The New Culturally Rich Collection That’s All About Honoring Origin Stories

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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.

bhavana persimmon

"This collection means family to me," says BADG founding member Linda Hayslett. "I got to create a new family with the group of designers and team at S.Harris and I got to explore my heritage and incorporate some of my past family history with it."

badg s harris moko jewel

"This collection, to me, means new beginnings with the past being the foundation," says Beth Diana Smith. "We have a collection curated by a group of Black creatives who are trying to show appreciation to various cultures and the history of various locales. How often do you get to see that with a large brand?"

pemba coast jewel

On Rayman Boozer's favorite design: "Pemba Coast (pictured) spins the best color combos. Blending hot and cold, solid and pattern—it's right at home with my bohemian style. This vibrant embroidery is pure energy."

According to Erin Shakoor, Maji (covering the large cushion at the bottom) has been her favorite since day one. "This collection is about being aware of our specific and universal roots and origins, connectivity and authenticity."

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.

PHOTOS COURTESY S. HARRIS