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22.01.19
Osei Duro – Fearless Street Style
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MERCHANTS ON LONG by MERCHANTS ON LONG

“We are constantly inspired by the street style in Ghana. It’s totally rule-breaking and fearless.”

A textile experiment turned ethical fashion label. A laidback Californian style combined with Ghanaian soul. A name chosen at random from the Ghanaian classifieds that means “noble medicine” or “powerful magic”… Osei Duro.

Osei Duro was founded by high school friends Maryanne Mathias and Molly Keogh in 2011 shortly after their 10-year high school reunion (the Vancouver Waldorf School, should you be asking). After a bout of disillusionment with the clothing industry in Canada, Mathias left Canada to travel the world. Ghana was her first stop. Osei Duro was born out of wanting to experiment with Ghana’s rich textile industry and its fearless streetstyle: an ethical fashion label that applied traditional Ghanaian tie-dye techniques with contemporary designs to make sustainable clothing.

At any given time, the Osei Duro collection is usually made up of hand-dyed wax resistant batik prints, hand-woven and hand-dyed cottons from Ghana, cotton or alpaca sweaters from Peru, and block prints from India. A close relationship with the hand-dyers, seamstresses and weavers is crucial for both Mathias and Koegh, who remain in constant contact via Skype or text when splitting their time between Ghana and North America.

Why them? The fact that they prioritise social responsibility and transparent sustainability, not only sourcing their materials in Ghana to lessen their carbon footprint (all sewing is done in Ghana), but also processing their textiles with as little environmental impact as possible – even using leftover onion skins from roadside restaurants and vegetables markets to create a natural dye. No scrap is wasted. All of their leftover fabric from production get upcycled as part of their Scrap Project, turning them into either napkins and quilts, or art projects for kids.

We highly recommend their blog, featuring stories on punk rock mothers, Accra-based musicians, New York filmmakers, radical artists and feminist booksellers and their neighbours. It’s truly binge worthy… we suggest putting an afternoon aside.

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