Random House Publishing Group is set to publish WILDFLOWER, a memoir by designer and founder of the Fifteen Percent Pledge Aurora James. The Canada-born fashion force, whose sustainably-minded luxury accessories brand Brother Vellies is rooted in furthering traditional African design practices and supporting artisans, has dedicated her efforts to supporting Black-owned businesses since launching the aforementioned initiative in 2020.
The Fifteen Percent Pledge
James proudly updated her Instagram, James proudly updated her followers that the Fifteen Percent Pledge is currently in the process of shifting $10 billion in annual revenue to small businesses across the nation.
In a press release, the Wildflower publisher said that the memoir is an “extraordinary story of struggle and perseverance, from a complicated upbringing in Toronto and Jamaica marred by arrest, abuse, and every roadblock imaginable, to finding her calling as an internationally award-winning designer and activist for social change.”
Wildflower: A Memoir
WILDFLOWER is not just my story, it’s a story that in so many ways is about all of us — and the pressures we feel to blossom even in the harshest conditions. I knew that in order to write this book I would have to be incredibly honest about the lows and in doing so it actually helped me realize that each and every experience in my life helped me be perfectly positioned to achieve the highs. We are all seeds just waiting for an opportunity to unfurl and be exactly who we need to be, for ourselves. It must be on our own terms. I hope that this book can serve as a vessel to allow us to come together and talk about the good parts and talk about the hard parts and ultimately create space for each other to get more of what we need. The world has told us over and over that as women we must compete because there can only ever be one final rose. But guess what? They’re wrong. We don’t need their roses, they can’t control us anymore because you and I were always born to be wildflowers.
Aurora James’s story is not a “success story.” Or at least, it shouldn’t be told that way. Having dropped out of high school, struggled with body image, and dabbled in street racing, her eventual arrest might have been her rock bottom. But as a visionary and optimist, that experience became one of many that reshaped her way of thinking about the world. After a brief modeling stint, James discovered the real power in creating for the runway and started her own business in a flea market, a sustainable fashion line showcasing traditional African design that would become an award-winning international brand. Then she founded one of the fastest-growing social justice nonprofits, the Fifteen Percent Pledge. But none of this came from a desire to “succeed.” It came from a desire to forge a new creative path—and to lift others up alongside her.
Already a rising star in fashion and the first Black American female designer to win a CFDA Award, James was inspired by the activism that swept the nation in the summer of 2020 to think bigger about how to empower Black business owners. With an idea and an Instagram post, she founded the Fifteen Percent Pledge, which challenges retailers to commit 15% of their shelf space and spending power to Black businesses. To date, more than two dozen of the world’s most recognized retailers have taken the pledge, redirecting $10 billion in revenue to Black brands.
Empowering and full of heart, Wildflower is the story of how Aurora James got to where she is now and a rallying cry for those eager to make change.