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  • Writer's pictureTyzza Macias

Studio 189 and Yahoo: Fashion Unites for Voter Access at NYFW

Photo: Courtesy of Studio 189, Spring Summer 2024 Presented at New York Fashion Week

In the constantly shifting landscape of the fashion world, where passing trends hold sway, Studio 189 rises as a steadfast stronghold of intention, innovation, and empowerment. Established by the formidable partnership of Rosario Dawson, a force embodying Puerto Rican and Afro-Cuban heritage, and Abrima Erwiah, it stands as a pioneering trailblazer transforming the discourse around African luxury fashion. This artisanal fashion and lifestyle label defies traditional norms, interlacing a story that honors African legacy, elevates marginalized populations, and advocates for meaningful, lasting transformation.

Studio 189's journey begins with a powerful mission: to create not just fashion, but a movement. Their products aren't just garments; they are stories woven with the threads of African culture and tradition. Based in New York and Accra, Ghana, Studio 189 has carved a niche for itself, championing African and African-inspired content and clothing.

The heart of Studio 189 beats in Accra, where a dedicated manufacturing facility supports local artisans skilled in traditional craftsmanship techniques. These artisans work their magic with natural plant-based dye indigo, hand-batik, kente weaving, and more. Through their commitment to these age-old crafts, Studio 189 preserves cultural heritage while creating sustainable job opportunities.

But Studio 189's mission extends far beyond the sewing machines. It's about empowerment and education. The brand's partnership with organizations such as the United Nations ITC Ethical Fashion Initiative and NYU Stern School of Business demonstrates their dedication to ethical practices and innovation in the fashion industry.

Studio 189 also supports community-led projects both in Africa and the United States, proving that their impact is truly global. Their efforts touch lives, fostering growth and self-sufficiency in underprivileged communities.

Awards have poured in as recognition of their incredible work, including the Martin Luther King Jr. Social Justice Award from UPenn in 2015, the MOCADA Social Justice Award in 2016, the Design Miami Visionary Award in 2017, the Filming On Italy Social Justice Award in 2018, and the Africa-America Institute Entrepreneur Impact Award in 2018. These accolades highlight Studio 189's unwavering commitment to making a positive change in the world.

As this year's New York Fashion Week unfolded, Studio 189 joined forces with Yahoo to create the 'Ready-to-Vote' capsule collection. This collection is not just about fashion; it's about empowerment and civic engagement. It includes a hand-backed t-shirt, a handmade journal, and a quilt, each piece telling a unique story.

What makes this collection truly special is that the proceeds will support Voto Latino and VoteRiders, two organizations dedicated to lowering barriers to voting and spreading awareness about voter rights education. In an era where voting is the cornerstone of democracy, this partnership couldn't have come at a more critical time.

Voto Latino and VoteRiders are on the front lines, ensuring that every eligible citizen has the opportunity to cast their ballot. By supporting these organizations, Studio 189 empowers individuals to exercise their democratic rights and be agents of change in their communities.

Studio 189 and Yahoo's collaboration underscores the power of fashion as a force for good. It reminds us that clothing can be a canvas for change, a platform for advocacy, and a symbol of hope. The 'Ready-to-Vote' collection isn't just about looking stylish; it's about standing up for what you believe in and making a difference in the world.

In a world where fashion can sometimes seem superficial, Studio One Eighty-Nine serves as a shining example of how the industry can be a catalyst for social change. Through their dedication to preserving cultural heritage, creating jobs, and supporting education and skills training, Rosario Dawson and Abrima Erwiah have woven a powerful tapestry of empowerment and inspiration.

Studio 189's remarkable journey serves as a resounding testament to the transformative potential of fashion. Beyond the surface allure of fabrics and designs, it demonstrates that fashion can be a powerful vehicle for positive change, a conduit bridging the vast tapestry of cultures, and a radiant beacon of hope that illuminates the path towards a brighter, more equitable world. So, the next time you don a Studio 189 creation, know that you're not merely adorning yourself in clothing; you're enveloping yourself in a profound narrative of empowerment, becoming a living symbol of change, and embracing the promise of a future where compassion, creativity, and progress reign supreme.


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