Aurora James Took a Crowbar to her Stores Floor, but Why?

Aurora James is the founder and creative director of Brother Vellies, a footwear label that introduces the world to traditional African shoes. The goal is to not only show the world these shoes but also to create artisan jobs in African while maintaining the spirit of the ancestry.

Years ago when she opened her store in the South Street Seaport, it started as just a pop-up. The store was an old souvenir shop and had terrible plastic wood floors. James loved the area she was in and her pop-up slowly became more permanent. She decided to apply to the CDFA/Vogue Fashion Fund, an annual competition to cultivate the next generation of emerging of American design talent. Not thinking they would give her a second look, it came to shock her when she received a call that the judges would be coming to her store in less than 24 hours.

She began freaking out and looked at the floor. She had the fake floors out ASAP. She ran outside to a group of construction workers and asked for a crowbar. Between herself, two friends and her assistant they got the floors up in enough time. The judges actually liked the concrete floor that was underneath it all and they still remain to this day.

“I was considering laying some carpet recently, but I’m very sentimental and nostalgic. The cement floors have a story,” said James.

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Twitter: @aurorajames