In this ongoing story series, we are talking to designers and brand founders about their designs and companies: how they began, what inspires them, process and artisanship, sourcing of materials and more.

Chilewich

Sandy Chilewich is founder and creative director of Chilewich, a family-owned company she leads with her partner, architect Joe Sultan. In 2000, she introduced her woven-textile designs that are made in the U.S. using custom-designed bi-color yarns. Her placemats have changed how tables are set worldwide.

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Dusen Dusen

Ellen Van Dusen launched her brand Dusen Dusen in 2010 with a line of womenswear, and in 2015 she expanded with the introduction of towels, a bathrobe, a tissue box and a trash bin. The designs are characterized by vibrant colors and stripes, inspired by fine art and Van Dusen’s research into how our brains react to color.

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Khiry

Founded in 2016 by designer Jameel Mohammed, Khiry is a NYC-based Afrofuturist luxury jewelry brand. “My designs are the result of a research process on what the future will look like for Black people, and the world more broadly. The individual pieces are inspired by ideas or icons that stick with me throughout my process.”

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Panisa Khunprasert

Hailing from Bangkok, Thailand, Panisa studied industrial design at Chulalongkorn University. Her design aesthetic has been influenced by growing up in her family’s toy business. She later moved to NYC and graduated with an MFA in The School of Visual Art’s Products of Design program, where she collaborated with MoMA on designs and continues to design products for our store today.

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Sidai

To create their intricately beaded designs, brand founder Eszter Rabin and her business partner Rebecca Moore collaborate with Maasai women artisans in Tanzania. The jewelry celebrates and is inspired by the patterns and colors of traditional Massai designs, rendered for Sidai in high quality materials.

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Soul Cap

Founded in the UK by best friends Michael Champan and Toks Ahmed-Salawudeen, Soul Cap is a Black-owned brand specializing in swim caps designed to accommodate voluminous hair. The idea for Soul Cap was conceived in 2017 when Champan and Ahmed-Salawudeen decided to learn together how to swim. “One day we met a woman with afro hair who struggled with the size of her swimming cap,” Champan recalls. “And that got us thinking: Why weren’t there more products for people blessed with voluminous hair?”

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SPGBK Springbreak

This Black-owned watch company based in North Carolina was founded by Kwame Molden and Maurice Davis. The name is inspired by Molden and Davis’ strong passion for education (and the joy of spring break), and each watch style is made in honor of a school or community located in their hometown of Fayetteville, North Carolina.

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Royal Jelly Harlem

Founded by the mother-daughter team of Teta and Maya Gorgoni, Royal Jelly Harlem produces African-inspired home designs. They draw inspiration from the artistry of printed fabrics, which they have discovered and researched during numerous trips to Africa.

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