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For the Union x Harlem Toile capsule collection we collaborated with Sheila Bridges to use her “Harlem Toile” print. From the first time I saw the Harlem Toile prints at the Underground Museum in Los Angeles I loved the juxtaposition of African American motif’s on a typically European design. The way she blended both worlds breathing a new, particularly African slant to toile while at the same time making a subtle critique on colonialism was sublime to me.
Sheila Bridges’ Harlem Toile De Jouy has been recognized across the art and design world for the past decade and has been featured in Oprah Magazine, The New York Times https://www.sheilabridges.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/NYtimes-march2006.png The Washington Post, The Seattle Times, The San Francisco Chronicle, Elle Décor, etc and has been featured as part of exhibitions in numerous museums throughout the country and abroad.
The original Harlem Toile De Jouy wallpaper is currently represented in the Smithsonian Cooper Hewitt Design Museum in their permanent wallpaper collection- it has also been featured at The Studio Museum in Harlem ( they used to have a whole Harlem Toile section in their gift store with the paper as backdrop along with my other products). The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in Harlem sells my products, The Museum of Art in Design in NYC (right in Columbus circle), The Musée De La Toile De Jouy in France ( where Toile originated) and even NMAAHC ( The National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington DC recently accepted the paper earlier this year). The list goes on. I designed the paper and fabric originally to address the stereotypes that are often associated with African Americans (playing basketball, eating chicken and watermelon, etc). The woman represented running from the horses and jumping over the log is me- as I am and always have been a horse owner and used to have a farm- but again, I am addressing the stereotype about running fast and jumping high.