Studio One Eighty Nine is on to something. More than a clothing line, the brand is a platform that supports Africa and African-inspired content. In reality, they are a full service agency that’s linking Ghana to the United States for sustainable practices. The most stand-out of the brand is their eco-friendly collection, Studio 189. It’s the fashion brand co-founded by actress Rosario Dawson and retail luxury executive Abrima Erwiah. The duo were awarded the prestigious CFDA Lexus Fashion Award in 2018 for their work in sustainability.
The Studio 189 runway presentation wasn’t just a fashion show, it was an experience. Before the show began, you heard the following chant backstage: “Power to the people. Power to the divine power within. Power to the feminine.” It set the tone of the show which began with African dancers moving rhythmically and serving Igbo moves!
The collection was beautiful and with sustainability in mind. The dynamic duo used traditional technniques such as hand-batik, hand-weaving, patchworking, natural indigo dying, recycled cotton and more to create the collection. There were denim pieces included in the collection that are actually upcycled denim from second hand clothing sent to Ghana that the designer bought in a local Ghanian market to use for the collection. These pieces illustrate that old can be new and that thinking eco-friendly and in a creative way can be both good for the environment and profitable. We are moving into a time where consumers are demanding more from brands. They want to know where their clothing is coming from and who the brand is supporting on the back end.
Studio 189 also expanded their collection offering this season with new silhouettes to help reach a variety of customers. They have a double breasted suit, empowering women in the boardroom while being stylish enough to go directly to after 5. There’s a long flowing shirt dress that is perfect for days when you want to throw something on quickly and without fuss. There’s a fringe wrap skirt that is sure to turn heads!
Throughout the collection you repeatedly see red, white, green, indigo as well as pops of yellow and black. This has less to do with being on trend and everything to do with being intentional. These are the colors found in the American and Ghanian flag, illustrating the amalgamation of the two cultures within the brand. The colors are also reflective of colors one sees in nature, continuing to play on the whole sustainable aesthetic.
Undoubtedly, this was my favorite show this season. It was authentic, purposeful and full of culture. I look forward to seeing how Studio 189 continues to soar and impact change within the retail and fashion community.
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