This episode is about purpose, co-creation and building a social enterprise with a friend. It's about fashion with a heart, and following your dreams. Rosario Dawson and Abrima Erwiah are Studio 189, a social enterprise fashion, lifestyle and media brand based between New York and Ghana, that won the CFDA Sustainable Fashion Initiative Award last year.
They work in countries with valuable skills but little infrastructure and limited access to markets, to help build the creative economy of the African fashion industry.
You no doubt know Rosario for her film work - she was discovered at 15 sitting on her New York stoop by Harmony Korine, who cast her in his cult hit, Kids. Since then she’s been in major movies from Sin City to Men in Black to Rent. She’s also an activist. In 2004 she co-founded Voto Latino, to encourage young Hispanic and Latino voters to become more politically involved. She sits on the board of Eve Ensler’s V-Day's One Billion Rising, a global protest to end violence against women and promote gender equality.
Abrima studied business and her career background is in luxury - she used work for Bottega Veneta. A trip with Rosario to Eve Ensler's City of Joy in the Congo cemented her decision to work in social enterprise.
What does it take to build a business like this? How do you overcome the challenges of working in countries where the lights regularly go out, or a day off sick might mean malaria? Are we on the brink of a new era, one characterised by sharing, empathy, purpose? What sort of world do we want to shape for the next generation of women change-makers?