Studio 189: Sustainable Styles for fall

Renee Minus White | 8/8/2019, 12:45 p.m.

At NYFW, Studio 189’s first fall collection stunned the audience with modern yet functional designs and entertainment. Founded by actress Rosario Dawson and Abrima Erwiah, Studio 189 is an artisan produced fashion lifestyle brand and social enterprise. Presented at Spring Studios, this collection leveled the season with a display of beautiful prints and well-tailored clothes for men, women and children in sustainable fabrics.

Sunday Best, the brand’s first fall collection, is a color-rich nod to vintage family portraits taken by the revered photographer Malick Sidibé, Moroccan artist Hassan Hajjaj’s eclectic contemporary work, as well as Phyllis Galembo’s portrait-style documentation of West African masquerade costume. The presentation was a huge celebration, and there was lots of entertainment, too!

As the models posed, street dancers and children performed in Studio 189’s costumes. The prints were amazing. Even the fabulous hairstyles and makeup stood out. “When we walk around Ghana, for example, we see so many well-dressed people that it is reminiscent to us of the old studio style portraits,” stated Abrima Erwiah, co-founder of Studio 189 with actress/co-creative director Rosario Dawson. “We love the idea of people dressing their best—a market seller, a street vendor, a doctor or a lawyer—everyone looks equally amazing.”

For fall/winter ’19, the company opted for presentation, instead of a runway show like last year. Their diverse and inclusive models donned the brand’s newest editions of floor length ruffle skirts, wide-leg, fitted jumpsuits with blouson sleeves along with pouf blouson sleeves and neckties to their existing silhouettes. Vibrant hues of indigo, brown and yellow earth tones, with pops of bright red, blue, green and hints of red are a constant in the collection.

Recently, the company won the prestigious CFDA Lexus Fashion Initiative for sustainability. The brand is made in Africa and produces African and African-inspired content and clothing. Currently, Studio 189 operates a store in New York and Accra, Ghana. They work with artisan communities that specialize in various traditional craftsmanship techniques including natural plant-based dye including indigo, hand-batik, kente weaving and more. Studio 189 focuses on empowerment. The brand creates jobs and supporting education programs, skills and training. Studio 189 partners with organizations such as the United Nations ITC Ethical Fashion Initiative, NYU Stern School of Business. They also collaborate with brands including Lexus, EDUN (LVMH), Fendi, Nike, Opening Ceremony, The Surf Lodge, Okay Africa and Yoox Net a Porter.

Studio 189 continues to be steadfast and consistent in their mission to innovate the value chain of a single garment. “The fall 2019 collection was designed with taking key lessons learned from the past, applying them to present day, in order to design a product that is made with the next 50 years in mind,” declared the founders. “Our goal is to design products that are built to last and can stand the test of time.”