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