Studio 189 Spring 2022 Ready-to-Wear

Tears—of sadness and of joy—fell at Abrima Erwiah and Rosario Dawson’s Studio 189 show, which was about much more than clothes. It always is: Studio 189 is a mission-based, sustainably made label that supports African artisans, celebrates Black heritage across the diaspora, and fosters community. But this year, the presentation of the new collection coincided with the 20th anniversary of 9/11, and the co-founders honored that in several ways.

The hush that fell before the start of the show was broken by an original composition by Uproot Andy using sounds he recorded in the days just after 9/11. The show’s first “exit” was made by three musicians: A drummer and two vocalists, Neda Zahraie and Bridget Barkan, who sang a love poem in Farsi and English. Following this, a powerful spoken word piece was performed by Sarah Jones, the Tony-award winning playwright. After all the clothes had been paraded there was a moment of silence in remembrance of those lost.

Connection is at the core of everything that Studio 189 does: Connection to the land, connection to materials and craft traditions, connections among people, and connection to the past, which was particularly at play this season. The collection was called Inheritance because of the way it braids together the spring 2021 and fall 2021 collections with this season’s designs. But on this historic day it was impossible not to think of how we are still coming to terms with the inheritance of 9/11, not to mention American history.

There were a few new silhouettes for spring—like a maxi skirt that combined Kente and indigo-dyed cloth—and new categories, too, including swimwear, in partnership with Cosabella. The print offering was expanded, and patterns and colors were styled to clash for maximum impact. The intermingling of prints, wovens, and patchworks was especially effective; the varied hands of the materials created visual texture as well.

These were joyful clothes that were worn joyfully and received that way. As models danced their way down the runway, the audience, seated in a circular formation—representing “the circularity of clothes, of each other, of our humanity,” as Erwiah said to the crowd—danced in their seats. This was a fashion show and a shared emotional experience on a national day of mourning.

“So often when we’re in pain we step outside of the circle, we pull back,” said Dawson in her address to the guests. “We think it’s too dangerous, we think it’s too hurtful, but that’s actually the moment where we’re supposed to step inside the circle so that we can comfort each other and be there for each other and get stronger together, so that then we can step back into holding that circle tighter. So thank you for being in the circle with us, for broadening that circle, let it be always inclusive of every generation, every race, every gender, every culture, everybody. We have so much shared between us and we focus way too much on what breaks us apart when we could be celebrating those differences for what it makes of our humanity, which is just the breath of us, the beauty of us.”

Read More

Written by 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *