Studio One Eighty Nine: Fashion to Create Social Change
Studio One Eighty Nine is the brainchild of marketing/communications whiz Abrima Erwiah and actress/activist Rosario Dawson to bridge their passion for social and economic development in support of One Billion Rising, the largest global call to action campaign against women violence. The longtime friends were travelling through Kenya, Burundi and Rwanda with the activist group V-Day in February of 2011 for the opening of City of Joy (a community for women survivors of violence in Bukavu, Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo) when they realized they could “use Fashion as an agent for Social Change, turning challenges on the ground into opportunities“.
Rooted in strong values for empowering African communities, Studio One Eighty Nine focuses on empowerment, education and opportunity. Behind the stylish, chic collections for both men and women lies a desire to create empowerment for artisanal tradition passed down through generations, promote and provide education and skills training through community initiatives and to create economic opportunity through local Ghanaian production of their sustainable, handmade fashion line.
The latest SS16 collection, the brand’s third, blends cool colors with modern twists to heritage textiles; batik and shibori, inspired by the West African Adinkra symbol “Sankofa” (the idea of looking back in order to move forward) to create classic silhouettes for casual, every day wear. The collection features military-inspired button down shirts, wide legged trousers, kaftans, halter dresses in addition to unique pieces like their hooded poncho for women. Men are also covered with shirts, shorts and trousers.
Headquartered Ghana, the brand acts as a supportive platform for all African-inspired projects, including offering marking and communications services and curating an online magazine to keep tradition flowing. In an article in CoolHunting, Abrima reflects,
“I believe that through fashion and creativity, you can create social change—I actually believe that. And I believe if you work together, we can create an industry that can create jobs, education opportunities and advance the next generation of awesome people.”
Want to learn more? Abrima will be joining an evening of conversation on sustainability with seven other esteemed fashion brands at the EcoSessions: Fashion x Africa mini-conference on May 2 from 7-10 pm at FIT’s Katie Murphy Amphitheatre. Admission is free and open to all, register here. #fashionxAfrica