Black-Owned Brands on Carnaby Street Spark Conversation on U.K. Retail Diversity

Carnaby Street is the heart of British fashion, home to the Rolling Stones’ flagship store, hip brands such as Dr. Martens shoes, and the Liberty London department store with its vast selection of classic designs. The strip, considered the “Capital of Cool” when it featured the playful looks of the 1960s, has evolved with the trends of the day, but—like the rest of the industry—it has largely excluded one group: Black-owned businesses.

Kojo Marfo is trying to change that, with a shop called Black in Carnaby showcasing fashion, art, literature, and home decor from Black British entrepreneurs. “We wanted a store that would empower and connect underrepresented brands to modern-day consumers,” Marfo says.

A banner on the storefront boldly declares: “Black-Owned Businesses” alongside a colorful display of African-print fabrics. Inside there are clothing lines from Black designers such as rapper Tinie Tempah, high-end lamps, jewelry sourced from West Africa, and a children’s section with books full of Black characters and Black dolls in African dresses.

relates to Black in Carnaby Shakes Up British Fashion at Its Epicenter

Kojo Marfo at his London shop on June 5.

Photographer: Jason Alden/Bloomberg

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