Aurora James looking at the camera.

Aurora James is the designer behind the head-turning “Tax the Rich” dress of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. James gave a little insight on herself, the dress, pop culture, and what she fights for in an interview with MSNBC. Here are 3 things we learned:


She argues that pop culture pushes all of us forward

It’s a well-known fact that A-list celebrities – the 1% – are the ones who eventually get invited to the Met Gala. These celebrities are an inherent part of pop culture and they influence how culture develops. For U.S Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Aurora James, it was obvious that such a large event needed something that reflected Ocasio-Cortez’s voice, and made people at the event uncomfortable. Both are unapologetic women who speak their minds, and they saw it as a fitting opportunity to get their message “Tax the Rich” in front of people who need to hear it but don’t often see it front and center.

Aurora James smiling next to the dress she designed.

Mike Coppola, Getty Images

She, like many others, wants the best version of this country

James loves this country and wants to see the United States be the best version of itself that it can be. We know how eventful 2020 was; a global pandemic, police brutality, corruption, and so much more happened. Communities of color faced incredible challenges and many didn’t have the resources needed. Aurora James is an activist who fights for “people like her to get resources” so she used her platform to push forward her ideals.

Aurora James.

Photo: Grace Miller / Courtesy of Aurora James

What the 15% Pledge is

Black Lives Matter is a movement many people claimed to be a part of but when asked for receipts, couldn’t produce any. Aurora James wasn’t afraid to call out companies who used Black Lives Matter for-profit and question their stance. James’ work has always been political. The 15% pledge was born out of a conversation with a friend of a retail major corporation who donated money and The 15 Percent Pledge is now a non-profit organization created to give 15% shelf space to Black-Owned businesses. 30 major companies are now part of this pledge created by Aurora James.

Instagram post from Aurora James about the 15% pledge.

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