AJ Majumdar and Scott Sussman

Area Stars, a New York-based sustainable brand that spans handmade jewelry, handbags, accessories and ready-to-wear inspired by travels around the globe, today launched Area Stars Shines, a commitment to highlight Black- and POC-owned businesses and entrepreneurs.

The complimentary services will include consultation and ongoing mentorship in the fields of merchandising, production, sourcing finance, social media, wholesale and e-commerce.

“We want to leverage our 25 years of fashion industry experiences and expertise so that we can help build a more inclusive tomorrow,” said AJ Majumdar, cofounder of Area Stars. “If you, or someone you know, Black or brown, and is in need of professional expertise and assistance, yet cannot afford it, we welcome them to our new program.”

Asked why he wanted to launch this program now, Majumdar added, “I am a person of color, being born in India myself, and have faced many hurdles throughout my career in the fashion industry, based on my complexion. That being said, I have had amazing mentors all throughout and wanted to formalize a way to reach out to the Black and brown designers and entrepreneurs, who may need our help. This way I am also paying it forward, and helping to create a fashion industry that is more reflective of our population.”

Area Stars, which was founded in 2017 to empower women of all backgrounds, styles and shapes, sells its merchandise on its own web site, areastars.com, as well as through retailers such as Bloomingdale’s, Nordstrom, RenttheRunway.com and Anthropologie, among others.

Majumdar said the company sources globally, with an emphasis on artisans from Jaipur, India.

“As a lifestyle brand, we have always had at our core, a belief in giving back to our community,” said cofounder Scott Sussman. “We have been able to promote the handmade designs of artisans from around the world, especially those who are female and brown.”

He added, “Our goal is to empower our Black and brown communities to shine bright and be a bigger part of the fashion collective.”

In other efforts, in the U.S., Area Stars has made it a priority to donate unused samples and excess production of their designs to Housing Works, a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping those with AIDS and HIV. To participate in the program, one can e-mail info@areastars.com