On Wednesdays, we look at artist statements or design philosophy statements and discuss the best vocabulary to describe an artwork or design. Today’s designer is Aurora James, fashion designer and founder of Brother Vellies, her artisan shoemaking company.


Here is the text from the Brother Vellies About page, in italics.


Brother Vellies was founded by Aurora James with the goal of introducing the rest of the world to her favorite traditional African footwear, while also creating and sustaining artisanal jobs within Africa. Handmade in South Africa, Ethiopia, Kenya and Morocco, Brother Vellies creates boots, shoes and sandals in styles that maintain the spirit and durability of their ancestral counterparts.


Keeping with the spirit of sustaining African artisanal jobs, we invite you to explore our workshops– to see the spaces, and to meet the men and women who make Brother Vellies possible.


Toronto-native, former Los Angeles resident, and current New York City-transplant, Creative Director and founder Aurora James amassed an impressive resume of fashion industry experience prior to starting Brother Vellies. With previous roles ranging from model agent to curator, Aurora’s years of experience have resulted in a broad knowledge of the industry from all sides.

Currently based in Brooklyn, Aurora finds herself traveling to and throughout Africa – most regularly South Africa, Kenya, Nigeria, and Morocco – every few months to work with local artisans, to experience the continent’s diverse culture, and to discover new inspirations for the brand.

Now my comments:

In the first section of this About page, the designer introduces the company and shares her goals as a designer. In the next section, she invites visitors to learn about how and where her product is made. In the last section, she tells us a little about her background, experience, and knowledge. She finishes by talking about her visits to her workshops and her inspiration.

This is a good basic structure, but I think she could improve it. The first paragraph is very well-written. It gives us the important information we need and want, with just the right amount of detail. The second paragraph is specific to her brand, so most About pages won’t have this.  The third paragraph gives us a little information about her, but it isn’t enough to be meaningful. For example, instead of just saying she has a lot of experience and knowledge, it would be more interesting if she shared a couple of stories of that experience to help us appreciate her knowledge. When writing a good artist or design statement, it’s crucial to be able to describe your work in a way that is general enough to include everything you’ve worked on, but specific enough to be interesting.

Now let’s consider the words she uses. First, she talks about artisanal jobs, which is a way to say that the people who work for her are people with artistic skills who work with their hands, not just factory workers using machines.  She also uses the word handmade to emphasize this point. She also describes the footwear as having the styles that maintain the spirit and durability of their ancestral counterparts. This means that the shoes and sandals and boots her company makes keep the same spirit and durability that African artisans have always used to create footwear like this.

In the last section, she uses the words native, resident, and transplant to describe where she was born, where she lived, and where she moved to. She uses the phrase prior to starting to describe what she was doing before that. She uses the phrase ranging from to emphasize that model agent and curator are very different types of jobs, and that phrase implies she has experience doing a lot of different jobs between these two. She uses the phrase resulted in a broad knowledge of the industry from all sides to mean that as a result of all her experiences, she now has knowledge about many different areas of the fashion design industry. The phrase currently based in means the place she is working from now. People often use the phrase finds herself (or himself) doing something as a way to make it sound more interesting. It means the same things as “she travels.”  For example, instead of saying “I write a blog every day,” I could say “I find myself blogging every day.” It has the same meaning but feels a little more whimsical.

At Artglish, we help artists and designers to write a statement or About page that best describes their work. We focus on choosing the best vocabulary and language to help your work shine. If you’d like to learn more about what we offer, click here to get our exclusive content, or check out our Courses page.

I’ve chosen 5 words or phrases for you to focus on today. They are in bold. If you don’t know them, look up the meaning, synonyms, antonyms, and other forms of these words. You can find links to Merriam-Webster dictionary sites at the bottom of this page.

To see the Brother Vellies About page, click the link below: