Getting to know the duo behind Osei-Duro
Osei-Duro was founded in 2011 by Maryanne Mathias and Molly Keogh. While the brand is based in Los Angeles, Vancouver, and Accra, they produce textiles and garments in Ghana, India and Peru, applying traditional techniques to simple contemporary designs. They collaborate with a range of skilled artisans, prioritizing social responsibility and transparency.
WS: How do you practice sustainability?
Unless clothing can be completely broken down to fibre and recycled, it will never be fully sustainable. The fashion industry contributes to conspicuous consumption and an unbalanced capitalist system. We try to focus on ethical production (well paid makers), transparency and cultural preservation practices, but we still feel like we are part of the problem larger problem. Hence the need for a constant conversation.
WS: What are your biggest challenges in terms of competing with fast fashion?
We don’t believe we compete with fast fashion brands, even though our customers likely shop at fast fashion stores. Since our pieces aren’t super trendy, our clothing can be worn over the years as unique statement pieces.
WS: What’s your favorite part about owning a business? Least favorite?
Setting our own holiday and work schedule. No boss.
Worrying about bill payments. Being the boss.
WS: What advice would you give to someone that wants to start a business?
It’s really hard. You might be broke for 7 years, get shingles and lose hair and lose sleep and never see your family or friends. But then it’s worth it.
WS: Do you support other small businesses or craftspeople?
We are passionate about promoting traditional textiles and craft. Our clothing is made almost exclusively from hand dyed or hand woven fabric. Our jewelry is made from recycled hand cast brass.
WS: What inspires you aesthetically? Design-wise?
We thrive on constraints. They’ve helped us develop our brand identity. Since we promote traditional handicrafts all our pieces use hand dyed or woven materials. And with the limited machinery often available in Ghana, we have to design our production around what we don’t have.