Your Guide To Shopping Caribbean-Owned Fashion Brands

·6 min read

When you hear “Caribbean style” you might think of sandals, beach hats, and maxi dresses. But luxury fashion has a long history of drawing inspiration and borrowing techniques from the region and its diaspora.

Take, for example, small independent brands channeling the flags and slang of their home countries or established fashion designers that make sartorial springboards of their childhood memories, like legendary designers Oscar de la Renta and Isabel Toledo, who often cite their Caribbean home countries as reference.

This Caribbean American Heritage Month, we rounded up some of our favorite Caribbean-owned brands and designers to celebrate their impact in the fashion space. From CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund winners to footwear brands reimagining espadrille sandals and metalwork, here are 20 labels you’ll want to know about.

At Refinery29, we’re here to help you navigate this overwhelming world of stuff. All of our market picks are independently selected and curated by the editorial team. If you buy something we link to on our site, Refinery29 may earn commission.

<strong><h2>Merch Carnival </h2></strong>Merch Carnival is an apparel and accessories brand and online retailer dedicated to celebrating Caribbean heritage through fashion that’s sourced from a wide range of designers. Born in St. Croix, founder Ashleé Douglas launched the e-retailer in 2012 with a mission to support West Indian designers and artisans. This is your source for “Island Gyal” merch and “Bush Tea” mugs.<br><br><em>Shop <a href="https://www.merchcarnival.com/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Merch Carnival" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Merch Carnival </a></em>

Merch Carnival

Merch Carnival is an apparel and accessories brand and online retailer dedicated to celebrating Caribbean heritage through fashion that’s sourced from a wide range of designers. Born in St. Croix, founder Ashleé Douglas launched the e-retailer in 2012 with a mission to support West Indian designers and artisans. This is your source for “Island Gyal” merch and “Bush Tea” mugs.

Shop Merch Carnival
<strong><h2>Bien Abyé</h2></strong>Bien Abyé, which means “well dressed” in Creole, is a ready-to-wear and accessories brand inspired by Creole culture in Haiti. Massachusetts-born designer Dayanne Danier focuses on recreating traditional styles like beaded bags and colorful scarves that live up to the brand’s name. <br><br><em>Shop <a href="https://www.dayannedanier.com/home" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Bien Abyé" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Bien Abyé</a></em>

Bien Abyé

Bien Abyé, which means “well dressed” in Creole, is a ready-to-wear and accessories brand inspired by Creole culture in Haiti. Massachusetts-born designer Dayanne Danier focuses on recreating traditional styles like beaded bags and colorful scarves that live up to the brand’s name.

Shop Bien Abyé
<strong><h2>Bori Socks</h2></strong>This Puerto Rican brand’s sole mission is to elevate the island’s culture through clothing, releasing limited-edition items each season. From T-shirts and hats to socks and swim trunks, the brand finds a way to connect people to Puerto Rican culture with its use of symbols and slang terms that are uniquely Boricua. <br><br><em>Shop</em> <em><a href="https://borisocks.com/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Bori Socks" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Bori Socks</a></em>

Bori Socks

This Puerto Rican brand’s sole mission is to elevate the island’s culture through clothing, releasing limited-edition items each season. From T-shirts and hats to socks and swim trunks, the brand finds a way to connect people to Puerto Rican culture with its use of symbols and slang terms that are uniquely Boricua.

Shop Bori Socks
<strong><h2>Brandon Blackwood</h2></strong>Born and raised in Brooklyn, the Jamaican-Chinese handbag designer creates trend-forward pieces that somehow feel like classics. Launched in 2015, the brand’s handbag styles are named after some of Blackwood’s closest friends and collaborators.<br><br><em>Shop <a href="https://brandonblackwood.com/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Brandon Blackwood" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Brandon Blackwood</a></em>

Brandon Blackwood

Born and raised in Brooklyn, the Jamaican-Chinese handbag designer creates trend-forward pieces that somehow feel like classics. Launched in 2015, the brand’s handbag styles are named after some of Blackwood’s closest friends and collaborators.

