“We are really thinking about where clothes come from, how are they made and what is the second and third life after they are no longer used,” Erwiah told Forbes. “Are the biodegradable? Can we separate the fibers? Can we create something new out of them? We think a about clothes a hundred years in advance. We are thinking about what society is going to look like in 2100.”
You may not have known that actress Rosario Dawson has a fashion line, but she just won a big sustainable fashion award for her brand Studio One Eighty Nine. Her line is on its way to becoming a household name, a la Jessica Alba’s Honest Company.
The $80,000 grant was given by CFDA x Lexus Initiative to Dawson and her business partner Abrima Erwiah to continue building their brand. The prize wasn’t an easy win — the five brands competing had to complete an eight-month training course to win the grand prize. While completing the program, brands received consulting on how to be more sustainable. The Cut reported that WHIT, a New York-based brand, set a goal of zero chemicals in their printing process. The other brands were Cienne, M. Patmos, and St. Roche.
Erwiah says that Studio One Eighty Nine is based both in West Africa and New York, with manufacturing in either Ghana or Burkina Faso. “If you buy something made from us, you don’t have to think about Was someone harmed in this process? Are there pesticides used?,” Erwiah told the Cut. “When you buy it you’re having the opportunity to vote with your dollar.”
Forbes reported that Studio One Eighty Nine began when Rosario Dawson and Erwiah went on a 2011 trip to the Democratic Republic of Congo with V-Day, an organization that supports the City of Joy, a center for women affected by sexual violence. To support V-Day and similar organizations, they created the label in Ghana to work with local artisans.
(h/t The Cut)