MINNEAPOLIS—In recognition of June as Refugee Awareness Month, the Minneapolis Institute of Art (Mia) is partnering with Twin Cities fashion brand Epimonia and artist Denimani for an immersive pop-up experience that supports refugees. From June 7 to June 12, The Store at Mia will have apparel and accessories designed by the brands available for purchase as part of an installation that raises awareness of the global refugee crisis.
Epimonia and Denimani collaborated on the products for the pop-up at Mia, drawing on their own refugee experiences to tell a story of migration and identity. Epimonia turns upcycled material from discarded life jackets worn by refugees overseas into bracelets and other apparel. The company employs refugees in all facets of its production process, from sourcing to design to manufacturing, and the proceeds from its products go toward NGOs that support refugees with opportunities for education and advancement. Denimani is a visual artist and clothing designer who creates pieces that reflect the human experience.
Mohamed Malim, founder of Epimonia, called the collaboration “one of a kind.” “Epimonia is all about uplifting and providing a platform for refugee artists like Denimani. We wanted to create something that tells our voice and elevates the global refugee community,” Malim said. “We are grateful for this opportunity and we hope our neighbors will enjoy this amazing experience that we have created.”
According to United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) estimates, at the end of 2020 82.4 million people worldwide had been forcibly displaced as a result of persecution, conflict, violence, human rights violations, or events seriously disturbing public order. Over the past 20 years, tens of thousands of these refugees have resettled in Minnesota, many of them in the Twin Cities. During the pop-up, The Store at Mia will sell tote bags and enamel pins designed by both brands that shed light on the refugee situation and serve as a symbolic gesture of support and solidarity with displaced people worldwide.
“To have the opportunity of conceptualizing and developing a space that continues the conversation of the refugee experience, as a refugee, in collaboration with Mia and Epimonia, is a great honor,” Denimani said.
Epimonia and Denimani will donate the proceeds from the sales of their products to the Karen Organization of Minnesota, an organization on a mission to enhance the quality of life for all refugees from Burma in Minnesota.