Bloomingdale's Launches Exclusive AQUA x Studio 189 Collection

The summer capsule collection, called "AKUA", features Studio 189's artisan-produced fabrics to debut at The Surf Lodge

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NEW YORK, June 29, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- Bloomingdale's today announces AQUA x Studio 189, a limited-edition collaboration between the retailer's best-selling exclusive brand and the artisan-produced fashion luxury lifestyle brand and social enterprise co-founded by luxury executive and educator Abrima Erwiah and actress and activist Rosario Dawson. The collection features vibrant hand-dyed prints produced by Studio 189 artisans in Ghana in vibrant summer-ready styles including dresses, tops, skirts, and swimwear – all designed to be mixed and matched. The AQUA x Studio 189 collection launches on July 1 at Bloomingdale's stores nationwide and on Bloomingdales.com. Bloomingdale's will host celebrations at The Surf Lodge in Montauk, N.Y., from June 29 to July 4, with special integrations across the property, including the premiere of AQUA x Studio 189 collection in the boutique. View and shop the AQUA x Studio 189 collection here.

"By partnering with AQUA on this collection, we're able to celebrate the work of our artisans on a whole new level," said Abrima Erwiah, Studio 189 co-founder. "The special hand-batiked prints that were created exclusively for this collaboration resulted in Studio 189's largest single fabric order to date, which grants us the opportunity to present the craftsmanship of our artisans to a broader audience. It's an accessible collection that embraces joy with vibrant and tropical designs fitting for the summer season." 

"We're delighted to have had the opportunity to collaborate with Studio 189 on this beautiful collection," says Denise Magid, Executive Vice President and General Merchandise Manager for Ready-to-Wear, Center Core, Concessions and Bloomingdale's Outlets.  "As a brand that works with artisanal communities that specialize in various traditional craftsmanship techniques, Studio 189 brings bold, inspired new looks to our beloved and best-selling AQUA portfolio this summer."

COLLECTION INSPIRATION & COLLABORATIVE PROCESS

The AQUA x Studio 189 collection entitled "AKUA" was born on a Wednesday during New York Fashion Week after Bloomingdale's Creative Director of AQUA Erica Ruff Hatfield contacted designer Abrima Erwiah to collaborate following Studio 189's SS2022 Runway Show. "In Ghana, we are named after the days of the week. For example, Abrima is Nzema for Tuesday born. I felt very moved by this idea of birthing a new project "AKUA" when I was contacted by Bloomingdale's and AQUA," says Erwiah. Akua is an Akan female name for a girl child born on Wednesday and is derived from deities. Akua is said to be a champion for the cause of others. Erwiah continued, "This was fitting because the goal of this collaboration was to allow Studio 189 to create more work for the communities we serve in Africa. We were able to produce more than 20,000 yards of hand-made fabric and activate rural communities that really need the work especially considering the effects of the pandemic and rising prices. This was also our first time producing in Asia which is where AQUA produces. We learned new ways of working via skills transfer from AQUA's family-run factory that is based in LA, Korea and China. This was a true collaboration in every way. The team we worked with has been spectacular and have helped us to achieve our mission in providing jobs, to empowering women in disenfranchised communities, and to support education and skills training."

AQUA X STUDIO 189: ACCESSIBLE & ARTISAN-MADE

The AQUA x Studio 189 collection features vibrant prints produced by Studio 189 artisans using the art of hand-batiking. This art form starts with patterns carved into wood or sponge that are dipped into hot wax and stamped onto cloth. This cloth is dipped into hand-mixed dyes and then the wax is removed to unveil the finished design.

A total of 11 different hand-batiked prints were created exclusively for this collection, including palm leaves and pineapple motifs, each designed in bright, vivid color palettes. The summer styles can be worn on their own or mixed and matched with one another, with ready-to-wear pieces spanning halter maxi dresses, ruffled tiered skirts, miniskirts and more. The collection also marks the first-ever AQUA swim collaboration with one and two-piece swimsuits and that can be paired with the ready-to-wear styles for a beach to bar look. AQUA x Studio 189 has 17 apparel pieces and 8 swim styles ranging from $48 to $198.

AQUA is a contemporary, trend-driven brand available exclusively at Bloomingdale's stores and online at Bloomingdales.com. Each season, AQUA features of-the-moment ready-to-wear apparel and accessories for a stylish head-to-toe look at an approachable price point. The brand has previously partnered with cultural figures and top brands, including Pendleton, Scout the City, Mary Katrantzou, Zendaya, Helen Owen, Mary Lawless Lee, Yigal Azrouël, Maddie & Tae, Zadig & Voltaire and Madeleine Thompson.

AQUA X STUDIO 189 CELEBRATIONS AT THE SURF LODGE

Bloomingdale's will celebrate the AQUA x Studio 189 collection at The Surf Lodge over the 4th of July holiday weekend with integrations throughout the property. The Surf Lodge boutique will be the first to offer the AQUA x Studio 189 collection, which will be available June 29 - July 4. Continuing the celebration at The Surf Lodge, Bloomingdale's will also be hosting a private dinner with guests of honor Studio 189 co-founders Abrima Erwiah and Rosario Dawson, and special musical performances.

Visit Bloomingdales.com here and your nearest Bloomingdale's store to shop the full AQUA x Studio 189 collection starting Friday, July 1.

About Bloomingdale's

Bloomingdale's is America's only nationwide, full-line, upscale department store.  A division of Macy's, Inc., it currently operates 33 Bloomingdale's stores and 21 Bloomingdale's, The Outlet Stores, in California, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Virginia, along with 1 Bloomie's location in Virginia. In addition, Bloomingdale's has an international presence with a location in Dubai. Founded in 1872, the iconic retailer is celebrating its 150th anniversary this year.  Be sure to follow @bloomingdales on social media, become a Loyallist, and for more information, or to shop any time, visit www.bloomingdales.com

About Studio One Eighty Nine (Studio 189)

Co-founded by Rosario Dawson and Abrima Erwiah, is an artisan produced fashion lifestyle brand and social enterprise that has recently been a recipient of the prestigious CFDA/VOGUE fashion fund grant and has also won the 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 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. Studio 189 is the recipient of various awards including the prestigious FIT Changemaker Award, the Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Emerging Designer Award and the Martin Luther King Jr Social Justice award from Upenn. The first collection launched on February 14th 2013 in honor of One Billion Rising. The mission took shape following a trip with Eve Ensler's V-Day and Dr. Mukwege's Panzi Hospital in February 2011, through Kenya, Burundi and Rwanda to Bukavu in the Democratic Republic of Congo for the opening of the City of Joy.

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SOURCE Bloomingdale's