Shop Brandon Blackwood
<strong><h2>Fe Noel</h2></strong>The Brooklyn-based brand is inspired by the founder Felisha Noel’s Grenadian heritage. The uplifting assortment of casual yet elegant clothing, accessories, and swimwear are a celebration of culture and glamour. <br><br><em>Shop <a href="https://fenoel.com/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Fe Noel" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Fe Noel</a></em><br>

Fe Noel

The Brooklyn-based brand is inspired by the founder Felisha Noel’s Grenadian heritage. The uplifting assortment of casual yet elegant clothing, accessories, and swimwear are a celebration of culture and glamour.

Shop Fe Noel
<strong><h2>Isleñas</h2></strong>Launched in 2018, Isleñas is a sustainable footwear brand known for its color-blocked espadrille sandal styles. The line also runs a training and manufacturing program helping women through the non-profit Centro Sor Isolina Ferré in Puerto Rico. <br><br><em>Shop <a href="https://lasislenas.com/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Isleñas" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Isleñas</a></em>

Isleñas

Launched in 2018, Isleñas is a sustainable footwear brand known for its color-blocked espadrille sandal styles. The line also runs a training and manufacturing program helping women through the non-profit Centro Sor Isolina Ferré in Puerto Rico.

Shop Isleñas
<strong><h2>Jam+Rico</h2></strong>As its name suggests, Jam + Rico is an accessories brand influenced by its founder’s Jamaican and Puerto Rican roots. Finding inspiration in the lush nature of both islands, Brooklyn-raised designer Lissette Scott focuses on translating the colors, shapes, and symbols found in the Caribbean into bright and bold metallic accessories like shell-structured bracelets and sun-shaped earrings. <br><br><em>Shop <a href="https://www.jamandrico.com/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Jam+Rico" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Jam+Rico</a></em>

Jam+Rico

As its name suggests, Jam + Rico is an accessories brand influenced by its founder’s Jamaican and Puerto Rican roots. Finding inspiration in the lush nature of both islands, Brooklyn-raised designer Lissette Scott focuses on translating the colors, shapes, and symbols found in the Caribbean into bright and bold metallic accessories like shell-structured bracelets and sun-shaped earrings.

Shop Jam+Rico
<strong><h2>Krystal Paniagua</h2></strong>Knitwear designer Krystal Paniagua is a favorite of Kylie Jenner. The Puerto Rican designer makes sculptural knitwear, including ruched asymmetric tops and uneven skirts, all made by hand in her London studio. <br><br><em>Shop <a href="https://krystalpaniagua.com/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Krystal Paniagua" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Krystal Paniagua</a></em>

Krystal Paniagua

Knitwear designer Krystal Paniagua is a favorite of Kylie Jenner. The Puerto Rican designer makes sculptural knitwear, including ruched asymmetric tops and uneven skirts, all made by hand in her London studio.

Shop Krystal Paniagua
<strong><h2>Lights Label</h2></strong><a href="https://www.instagram.com/kathleenlights/?hl=en" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Influencer" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Influencer</a> and beauty blogger Kathleen Lights launched her apparel brand Lights Label last year. The collection of apparel, accessories, and bags, which draw from her love of astrology and many of which feature modern blobby designs (think of trendy novel covers), is influenced by Lights’s Cuban heritage and Miami lifestyle. <br><br><em>Shop <a href="https://lightslabel.com/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Lights Label" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Lights Label</a></em><br>

Lights Label

Influencer and beauty blogger Kathleen Lights launched her apparel brand Lights Label last year. The collection of apparel, accessories, and bags, which draw from her love of astrology and many of which feature modern blobby designs (think of trendy novel covers), is influenced by Lights’s Cuban heritage and Miami lifestyle.

