May 13, 2021

Black Artists + Designers Guild Partners with S. Harris on Textiles That Celebrate Craft Traditions

“Each BADG designer gave long-overdue credence to the works of Black artists, Indigenous makers, and creatives of color alike,” Barnett shares. Photography courtesy of S. Harris.

For Brooklyn-based artist and entrepreneur Malene Barnett, 2018 was a big year. It was when she founded the Black Artists + Designers Guild, a community of independent artists, designers, and makers combating the lack of representation of Black talent and culture in the design industry. It was also the year that she connected with Jodi Finer, chief brand officer of S. Harris, to collaborate on a fabric, trimming, and wallcovering line that would celebrate the craft traditions of oft-overlooked parts of the world, from Bhutan and Zanzibar to New Zealand and Papua New Guinea. BADG issued a call for submissions and four BADG members—Shakoor Interiors principal Erin Shakoor, Apartment 48 founder Rayman Boozer, and interior designers Beth Diana Smith and Linda Hayslett—joined Barnett
in cultivating Orejen (derived from the phonetic spelling of origin). The 77-piece collection includes Maji (Proto-Bantu for water), a cut velvet on a metallic ground; Bahari (Swahili for sea), a screen-printed
and embroidered linen-cotton; and Utu (the Maori concept of reciprocation), a cut sheer. Also of note:
embroideries Tiger Nest and Pele La, digitally printed Ukili, and jacquard woven Fernroot. “It repre­sents a new foundation in storytelling through colors, textures, and materials,” Barnett says, “by attributing the multiplicity of inspirations to all its sources.”

 Photography courtesy of S. Harris.
 Photography courtesy of S. Harris.

Bahari. Photography courtesy of S. Harris.
Fernoot. Photography courtesy of S. Harris.
Bhavana. Photography courtesy of S. Harris.
Maji. Photography courtesy of S. Harris.

Pele La. Photography courtesy of S. Harris.
Utu.  Photography courtesy of S. Harris.
Tiger Nest. Photography courtesy of S. Harris.

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