aoc met gala

AOC's show-stopping Met Gala dress was actually designed by someone from Toronto

Superstar U.S. congresswoman and millennial icon Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (otherwise known as AOC) got tongues wagging last night with her risque ensemble at the 2021 Met Gala in New York City — risque in the political sense that is, as opposed to sartorially. Though it really is kind of both. 

Ocasio-Cortez arrived to the exclusive fashion event at New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art wearing a white gown emblazoned with the words "Tax the Rich" emblazoned in red across the back.

It was a powerful statement that got her political opponents all riled up. Many turned to Twitter with various accusations of hypocrisy for making such a statement at a $35,000 USD per ticket event attended by almost exclusively wealthy people.

Supporters of the outspoken Democrat applauded her choice and pointed out that she did a fantastic job in raising awareness about an issue she's actively engaged with.

There were memes...

Lots of memes...

But as the evening wore on, more and more people were trying to find out who was behind the work.

As it turns out, the designer on AOC's arm last night was none other than Aurora James of Brother Vellies.

Now based in New York, James describes herself as a "Toronto native," though Wikipedia says she was actually born in Guelph. Whatever the case, she's an impressive talent with plenty of awards already under her belt. Can you blame Toronto for wanting to claim her as one of our own?

"Proud to work with @aurorajames as a sustainably focused, Black woman immigrant designer who went from starting her dream @brothervellies at a flea market in Brooklyn to winning the @cfda against all odds," wrote AOC in an Instagram post featuring the dress and its creator.

"The time is now for childcare, healthcare, and climate action for all. Tax the Rich."

Critics immediately jumped on the caption, pointing out that James is an immigrant from Canada, as opposed to a lesser-developed country.

They also delighted in pointing out that James is actually quite wealthy, not to mention the fact that she's dating an even-wealthier member of the Bronfman family.

But despite what many detractors say, James was born to an immigrant parent (her dad is from Ghana). She spent much of her life living in Jamaica, and she famously launched her label with just $3,500 she had in savings.

More importantly, she's wicked talented — and her latest high-profile design is doing exactly what good art is meant to do: It's got everybody talking.

Lead photo by

Metropolitan Museum of Art


Latest Videos



Join the conversation Load comments

Latest in Fashion & Style

Clothing store that's been in Toronto for decades closes after being locked out by landlord

There's a massive movie wardrobe sale in Toronto this weekend

There's a huge Crocs warehouse sale near Toronto this month

10 signs you shopped at the Eaton Centre in the 1990s

Popular beauty brand Glossier is finally coming to Canada

5 stores to find rare vintage and used sneakers in Toronto

Toronto was just ranked one of the best cities in the world for shopping

Popular Spanish fashion brand opening its first stand-alone Canadian store in Toronto