Afia Fair Trade Collection to Debut at Guilded in NYC

Fair trade fashion that sets new standards for sustainable style and joy.

Spring/Summer 2011 appears to be a bold and beautiful season for celebrating fair trade fashion’s undeniable momentum, and yet another bright young star has been added to the growing list of change makers in the fair trade design sphere. Meghan Sebold, the principal designer for Afia collection, will debut her new Summer 2011 collection at Guilded’s “Beautiful Future” Sustainable Fashion Pop-Up in NYC on May 5th. Created out of traditional West African textiles by pattern makers in Chicago and NYC in partnership with the fair trade Dzidefo Women’s Cooperative in the village of Kpando, Ghana, Afia’s new capsule collection is a perfect example of  why textiles that demonstrate the genius of place are totally universal wherever you may roam.

Bold traditional textiles from Ghana inspire Afia’s ‘sheath chic’ style

Fair trade sewing production by the Dzidefo Women’s Cooperative, Ghana

All of Afia’s stunningly bold fabrics are sourced from small vendors in Ghana, and as part of urban indigenous chic and sustainable production storytelling, create a bridge to “history, proverbs, moral values, and social codes,” with their classicly traditional, though contemporary, motifs.

In a recent interview with EcoSalon, designer Meghan Sebold shared these inspiring thoughts:

“My role (as a designer), is to translate traditional prints from a region of the spirited and often misconceived African continent into styles that resonate with American pop culture. The Ghanaian fabric makes my job as a designer easy: I choose simple, sheath patterns to pay respect to the animated colors and prints.”

Afia’s designs look incredibly gorgeous on model Fardosa Mohamed, and with the accessorizing of J.M.V. Jewelry and Liten Blomma by Jessica, urban style is fresh again.

Meghan also shared that she was understandably drawn to Ghana as a student in 2006 for the possibilities to do both textile and economic research in a country with a long legacy of textile production.

“I met with people on every level and in every facet of the industry, and despite the artistry, ambition, and business aptitude, there was a struggle to expand their business models beyond the local market. Five years later, I have created Afia to help bridge their craft for our consumer market.  We use fashion as a tool to involve people in social progress in a light-hearted, accessible way.”

The debut of Afia at Guilded in NYC, seems supremely fitting as this hot new agency, created by sustainable style pioneer Bahar Shahpar and award-winning fashion designer Tara St. James of Study NY, is all about providing opportunities where “Artists access information and industry perfects its craft.”

With Guilded’s mantra of, “We define WHAT sustainability is, we teach WHY sustainability is important, and we show HOW to achieve sustainability in practical ways,” there is no doubt that designers and fashion lovers will be making their way to their downtown headquarters for some genuine insight on fashioning the vibrant future with both a local and global twist.

For more information on the upcoming May 5th event, and a line up of other designers who will be participating, visit Guilded’s event page.

Images courtesy of Afia:Design: Meghan Sebold; Photography: James de Leon; Model: Fardosa Mohamed; Editing: Evan Felts; Styling: Julianna Vezzetti; Assisting: Elizabeth Cloyd and Jackson Tonti; Jewelry: Liten Blomma by Jessica and J.M.V.