Osei-Duro launched their Autumn/Winter 2013 collection “Light on Dark” in New York at (capsule) this February. The latest collection is entirely designed and produced in Ghana, West Africa and combines elements ranging from hand dyed and batiked cotton, silk, and rayon to locally sourced hand-woven cotton mud-cloth.
The collection is Osei-Duro’s largest to date and features three different prints and over seven different color-ways. Woven into the many layers and textures are references to early man’s first mark making, ancient Egyptian aesthetics, and even the basic structure of cloth. The rich color palette recalls classical and renaissance fine art. The full expression of “Light on Dark” is the custom scarf print. To create the print the fabric is first screen-printed and then hand batiked to follow the print work. The result is a textile that refers to common digital printing aesthetics and the high/low mixing of fast fashion, but is elevated by painstaking handwork.
The collection also highlights several hand crochet items including the Confervo Crochet Cardigan, made from hand dyed merino wool crocheted by Ayishetu Yussif Bulley, Osei-Duro’s lead craftsperson in Accra. The cardigan features brass buttons that are hand cast from recycled water pipes in Ghana’s Central Region.
Twi is one of the most widely spoken languages in Ghana and the name Osei-Duro combines two Twi words. Osei, which means noble or powerful one; and Duro, which means magic or medicine. Together they combine to mean noble medicine.
Designers Maryanne Mathias and Molly founded Osei-Duro after Mathias left home on a yearlong textile-sourcing trip. Seeing that many cultures are losing their ability to create traditional handi- crafts, the designers’ goal was to create contemporary clothing that incorporates timeless textile techniques. They also seek to create employment for women in emerging market countries while giving them job skills and training.
Currently the designers split their time between Los Angeles, where the company has its business headquarters, and Accra, where the design and production takes place.
Osei-Duro is sold across North America and in Europe. They have been featured in the New York Times, Refinery 29, NBC New York, and The Globe and Mail.
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