Creative Spirits Series

Studio 189© X J.Crew

We collaborated with Ghana-based brand Studio 189 on a limited-edition, print-filled collection crafted by artisans in Africa. Here, we chatted with cofounder Abrima Erwiah about how she and partner Rosario Dawson built their sustainable, community-oriented brand.

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“This collection features some of our best-selling items in new colorways
and prints that are reinterpretations of J.Crew’s fabrics.”

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The people we work with in
Ghana and West Africa are
incredibly creative and skilled.
Their crafts have been passed
down from generation to
generation and infused with new,
innovative approaches over time.

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A quick Q&A

with Studio 189 cofounder Abrima Erwiah

How did Studio 189 start?

AE: When I would visit my family in Ghana, I saw so many people doing amazing craftwork but having trouble accessing the market. I wanted to start working with these creatives and function like a “studio.” I moved to Ghana in 2013 and started very small with a few tailors and one batik printer. We grew from there very organically.

What are some of the core values of Studio 189?

AE: We love traditional adinkra symbols from West Africa. One of the symbols that reflects the founding principles of the brand is boa me na me mmoa wo, which means “help me and let me help you.” It’s a symbol of interdependence and it represents how we work together with communities. We knew that it was not our role to go top-down and tell people what they should do. Instead, we needed to listen and learn how to build a value chain that recognizes the people making our products.

Why was it so important to build a sustainable brand?

AE: The more you trace the journey of where your products come from, the more you realize their impact. Building a sustainable system in your supply chain, finding processes that are regenerative and just trying to be conscious of your actions is really the only way.

What’s the most rewarding part of working on Studio 189?

AE: Watching people grow, evolve and find their voice and power. I love seeing our team go back to school, pursue their ambitions, start families, learn life skills and take on the world.

The clothes are works of
art. Each yard of fabric is
batiked and dyed by hand
and tells a story of the
person that made it.

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“It is critical to design with circularity in mind and to consider the effects on the planet and on people. Some of the ways we set environmental, social and economic priorities include creating a traceable supply chain, using resources efficiently, reviewing wages and benefits and building career paths to grow talent.”

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Fashion touches so many people. To make
clothes, you have to build community so you
can create something that serves humanity.

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Studio 189 cofounders Rosario Dawson and Abrima Erwiah

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Studio 189 X J.Crew

“The clothes are wonderful because they are versatile.
They are meant for layering and mixing and matching.”

Limited-edition Studio 189 X J.Crew halter bra top

Limited-edition Studio 189 X J.Crew shirtdress in batik palm print

Limited-edition Studio 189 X J.Crew printed bucket hat

Limited-edition Studio 189 X J.Crew double-breasted blazer in blue indigo shibori print

Limited-edition Studio 189 X J.Crew pant in blue indigo shibori print

Limited-edition Studio 189 X J.Crew printed maxi skirt

Limited-edition Studio 189 X J.Crew printed maxi skirt in batik palm print

Limited-edition Studio 189 X J.Crew ruffle midi dress in animal print

Limited-edition Studio 189 X J.Crew printed bucket hat in batik palm print

Limited-edition Studio 189 X J.Crew fringed wrap dress in dot

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