This Brooklyn Boutique Is Combining a Haitian Aesthetic with Sustainable Fashion for a Successful Formula

Sustainable fashion, or eco-fashion, is a growing movement in the fashion world. It encompasses ecological integrity and social justice, meaning products are made as environmentally friendly as possible and that workers are not exploited in the process. 

Creating sustainable fashion is the mission of a Brooklyn, New York-based fashion boutique called The Byas & Leon Shoppe.

Rony Byas (l) and Harvey Leon, owners of Byas & Leon (photo from company website)

Co-owners and native New Yorkers Rony Byas and Harvey Leon are also of Haitian descent and they celebrate their Haitian heritage in the products they sell, in the store’s atmosphere, and in the community outreach they do. The Shoppe also highlights other Black artisans and promotes sustainable wares.

“Fashion is one of the most wasteful industries on the planet,” Byas told Black-Owned Brooklyn. “Especially with climate change, sustainability has taken on increasing importance to us personally, and we want the store to reflect that.”

Byas and Leon go way back. They met in Rosedale, Queens, when they were both 11 years old. “Rony had already been living there for a few years, and I moved to Rosedale from St. Albans, Queens. The rest is history, as they say,” Leon explained to Finurah.

In 2013 the two childhood friends went into business together and launched a line of button-down shirts, hand-cut and sewn in Haiti by Haitian tailors. It was a business venture for the pair and a way to employ people in their ancestral homeland, Haiti.

“The simple answer to why we highlight Haitian designs is that we do so because we’re Haitian, with one of us having actually lived in Haiti for a few years. We both very strongly feel a spiritual resonance to our people and culture and heritage — and so it makes all the sense in the world to uplift and empower our people to the furthest extent of our power,” Leon stresses.

Read full story at Finurah here.

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