First/Person: Meet the Orejen Designers

Cara Gibbs

11 February 2021


Every once in a while, an opportunity comes along that rewrites an entire creative process. For S. Harris, being the fabric engine that powered the Orejen Collection did just that! After years of concepting ideas, brainstorming impact initiatives, bringing multiple genius designers into the mix, and navigating a global pandemic, the talented individuals that represent the Black Artists + Designers Guild along with the guidance of our creative director, Jodi Finer, are set to debut this much-anticipated collection. A collection ripe with originality, steeped in heritage and, most importantly, responsible in its aspirational efforts. It’s our pleasure to introduce you to the talented makers behind this incredible collection...

Malene Barnett is an artist, entrepreneur and authority on the cultural traditions and practices of art in the African diaspora and how it translates into her vision of the modern black experience. From her sculptural ceramic tiles and vessels to mixed media paintings to handwoven rugs, Barnett continues to evolve her craft and share her African heritage with a global audience. Using natural materials like the finest wools, silks, pastels and clay, she uncovers a deeper language of her legacy and an authentic understanding of her cultural identity. As the founder of the Black Artists + Designers Guild, a global platform and curated collective of independent black artists, makers, and designers, she is always seeking new ways to define the black narrative and experience for a new generation while bringing awareness to inequality.

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With a background in fine arts and surface design, Shakoor Interiors Principal, Erin Shakoor, is much more than a designer. She possesses the unique ability to intuit the needs of a space, resulting in harmonious interiors with strong visual impact. Driven in part by her insatiable curiosity about the world around her, Erin made a natural transition into interior design 17 years ago. Her eye for detail allows her to approach each new project with a fresh perspective. Erin Shakoor is part of the Maker’s Movement, and in her Chicago based artist’s studio, she is designing exquisite luxury surfaces for interior design and architectural applications. Stay tuned as Erin’s dimensional wall surfaces, leathers and textiles will shortly be produced for the general market.

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Beth Diana Smith is the Owner and Principal Designer of Beth Diana Smith Interior Design, a full-service interior design firm that brings collected-meets-refined style and unparalleled efficiency to a variety of project types. She prides herself on her bold, eclectic style and is adept at crafting inspired residential and commercial designs. Beth’s spaces marry visual interest and livability, with luxurious finishes and skillful curations of art, pattern, and color.

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Rayman Boozer is a graduate of Indiana University. After moving to New York City, he was dubbed the go-to designer for color consulting. Over the years, his firm, Apartment 48, has embraced that distinction—specializing in combining vibrant colors, organic materials and contemporary furnishings to create spaces that feel optimistic, relaxed and effortless. Rayman is a member of the Elle Décor A-List, which recognizes the top designers in the world.

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Possessing a strong background in fashion and entertainment, designer Linda Hayslett draws inspiration from her working experience at companies like VH1, Allure, W, Details and InStyle Magazine, to name a few. After working in fashion on the east coast, in 2003 she made a decision to move west and become an Angeleno. Linda planted roots in Los Angeles and started to absorb the west coast atmosphere. Through her aesthetic she infuses a warm touch that is often missed when clients hire only a contractor or architect for their project. She realized that offering services that tailor and integrate the designer with construction at each level of building, from concept to completion, was the best to truly convey the lifestyle experience clients are seeking.

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Cara Gibbs

Cara is a freelance design and lifestyle writer, editor, and stylist residing in Manhattan. Formerly the principal style editor at Luxe Interiors + Design, she now is a regular contributor to Architectural Digest, House Beautiful, Wallpaper, and The Wall Street Journal, among other publications. She is also the co-founder of the artisan marketplace, In The Pursuit, a platform that marries content with commerce through a lifestyle lens.

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