Toronto-native and New York City-transplant, Aurora James is the Founder of the Fifteen Percent Pledge and Creative Director and Founder of luxury accessories brand Brother Vellies.
Brother Vellies was 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 and has been seen on Solange at the Met Gala, Beyonce, Zendaya, Halsey, Nicki Minaj, Hailey Baldwin, and more.
In June 2020, Aurora founded the Fifteen Percent Pledge, a non-profit advocacy organization that is closing the racial wealth gap by partnering with retailers to diversify their shelves and commit 15 percent of their purchasing power to Black-owned businesses. Under Aurora’s leadership, what initially began as an Instagram post has now expanded to a full-fledged organization with ten full-time staff members. To date, the Pledge has partnered with nearly 30 major companies across industries, including Macy’s, Nordstrom, Sephora, Ulta Beauty and more. By 2030, the organization aims to drive $1.4 trillion of wealth generation by Black entrepreneurs and increase Black business representation by 14.6 percent.
As a result of her advocacy work, Aurora has been awarded the Council of Fashion Designers of America’s Founders Award, and named to the 2021 TIME100 and the 2020 Bloomberg 50.x close