Consider the new Orejen collection by S. Harris and the Black Artists + Designers Guild (BADG) a thoughtfully crafted love letter to history and heritage.
Envisioned in 2018 by BADG founder Malene Barnett and S. Harris creative director Jodi Finer, the 77-piece collection of fabrics, trims and wallcoverings explores design and cultural influences of non-white, non-European origin. The pieces employ three distinct artistic practices—braiding, woodworking and beading—found in East Africa, Southeast Asia and the Pacific Islands.
Each pattern and decorative detail tells a story of its becoming: The graphic lines of Pele La fabric are indicative of the paths found in the Eastern Himalayas; the design of the Patu trim is inspired by carvings and tattoos from indigenous people of New Zealand; the Ukili wallcovering is named after a type of local basketweaving technique plentiful in the markets around Zanzibar.
The goal is to credit the communities and craftwork that inform the collection’s modern designs. “It’s the people behind the artistry and cultural traditions who keep us grounded and inspired,” says Barnett, who collaborated with four other BADG members on the product line.
Beyond a stunningly colorful and rich collection—which includes designs by Rayman Boozer (Apartment 48), Linda Hayslett (LH Designs), Erin Shakoor (Shakoor Inc.) and Beth Diana Smith (Beth Diana Smith Interiors)—is a shared sense of responsibility between both parties.
“Through the collaboration and the partnership with the Guild, we came to realize and understand the need to use our platform for change and unification in the design industry,” notes Finer. Says Barnett, “We want the design community to follow our lead, re-think how to share origin stories, and be responsible by leading with acknowledgment to the people, cultures, and artistry, without taking ownership away from the source.”
Luxe tapped the talent behind the designs to share more about their favorite pieces and what working on the collection meant to them. Read more from the creatives in the image slider above.