In all she does, Aurora James has always supported, empowered and celebrated the unrecognized. In fashion, James founded her shoe and accessories label, Brother Vellies, to preserve African design techniques and create a network of job opportunities for local artisans. Then, at the height of the pandemic and amid the protests following the murder of George Floyd, James launched a 15 percent pledge, calling on Nordstrom, Bloomingdale’s and Sephora to and other major retailers to commit to 15 a percentage of shelf space for Black private label brands; and in doing so, she helped generate $1 billion in sales in just one year . Now, the Brooklyn resident is releasing the highly anticipated memoirWildflower, which chronicles everything from her childhood in Toronto to her “complex” relationship with her mother. James told Vogue that she hopes the book will give other women from similar backgrounds a sense of belonging.
James celebrated the book’s launch with two soirees (one at his home in New York and one in Los Angeles), at which she welcomed A close group of industry peers. First, in New York, Diane von Furstenberg and Huma Abedin hosted a small party with James at the Rizzoli bookstore, celebrating with Carly Cushnie, Prabal Gurung, Brandon Maxwell and Veronica Webb. A few days later, the entrepreneur landed on the West Coast and headed to L.A.’s Chateau Marmont, where she joined Emma Grede and Emily Bode to celebrate the launch with the help of Google and a rooftop brunch overlooking the Sunset Strip.
Bode started the morning with a heartfelt message to her friend; “It’s a rare thing to gain insight into your dear friend’s childhood and their journey,” she told group. Grede met James around the same time she started writing her memoir and congratulated her on seeing firsthand what James did for everything.
James then read a few passages from her book to the table (“Read it aloud It still feels really weird,” says the designer). One of the books was dedicated to her mother on the eve of Mother’s Day.
“I think telling these stories, especially women’s stories, especially women of color, still isn’t happening often enough,” James said at the close of Saturday’s gathering Afterwards, friends like Amber Valletta, Rachel Zoe, Rupi Kaur, Marianna Hewitt and Olivia Perez came out in support. “So I thought it would be really lovely to be able to celebrate some of that telling. I had a great time.”