At the first edition of The Other Festival last year, two female owned brands I truly admire Studio 189 and VOZ, hosted pop ups in our Other Shops marketplace. They met, they bonded and the result was a wonderful collaboration, a joint bricks and mortar store in Nolita. Last night we invited people to see the store and to hear a conversation on the topic of social engagement for brands. Both companies have seamlessly integrated social engagement into the very fabric of their operations, providing infrastructure not charity to the communities they work in. Both collaborate with local artisans and manufacture locally, and Studio 189 even built a factory in Ghana that trains local seamstresses.
At last night's event, Studio 189 founders Abrima Erwiah and Rosario Dawson and VOZ founder Jasmine Aarons shared more about their ethos and approach. Our guest speaker De'Ara Balenger, Hillary Clinton's former director of engagement, summed things up perfectly when she said: "For true social engagement, brands need to operate from feminist principles, and ensure women have an equal place in the decision making." I couldn't agree more.
De'Aranger Balenger, Dee Poku