Fashion Spotlight: African Designer Aurora James

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Knowing about our roots is what we all strive to know about, but how many of us are really connected wholeheartedly with out roots? This one aspect that makes Aurora James stand out. She is also the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund Award winner, which just aired this past weekend.

The 32-year-old shoe designer started her accessory line entitled Brother Vellies as her way to preserve and modernize her African roots. Her journey in fashion during a backpacking trip in Africa that she took when she was in her 20s. While on her trip, James noticed that the desire for traditional fashion was far fetched and was being replaced by Western influence.

“I didn’t want to see this tradition die.”

This fashionista didn’t go to school for fashion, Aurora pursed her degree in Journalism at Ryerson University.

“I’m a journalism school dropout. I learned everything I know about making shoes from people in Africa.”

James is living proof that you can be successful in a career path other than what you went to school for. Some will have a passion for one thing, but they will go to school for another because they are great at it.

“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.”

Shop at Brother Vellies at and  follow Aurora on Instagram.

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Naomi K. Bonman is a graduate of Clark Atlanta University where she holds her Bachelors of Arts in Mass Media Arts with a concentration in Journalism. She also holds her Masters of Public Administration. She is the Founder and CEO of Awakened Media Enterprises, Inc. which owns Purposely Awakened. She has been in the media field since 2006 covering beats that range from social justice, community, entertainment, sports, fashion/beauty, and culture news.

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