On Saturday we attended the Fashion as an agent of change – the panel of esteemed ladies provided an insight into stigmatism’s, race, gender, sustainability and ethical practice within the fashion industry.
The panel included Co-founders of Studio 189, Abrima Erwiah and Rosario Dawson (who in 2018 won the CFDA sustainability award) moderated by Bozoma Saint John.
The panel commenced by pinpointing of the problems in today’s consumer mindset. It is that we think we are disconnected from the supply chain, which is clearly not the case. The panel then discussed how the livelihood of the person changes as they work for a company practicing ethical trade with genuine ambition in aiding towards international workers rights.
The mission of Studio 189 arose after a trip to Africa in February 2011, where Abrima Erwiah and Rosario Dawson realized how they can make a difference. The project consists of a platform to promote African and African-inspired art, craft, techniques, manufacturing, and products.
Studio 189 is predominantly ‘Made in Africa’ which has previously had consumers on the edge due to the “negative” connotations associated with clothing being made in this region states Abrima. “People often think of crafts or tribal arts opposed to the manufacturing of clothing” as Abrima explains. This has lost value for the land, but with manufacturing clothes in Ghana, the Project 189 stands in commitment to their integrity. They realized why wait for someone else to create this platform when they can do it themselves.
This is a testament to their willpower and stance on this topic, in turn creating an inspiring story of how two individuals can lead a vital and much necessary cause.
“Today fashion schools teach sustainability. It is proven that you can succeed by applying a model of responsible business. No more anything goes. The new generation has a different way of thinking. It is more open,” -Dawson
Studio 189, is looking to expand this conversation, Rosario and Abrima wore basic tees with ‘GHANA’ printed on the front emphasizing the clothing and the country of origin creating a ‘new’ perceived value and respect for the manufacturing process.
Isn’t ‘Made in Italy’ a marketing gimmick that had years of dedication and ‘storytelling’ to create a perceived value in modern day society?
The ladies want to create a similar meaning and association for clothing created in Africa, this also allows the brand to pay respects to their ancestors and re-connect to the land.
In this day in age, there is a renaissance, of clothing being produced where the garment workers are paid ethical wages and given rights. This allows for companies such as Project 189 to not only ensure their workers are working under fair trade rights but also allowing them additional support such as improving the facilities, education, employment, and empowerment.
The show was presented by evian. From sourcing local textiles, to upcycling materials, Studio 189 is leading the way in circular fashion just like evian who is committed to making their bottles from 100%* recyclable plastic by 2025 to order to substantially reduce plastic waste and to accelerate recycling programs. Through Sustainable Stage, evian is giving a platform to up and coming sustainable designers, a platform that they will support season over season and throughout the year.