Rosario Dawson, who co-founded Studio 189, a brand headquartered in Ghana that produces African content and African-inspired clothing, wants to celebrate fashion made in Africa. Studio 189 was founded in 2013 after Dawson and Erwiah took a trip to the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Their mission is to use Fashion as an agent for Social Change, turning challenges on the ground into opportunities. Studio 189 partners with the United Nations ITC Ethical Fashion Initiative, NYU Stern School of Business and has collaborated with brands including EDUN (LVMH) and Yoox Net a Porter.
This is what they do;
Create a space for their talent to produce high-quality work and have the opportunity to receive credit for their own work and source as much as possible in local markets.
Promote and Provide access to Education through workshops, creating certified programs, training/skills development, counselling.
And create economic opportunities through an artisan-produced handmade fashion collection, building a sustainable fashion and artisanal businesses.
Co-founder Abrima Erwiah said, “When you look at something made in Italy, you don’t even recognize the brand, but you automatically appreciate the value, and that’s been given to you by years and years of storytelling that has existed long since before we got here. When you see something made in Africa, you think charity. You think craft. And that doesn’t make any sense whatsoever. But somehow that’s the story,” she said. “We’re reclaiming that story.”
Isn’t it sad that this is the case? How is it that people have different connotations of where clothes are created depending on the country/ continent? Africa has luxury brands too, our quality is probably better than that of Europe yet we’re seen as charity because of the media representation that surrounds our continent. People don’t take Africa seriously and it is because westerners are ignorant enough to think that the sick African children they see on TV is the Africa? They don’t know that It is rich in resources and filled with talent, PURE TALENT! That is why over the last couple of years we have seen a rise in the number of people trying to change our narrative, people are sick of being misrepresented within the media and are taking matters into their own hands, that is why I love studio 189 and more than that I love the fact that it was co-founded by an African American Actress that saw the problem too.