Spring Training with Brother Vellies designer Aurora James
Aurora in the Neoprene Sports Bra and Accelerator Bungee Pant
We first crossed paths with Aurora James–Creative Director of Brother Vellies–when Chromat and Brother Vellies were nominated for the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund in 2015. Aurora and Chromat founder Becca McCharen were the only 2 female designers in the top 10–and they instantly bonded.
With spring in full bloom, Aurora took Becca, photographer Lanee Bird and makeup artist Kerrie Bearcat Murphy on a tour of the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens, and talked to Becca about working out (in Chromat SPORT of course), Fashion Fund memories, diversity in the fashion industry, and her experiences empowering others.
Becca McCharen: I’m in awe of how you have created a world where you do not compromise in sustainability, empowerment and development of Africa. I felt this way when I watched you walk up to the stage to win the CFDA Vogue Fashion Fund–no one deserves this award more than you. You are making such a huge difference, not only in the lives of the people working in the Brother Vellies factories, but also to people like me in Brooklyn who are inspired by your belief in helping others and being the change they want to see in the world.
Where did you go on your very first trip to Africa?
Are there any women in your life that inspire you?
Who were some of your female role models when you were growing up?
You just starred in the Amazon Prime unscripted series The Fashion Fund. What has your experience been sharing your work through that medium?
What is one new perspective or piece of advice that you gained specifically during the Fashion Fund experience?
In conversation with Man Repeller, you said "I have a great deal of respect for women in certain countries in Africa where women have to defy cultural norms and become the breadwinner, or take on work they wouldn’t traditionally perform. The daughters of these women are also seeing what they are capable of doing and being in the future, which is incredibly powerful."
Through your work in Africa, you are helping women gain skills and education. When did you realize you had the power to empower others?
You told Glamour Mag "growing up, I didn't see a lot of people that looked like me. Scary Spice was the only one, and she had a special place in my heart." How do you think the fashion/media industry is changing and how do you think it's staying the same?
If you weren't in the fashion industry, what other profession could you see yourself in?
What's your favorite music to work out to?
What's your workout routine?
What article of clothing or way of presenting makes you feel powerful?
What is your favorite Chromat piece and why?
What would you say has been your biggest accomplishment thus far?
What projects are you interested in exploring in the future?
Photos by Lanee Bird
Makeup by Kerrie Bearcat
Chromat's Conversation series highlights the voices of women who are shaping the world with their creativity and ingenuity.