clock menu more-arrow no yes
Driely S.

Filed under:

Five of Brooklyn's Best African-Inspired Boutiques

Where to embrace the boheme of the borough

If there's one thing Brooklyn is good for, it's being eclectic. As the self-proclaimed home of New York City's artists and creatives, there's never a shortage of food, decor, and fashion spots that represent the gamut of cultures living in the city as a whole. African-inspired brands in their contemporary form — sometimes referred to as Afro-chic — have been slowly popping up in dedicated boutiques that quickly become shopping destinations.

Below, check out five of Brooklyn's best places (plus a bonus Manhattan spot!) to shop for the most stylish and authentic African-inspired apparel and accessories, well as the pricing breakdown for each.


Racked is no longer publishing. Thank you to everyone who read our work over the years. The archives will remain available here; for new stories, head over to Vox.com, where our staff is covering consumer culture for The Goods by Vox. You can also see what we’re up to by signing up here.

Calabar Imports

Named after the Nigerian town that owner Heloise Annette Oton lived in for 18 years, Calabar is a treasure chest of apparel and handmade home decor that also hosts community events. The mother-daughter duo that founded the company in 2004 began the business with items they collection from their travels, selling pieces at street fairs across the tri-state area. More than a decade later, customers can shop everything from $40 Egyptian necklaces to $300 wool travel bags at its four permanent stores — three in Brooklyn and another in Harlem.

351 Tompkins Ave, Bedford-Stuyvesant; calabar-imports.com

Courtesy of Peace + Riot

Peace + Riot

A breath of fresh air on the ever-busy Nostrand Avenue, this home decor oasis lies just blocks north of Fulton Street. Started by Lionel Sanchez and Achuziam Maha-Sanchez — former bandmates turned lovers — Peace + Riot fuses the owners' African and Caribbean heritages into the merchandise and decor of their intimate store. Achuziam has an interior design background, which explains how $30 Apotheke Woods Soy Candles sit symbiotically next to $195 reclaimed bar stools. For those of you who need instant inspiration or just basic kitchen utensils, this is definitely a destination.

492 Nostrand Ave, Bedford-Stuyvesant; peaceandriot.com

Martine's Dream

This Crown Heights store simulates shopping for eclectic souvenirs during a tropical vacation without ever having to leave NYC. Owner Debbie Hardy is a world traveler and free spirit who's spent significant time in India and West Africa, and she clearly relished in those experiences. This mix results in a flea market booth-turned-inviting store that pops with color and smells like calming incense. Designed and sourced for women of all sizes, the mid-priced store has $200 ponchos, $15 headwraps, and jewelry ranging from $10 to $150 that you won't find anywhere else.

681 Nostrand Ave, Crown Heights; martinesdream.com

Emily Andrews for Leisure Life

Leisure Life

One of Brooklyn's hottest stores is strictly for the dapper gentleman or dedicated tomboy. Its popularity has everything to do with owner Charnier Corey, who's regularly rubbing elbows with Street Etiquette's Joshua Kissi and Travis Gumbs. The small Clinton Hill space is put to good use, with distressed cigar leather chairs and college paraphernalia giving it an old-school throwback feel. With apparel such as $500 varsity jackets, $95 crewnecks, and $45 bow ties, you might want to come prepared with a specific item in mind — the coolness may get you sidetracked and accidentally break the bank.

559 Myrtle Avenue, Clinton Hill; leisurelifenyc.com

Moshood Creations

An oldie but a goodie, this well-known store in Fort Greene opened its doors in the early ‘90s. In its heyday, it was a regular watering hole for famous musicians, artists, and actors on the bustling block who wanted to add a bit of Nigerian flare to their already-eclectic closets. Today, the shop is a symbol of the post-gentrified neighborhood, most recognizable by its logo that resembles a face. While you won't find the typical ankara prints here, shoppers appreciate the authenticity in traditional African cuts, breathable fabrics, and street style-worthy graphic separates priced from about $30 to $300.

698 Fulton St, Fort Greene; afrikanspirit.com

Driely S.

William Okpo

Okay, technically this is in Manhattan, but it's in a neighborhood with views of Brooklyn, and it really can't be missed. Darlene and Lizzy Okpo opened the doors to their first store in 2015 after gaining attention for their African-inspired apparel through Opening Ceremony. Naming the boutique after their fashionable father, the Brooklyn-residing sisters make it a point to balance the feminine with the masculine in all their pieces. Not for the timid shopper, their price point starts at $100 for tops and goes up to $500 for outerwear.

6 Fulton St, Seaport District; williamokpo.com