Shop Lights Label
<strong><h2>Los Tejedores</h2></strong>Los Tejedores is a brand created by Natalia Ortega Gómez and Ricardo Ariel Toribio. Mostly composed of hats (there’s also an eyebrow-raising “disciplina” fly swatter), the line fuses weaving traditions with a modern aesthetic. The two Dominican designers work closely with artisans in the Dominican Republic and Haiti. <br><br><em>Shop <a href="https://www.lostejedoresshop.com/collections/all" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Los Tejedores" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Los Tejedores</a></em><br>

Los Tejedores

Los Tejedores is a brand created by Natalia Ortega Gómez and Ricardo Ariel Toribio. Mostly composed of hats (there’s also an eyebrow-raising “disciplina” fly swatter), the line fuses weaving traditions with a modern aesthetic. The two Dominican designers work closely with artisans in the Dominican Republic and Haiti.

Shop Los Tejedores
<strong><h2>Luiny</h2></strong>Jewelry line Luiny, a standard bearer of bold minimalism, was created by self-taught Puerto Rican designer Luiny Rivera. The brand is now based in New York City, where Rivera designs accessories in intricate shapes and textures inspired by her travels and her time at home. <br><br><em>Shop <a href="https://www.luiny.com/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Luiny" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Luiny</a></em><br>

Luiny

Jewelry line Luiny, a standard bearer of bold minimalism, was created by self-taught Puerto Rican designer Luiny Rivera. The brand is now based in New York City, where Rivera designs accessories in intricate shapes and textures inspired by her travels and her time at home.

Shop Luiny
<strong><h2>Luz Ortiz</h2></strong>Dominican-born designer Luz Ortiz creates accessories mixing her Caribbean upbringing and the modern, industrial, and organic shapes that surround her in New York City, where she lives. Each piece is handcrafted in Ortiz’s studio using precious metals and natural stones. <br><br><em>Shop <a href="https://www.luzortiznewyork.com/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Luz Ortiz" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Luz Ortiz</a></em><br>

Luz Ortiz

Dominican-born designer Luz Ortiz creates accessories mixing her Caribbean upbringing and the modern, industrial, and organic shapes that surround her in New York City, where she lives. Each piece is handcrafted in Ortiz’s studio using precious metals and natural stones.

Shop Luz Ortiz
<strong><h2>Mateo New York</h2></strong>Jamaican-born Matthew Harris moved to the United States as a 16-year-old, eventually becoming a self-taught jewelry designer. His label Mateo New York now carries both jewelry and handbags, and became a 2016 CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund finalist. <br><br><em>Shop <a href="https://mateonewyork.com/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Mateo New York" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Mateo New York</a></em>

Mateo New York

Jamaican-born Matthew Harris moved to the United States as a 16-year-old, eventually becoming a self-taught jewelry designer. His label Mateo New York now carries both jewelry and handbags, and became a 2016 CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund finalist.

Shop Mateo New York
<strong><h2>Nina Rios</h2></strong>Puerto Rican jewelry designer Nina Rios is trained in metal smithing, creating accessories with a vintage finish. Launched in 2016, her New York City-based brand is focused on communicating the designer’s experiences living in New York’s urban landscape and the lush Caribbean island she grew up in. <br><br><em>Shop <a href="https://www.ninariosbk.com/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Nina Rios" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Nina Rios</a></em>

Nina Rios

Puerto Rican jewelry designer Nina Rios is trained in metal smithing, creating accessories with a vintage finish. Launched in 2016, her New York City-based brand is focused on communicating the designer’s experiences living in New York’s urban landscape and the lush Caribbean island she grew up in.

Shop Nina Rios
<strong><h2>Olette</h2></strong>Launched in 2020, Olette is a line of chic basics in solid colors and organic fabrics. Dominican designer Carolyn Compres-Diaz worked on the brand for years before launching during the pandemic with a core collection of items such as high-waisted pants and shorts, as well as off-the-shoulder tops in white, cream, and green hues. <br><br><em>Shop <a href="https://olette.co/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Olette" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Olette</a></em>

Olette

Launched in 2020, Olette is a line of chic basics in solid colors and organic fabrics. Dominican designer Carolyn Compres-Diaz worked on the brand for years before launching during the pandemic with a core collection of items such as high-waisted pants and shorts, as well as off-the-shoulder tops in white, cream, and green hues.

