Explore

This Haitian Owned Brooklyn Shop Pushes The African Diaspora Forward With Curated Sustainable Fashion

By Rachel George

Share

Byas & Leon is a collective house specializing in Haitian craftsmanship, dedicated to curating sustainable fashion & pushing the African diaspora forward through Haiti.

Haitian owners Rony Byas and Harvey Leon are building their own legacy by upgrading from an online retail shop to a storefront in Brooklyn. The duo pledged to help provide sustainable and ethical jobs and income to the people of Haiti. Seven years ago, this concept was only an idea but before they knew it, they were walking the streets of Haiti and shaking hands with artisans they had built relationships with over time.

As one of the poorest countries in the Western Hemisphere, Haiti has struggled to rebuild itself since the devastating 7.0 earthquake in 2010. Harvey had a front-row view of his homeland’s economic status, having lived there for a few years.

“My growing interest in fashion, is really what set the stage for me to dive wholeheartedly into this initiative,” Harvey said.

Rony worried Haiti was being used as a source of cheap labor due to their lack of infrastructure. He received his master’s degree in urban planning at Hunter College, fully grasping how successful brands work andputting a focus on fashion and Haiti.

“There’s a lot of people who want to work but they can’t because there is not enough opportunity,” co-owner Rony said. “When opportunity presents itself, it’s in the form of these foreign companies that invest, they exploit that. they pay them next to nothing for the work that they do.”

Rony and Harvey traveled to Haiti after buying all their materials, including fabric and buttons, to be hand-cut and sew by Haitian artisans. The store’s clothing racks are filled with vintage clothing, textured prints, colorfully patterned hats, bags, shirts, accessories, and other gender-fluid attire. Made in Haiti by Haitians, it doesn’t get any more authentic than that.

The duo is known for their ’60 and ’70s aesthetic attire.

The Byas & Leon Shoppe currently serves as a culture pub, preserving Haiti’s culture and history through pop-up shops, events, book readings, art exhibits, and other hostings.

Shop black this summer at Byas & Leon, located at 404 Tompkins Ave. in Brooklyn, open Wed-Sunday.

Share
Travel Noire

Rachel George

Want more?

Get exclusive, unpublished tips from Travel Noire's CEO to help you get off the beaten path, into the hearts of locals and onto a better, more cultured life.

Afrochella Raises Awareness For Hunger, Literacy, Healthcare, & Aid For Youth Through New Charitable Initiatives

Afrochella Raises Awareness For Hunger, Literacy, Healthcare, & Aid For Youth Through New Charitable Initiatives

Afrochella is Ghana’s premier festival of the year, highlighting Africa’s thriving community of creatives and entrepreneurs while celebrating the continent’s art, food, music, culture, and history.  The festival will be hosted by MC/entertainment journalist Lolade Olayokun, actor Charles Okocha, and comedian Young Prince and attended by over 10,000 music lovers who saved for months and […]

Rachel George

The Audacious Beauty of Nassau’s History of Emancipation

The Audacious Beauty of Nassau’s History of Emancipation

Written by: Arielle Gray You don’t tame the sea. You learn how to ride it the way birds take to wind.  This concept is a way of life in the Caribbean. The Bahamas is a place where ships wrecked on the rocks and reefs, an inevitable, lush green stop on the Trans Atlantic slave trade.  […]

Travel Noire

Here’s How Hip-Hop’s Biggest Stars Have Been Supporting African Communities

Here’s How Hip-Hop’s Biggest Stars Have Been Supporting African Communities

Hip-hop music and the artists behind the hits influence what we know as today’s pop culture. From fashion and slang to what’s trending on Twitter, hip-hop artists and black culture, in general, dictate what’s cool. Hip-hop artists are well aware of their influence and some of the biggest names in the industry are using their […]

Kelsey Marie / africa