All eyes were on Studio One Eighty Nine on 11 September as the brand took New York Fashion Week for a spin in a dazzling display of African-inspired fashion.

Launched by Hollywood actress Rosario Dawson and fashion extraordinaire Abrima Erwiah, the social enterprise’s mission is simple: take the fashion industry back to its roots. Their unique line of clothing holds collaboration at its heart, and a network of local artisans spanning Mali and Ghana are being brought together to bring vibrant, high-quality, hand-crafted apparel to the market.

But the venture isn’t simply driven by aesthetics; Studio One Eighty Nine is focused on promoting social change, too. They empower, provide jobs, support education, advocate sustainability, and train individuals in traditional crafts and skills that have been passed down through the generations.

“We’re trying to tell long-term sustainable stories that are coming out of Africa to the outside market, as well as the inside market,” says Erwiah.

Here’s how the handmade fashion collection showcased the rich cultural heritage of artisanship and successfully injected colour, laughter and light into New York Fashion Week.


Above: Breaking into dance on the runway.

Above: Model walks the runway.

Above: Rosaio Dawson (left) and Abrima Erwiah take to the stage.

Above: Making bold beautiful.

Above: Backstage preparations.

Above: Studio 189 in the limelight.

Above: Dressed to impressed.

Above: Young models show off Studio 189’s children’s collection.

Above: Rosario Dawson and Paula Abdul throw some moves.

Above: Model strikes a pose.

Above: Young model braves the catwalk.

Above: Lomi’s showstopping runway performance.

Above: Paula Abdul attends the show.

Above: Jojo Abot prepares backstage for her performance.

Above: Joji Abot’s electric performance

Above: Rosaio Dawson and Abrima Erwiah.