6876 km is the distance from the garment district in Manhattan, New York to The Association of Women Tie Dyers in Kindia, Guinea.
6876 km is also the distance women and girls walk every 6 seconds collecting water for basic needs.
In 6876 km, photographs by Jon Brown document the creation of a naturally-dyed, zero-waste collection of textile art from start to finish, including the plants and people who brought the collection to life.
The project connects FIT faculty and students to a community of more than 300 artisans in West Africa to build accessible models for inclusive, sustainable development through textile arts, education, and entrepreneurship. The project was conceptualized by Dr. Theanne Schiros, professor of science at FIT, and produced in partnership with Mariama Mounir Camara, founder of Mariama Fashion Production (MFP) and co-founder of There is No Limit Foundation (TINLF), a non-profit promoting entrepreneurship, health, sanitation, education, and advocacy, especially for women, in ultra-poor communities in the Republic of Guinea and Cote d’Ivoire. The foundation also provides interest-free business loans to help West African communities reach their full socio-economic potential.
The story begins with a series of natural dye workshops led by Schiros with artisans supported by TINFL's Association of Women Tie Dyers in Kindia, Guinea, and by MFP in Grand-Bassam, Côte d'Ivoire. It concludes with zero-waste designs made from fabrics created in the workshops. Collaboration with New York-based students, designers, and brands to create the featured collection has fostered a global community. The contributors share a vision of utilizing fashion as a vehicle to address the different facets of sustainable development—social, environmental, and economic. Through empowerment of indigenous artisans—especially women—and of students, we imagine a new paradigm in fashion, one that is rooted in a transparent and ethical global supply chain.
This virtual exhibition, created as part of FIT’s 15th annual Sustainable Business and Design Conference, celebrates the identity, culture and empowerment of the people who make our textiles. Generous support for this project was provided by Mara Hoffman, FabScrap, La Réunion, Lauren Manoogian, Milk Studios, the Columbia University MRSEC, and FIT faculty development grants. The exhibition is sponsored by a Learning and Leadership grant from the National Education Association.