I’ve always had a fascination with African culture and crafts especially when it comes to their textiles and color influence. So to no surprise, when a friend told me about the Los Angeles collection, Osei Duro, I was immediately intrigued.
Osei Duro is produced and created in Ghana using traditional dying and weaving techniques that support the local apparel industry while helping them become sustainable. The line was conceived when Maryanne Mathias took a trip around the world collecting textiles from vibrant locales such as Egypt, Morocco, India and Ghana. Already having an indie label in Canada, Maryanne used her resources to create and produce 2 styles of garments using whatever materials she found on her travels and sold them to her established accounts. With a desire to do something more in Ghana, she approached her highschool friend Molly Keogh to partner with her on the venture and they launched their first capsule collection of Osei Duro in 2009.
They have a studio in downtown Los Angeles as well as an office in Ghana. The two of them were drawn to Ghana because of their unique traditional techniques as well as the renaissance that has been developing in the country. The economy is strong as a result of the developing oil and gas business and the younger generation is returning as it is an exciting time to be there. With their garment industry growing at a fast rate, Molly and Maryanne decided to be a part of the resurgence and produce there locally.
They support the local markets by buying all of their shirting and linen from Ghana while they ship over silk and rayon from the US for the rest of the production process. It is there that all of the pieces are hand-dyed using traditional techniques resulting in no two pieces being exactly alike. They have also been experimenting with re-purposing by buying items from the local market, over-dying them and adding embroidery.
The name Osei Duro translates to “Honorable Magic” supporting their ethos of taking a rich tradition and re-interpreting it into a modern collection.
The girls recently started a men’s line which has been very successful and they plan on expanding into children’s and home in the future. There is also talk of expanding their idea into other countries allowing them to have a wider effect on their sustainability model. The line is currently sole in 20 stores in Europe and the US including favorites Creatures of Comfort, Busy Being, and Otherwild. The Spring collection currently consists of 22 women’s styles and 5 men’s.
Below are some of my favorite styles from their Spring 2014 collection.