Shop Olette
<strong><h2>Pantora Bridal</h2></strong>Pantora Bridal is a Brooklyn-based special occasion brand designed by Andrea Pitters, who is of Jamaican descent. The brand specializes in wedding gowns and bridesmaid dresses, as well as ready-to-wear garments and marriage merch including nuptial face masks. <br><br><em>Shop <a href="https://pantorabridal.com/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Pantora Bridal" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Pantora Bridal</a></em>

Pantora Bridal

Pantora Bridal is a Brooklyn-based special occasion brand designed by Andrea Pitters, who is of Jamaican descent. The brand specializes in wedding gowns and bridesmaid dresses, as well as ready-to-wear garments and marriage merch including nuptial face masks.

Shop Pantora Bridal
<strong><h2>Pyer Moss</h2></strong>Since 2013, Kerby Jean-Raymond’s Pyer Moss has become a mainstay in the fashion world, launching collaborations with Reebok and Brother Vellies. The Haitian-American designer is a master at injecting social commentary into his collections and making headlines with his <a href="https://www.refinery29.com/en-us/2019/09/8509056/kerby-jean-raymond-pyer-moss-bof-500-gala-controversy" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:fearless and impactful truth-telling" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">fearless and impactful truth-telling</a> within the fashion industry. <br><br><em>Shop <a href="https://www.pyermoss.com/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Pyer Moss" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Pyer Moss</a></em>

Pyer Moss

Since 2013, Kerby Jean-Raymond’s Pyer Moss has become a mainstay in the fashion world, launching collaborations with Reebok and Brother Vellies. The Haitian-American designer is a master at injecting social commentary into his collections and making headlines with his fearless and impactful truth-telling within the fashion industry.

Shop Pyer Moss
<strong><h2>Theophilio</h2></strong>Edvin Thompson’s Theophilo carries his Jamaican DNA throughout the line. Named after the designer’s middle name, the brand is full of vibrant mesh and leather pieces. The Brooklyn-based designer is also a 2021 CFDA/Fashion Fund winner.<br><br><em>Shop <a href="https://theophilio.com/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Theophilio" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Theophilio</a></em><br>

Theophilio

Edvin Thompson’s Theophilo carries his Jamaican DNA throughout the line. Named after the designer’s middle name, the brand is full of vibrant mesh and leather pieces. The Brooklyn-based designer is also a 2021 CFDA/Fashion Fund winner.

Shop Theophilio
<strong><h2>Santos by Mónica</h2></strong>Made from cactus fibers, the Santos by Mónica bags are a collection of sustainable vegan leather handbags known for their unexpected shapes and vibrant colors. Designer Mónica Santos hand crafts each order from her studios in New York City and Puerto Rico. <br><br><em>Shop <a href="https://www.santosbymonica.com/shop" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Santos by Mónica" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Santos by Mónica</a></em>

Santos by Mónica

Made from cactus fibers, the Santos by Mónica bags are a collection of sustainable vegan leather handbags known for their unexpected shapes and vibrant colors. Designer Mónica Santos hand crafts each order from her studios in New York City and Puerto Rico.

Shop Santos by Mónica
<strong><h2>Xio by Ylette</h2></strong>Named after the designer’s grandmother, Xio by Ylette is an online jewelry brand by Cuban influencer Ylette Luis. The brand’s collection is full of zodiac-themed necklaces and ‘90s-inspired accessories. <br><br><em>Shop <a href="https://xiobyylette.com/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Xio by Ylette" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Xio by Ylette</a></em>

Xio by Ylette

Named after the designer’s grandmother, Xio by Ylette is an online jewelry brand by Cuban influencer Ylette Luis. The brand’s collection is full of zodiac-themed necklaces and ‘90s-inspired accessories.

Shop Xio by Ylette

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