Rosario Dawson recently showcased her very own fashion line at New York Fashion Week and its message is more than just making you look pretty. Studio 189 is about empowering African artisans who create the patterns, grow the cotton, and create the clothing from Burkina Faso to Ghana and beyond. Dawson and her Studio 189 partner Abrima Erwiah want to use their fashion line to be an agent of social change.
Rosario Dawson debuted her latest Studio 189 collection during NYFW and it is stunning.
— Madine Konate (@MadineKonate) September 12, 2017
Dawson and Abrima Erwiah first started Studio 189 on Feb. 14, 2013 as part of the One Billion Rising initiative, according to the website. Dawson and Erwiah want to give the women and men who are making the clothing for Studio 189, the tools and resources necessary to continue to grow as artisans and creators through empowerment, education, and opportunity.
Erwiah and Dawson took time during their show at NYFW to tell the audience just what Studio 189 is trying to accomplish.
“If you’re not familiar with Studio 189, our whole thing really is about using fashion as an agent for social change and we really mean that,” Erwiah told the NYFW crowd. “We’re on the ground. We’re really about supporting local communities doing local work. Going all the way from the farmers who grow the dye, planting trees, extracting the dyes, weaving the fabrics.”
Dawson wants to promote African fashion because of how the African, particularly Ghanian, people create their own clothing which really captures the culture and heritage.
“What’s beautiful in Ghana and Africa is that they have a tradition of getting things made for themselves, for special occasions,” Dawson told Forbes. “There’s an attention to detail in their heritage and what the clothing says about your family lineage and your position. Fashion is a big, important thing.”
Erwiah explained that she and Dawson intentionally look for the disadvantaged to bring them into the fold of fashion and economic value.
Always a student • trainees showing us their skills. When we started this coop, the village barely knew what batik was. Only 1 person knew how batik worked… now they are teaching us. A pleasure to watch all that has been accomplished together with our partners Tsatoe Village, Aggie, NYU Stern, Adanu and the team at #studio189 that works so hard to keep this dream alive. #fashionrising .
“We work in disadvantaged communities and we try to bring people into the value chain,” Erwiah told Globetrotter Magazine. “It’s process of collaboration. We grow together, our artisans challenge us. And in that same spirit we try to work with people in all parts of the world.”
Studio 189 opened its first store in February in New York City to bring the fashions of Africa to the U.S.
As Studio 189’s motto says, “Everything you do, from what you buy to how you dress, has an impact. We believe in the power of collaboration with artisanal communities and rising through fashion. Look good, feel good, and do good – that’s as good as it gets.”