Co-Founder, Director, Studio One Eighty Nine Faculty, Parsons School of Design
Abrima Erwiah (based between Accra and New York), with actress and activist Rosario Dawson, is the co-founder of Studio One Eighty Nine, an artisan produced fashion lifestyle brand and social enterprise that has recently won the prestigious CFDA Lexus Fashion Initiative for Sustainability. The brand is made in Africa and produces African and African-inspired content and clothing. The brand currently operates a store in NY and Accra (Ghana), an ecommerce site, a manufacturing facility in Accra, and supports various community led projects in Africa and in the USA. Studio 189 works with artisanal communities that specialize in various traditional craftsmanship techniques including natural plant based dye indigo, hand-batik, kente weaving and more. Studio 189 focuses on empowerment, creating jobs and supporting education and skills training.
Erwiah teaches an undergraduate BFA course called “Systems & Society” at Parsons School of Design at the New School.
Erwiah believes that fashion can be an agent of social change and her mission is to to do work that contributes to society, that has sustainable impact, that is innovative and strategic. Erwiah is a luxury goods industry executive with experience in sustainable development, global sales and marketing, production, operations, digital, general management and international development. She has worked in luxury goods, fashion, accessories, beauty as well as in the agriculture sector. She has worked with corporations, NGOS and governments. She has worked as an advisor to the United Nations International Trade Center Ethical Fashion Initiative and has worked as the Global Associate Communications and Marketing Director as well as the Worldwide Social Media Director at Bottega Veneta (Kering Group). Additionally, she has held various positions at luxury brands including Hermes/John Lobb, Cesare Paciotti and Bureau Betak. She has worked and traveled extensively internationally and has lived in New York City, Milan, Florence, Kampala and Accra. She is fluent in English, French; proficient in Italian and understands Spanish.
She developed a master’s at NYU Gallatin studying the economic impact of luxury goods in Africa and wrote her thesis at NYU Ghana. She graduated with a bachelor of science in finance and international business from NYU Stern School of Business.
She was appointed marketing mentor for Afripads in Uganda through the Kering Foundation for Women’s Dignity & Rights. She supports various organizations including V-day, the Lower East Side Girls Club, Fashion Revolution USA, 14plus foundation, the High School of Fashion Industries committee, Shine on Sierra Leone, etc
She has also recently joined Vanity Fair and One Young World’s list of people leading the charge towards achieving the UN’s 17 SDGs. She was featured in Nike’s campaign celebrating Women entrepreneur’s. She is the recipient of various awards including the Martin Luther King Jr Social Justice award from Upenn, the MOCADA Social Justice award, the Design Miami Visionary award, the Filming On Italy Social Justice award, the Africa-America Institute Entrepreneur Impact Award, the international women of power sankofa award and more.
She is a published author. She has guest lectured at various universities and spoken at various conferences including Harvard, NYU, Upenn, RISD, Radford University, Google, CFDA, IMG, Estee Lauder, One Young World and more.