Murway: A Black-Owned Fashion Business

The fashion industry has historically discriminated against Black fashion designers. Only 7.5% of all US fashion designers are Black. While these numbers are improving, it is still a point of contention among many Black fashion industry professionals.

There is diversity in the industry as over 17% of fashion designers in the United States are Asian and another 13.2% are Hispanic or Latino. However, African Americans still struggle to find their place. One company looking to make a difference in the fashion industry is Murway, a Black-owned gender-neutral Italian leather bag line.

Obstacles Faced By Black Fashion Designers

Just like in many aspects of life, it is systemic racism and socioeconomic issues that lead to this exclusion in the fashion industry. Since the heads of fashion houses are rarely people of color, they don’t often hire people of color to design. This makes it incredibly hard for Black designers to break into the industry this way.

Therefore, they are left with the option of starting their own business. Doing so, of course, requires funding. Money is also needed to make the designer’s products available to the public. Without capital for inventory and advertising, the designer often encounters barriers to success.

Denishio Murray, Founder of Murway

Denishio Murray, founder of Murway, had an interesting start in the business world. In 2017, when he was just 24 years old, Murray started Murray’s In-Home Care. This personal care agency assists the disabled and elderly. This company gave Murray a head start in being a successful Black entrepreneur.

Murray notes there are certain characteristics that make you more likely to succeed when starting your own business. Doing so requires “determination, resilience, taking the time to educate yourself on business and your industry, and having a very strong work ethic.” For a Black entrepreneur, he stresses that these things are even more important.

In 2020 he started Murway, a gender-neutral leather bag line. He had always had a passion for fashion design and with his experience in business, he decided it was time to combine his two skills.

As a Black-owned business, Murway is one example of a company that formed in part due to the difficulties African Americans face in the fashion industry. It is common for Black fashion designers to have a very creative, unique vision. Sometimes this vision is not shared by those higher up on the food chain.

Murray encourages future entrepreneurs like him to “never let anyone place a limit on your capabilities.” He also tells up-and-coming Black designers that “your own approval is enough.” This is an important reminder for all designers, he says, because he believes that it is easy to get rejected in a world where creativity and subjectivity are the name of the game.

How Murray Got His Start in Fashion

Murray recalls when he was his mother’s stylist from a young age. He would style looks for his mother and other family members whenever there was a special event. He loves to use his creativity to make people feel good about themselves. His love for fashion is rooted deeply in his love for his family. This is one reason why he named his most recent “MoMo” collection by Murway after his late uncle, who passed away from COVID-19 in September 2021.

Murway Making Their Products Accessible

Murway’s bags combine distinctive Black creativity with Italian leather. In recent years, consumers, especially those from the Gen Z generation, are looking to buy from Black-owned businesses. In part due to the Black Lives Matter movement, this is of course, a positive for these Black business owners. Denishio Murray is aware of this movement and wants to make his bags accessible to all consumers.

Therefore, he has made them available to purchase on the Murway website. These bags are a luxury product. Similar bags may sell for over $1,000, but it was important to Murray that his bags were accessible to everyone so he lowered his prices.

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