With the release of the Orejen Collection of fabrics, trims, and wallpaper from S. Harris, DTL member Erin Shakoor realized two long-held professional goals. One, was to work with a collaborative team of design professionals on a major project, and two, was to design a collection.
Working with Malene Barnett, the founder of the Black Artists + Designers Guild, along with three other BADG members, and Jodie Finer from S. Harris, the team dove deep into cultures that are typically underserved in the design world, settling on the regions of East Africa, South-East Asia, and the Pacific Islands as the core source of their inspiration. These each had rich traditions in braiding, woodworking, and beading, which formed the basis for the design concepts.
While the collection features rich colors and beautiful textures, it is the provenance and history of the origins of these new designs that resonate most with the creative team. Too often “ethnic” is a generic term in the design industry, with little respect for the cultures and traditions that served as the original inspiration. “As creatives, we all need to unlearn bad habits and be retaught about the impact of our choices on the people and communities that inspired their work,” said Erin. “The accurate sourcing and storytelling behind this collection is something I’m incredibly proud of.”