Beyond Tradition: How One Sustainable Brand Breaks all the Norms

September 17, 2018
| Beyond Tradition: How one sustainable brand breaks all the norms
Studio 189 is a sustainable fashion brand, based in Accra, Ghana and co-founded by Abrima Erwiah and Rosario Dawson in 2012. Earlier this year, Studio 189 took home the top CFDA + Lexus Fashion Initiative prize which focuses on sustainability in the fashion industry. (“It’s really important to us that you know where your clothes comes from.” – Abrima Erwiah). They believe in using fashion to make the world a better place and their Spring 2019 Runway Show for NYFW proved exactly that.
Diversity on the Runway:
It’s important for brands to not only show ethnic diversity but diversity in all forms. Studio 189 captured everything from having a set of younger twins, to having amputee activist Mama Cax (Follow her on IG – she’s simply wonderful), to having albino models, to having different sized models model their clothing line. They represented those that are rarely represented in the fashion industry.
Studio 189 also had diversity in hairstyles. Hairstyles may not seem like that big of a deal but if you’ve ever watched a traditional fashion show, every model has the same hairstyle to create a more uniform look. Studio 189 went beyond those traditions and worked with each model’s hair in its own unique way. It shows that their brand represents the unique individual.

Celebration on the Runway:

Everything about their show was fun, including Rosario Dawson, one of the co-founders, participating as a model and dancer (pictured left).
Not only did they have a dance break showcasing Ghanain music but they also honored the late and fabulous Aretha Franklin with a tribute to her legacy by former American Idol contestant, Frenchie Davis.
This show was a celebration of culture, of people, and of life.

In the States, we often take life too seriously. We’re more divided which has created a negative vulnerability cloud over the entire country. But why? What’s the point? Fashion Week has always been a super serious event. I remember seeing Cardi B sitting next to Anna Wintour at Alexander Wang’s Fall Winter 2018 Runway Show and thinking such negative thoughts. “How could trashy Cardi B sit next to a legend in class like Anna Wintour? Disgusting.” But why? Why does it matter? This year, seeing on the news that Cardi B and Nicki Minaj got into a fight at Harper’s Bazaar’s ICON party during Fashion Week, I was wondering what two privileged rappers could be fighting about. But why? Why is Fashion Week so serious if we’re celebrating art and culture? Why is America so serious if we’re supposed to be the land of the free? Why are we constantly fighting when their is an abundance of solutions if we just work together to achieve them?
We need to celebrate life! We need to remember that this world is hard. Instead of fighting with each other, we should make it easier by helping each other out. I know it seems like a stretch but that’s why I loved this runway show so much. Different representations of people were together celebrating life, celebrating another culture, celebrating each other. This brand represents that in their sustainable practices, working with artists in Ghana. The founders even practice this in their everyday lives. I texted Abrima Erwiah saying how much I enjoyed her show and she texted back with a heart emoji. This blog post won’t be featured in Vogue but she still showed love for my comment. That’s how humans should behave. It’s not about making connections with people who you can benefit from. Its about connecting with people because we are all here together on the same level.

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