As the holiday season is here and the close to another year approaches, we like to tune in to what people are thinking about the year that has almost finished, and what plans are in store for the year ahead. We had a chat with Natalia Tisdale of Eco Lustre, to find out what items she sees are sparking particular interest and her thoughts on the current position and growth of the ethical fashion industry. Here is what we discovered:
Eco Fashion World: Please tell me more about the “funkier” materials used in making some of the jewelry items and what inspired you to carry them.
Natalia Tisdale: The most interesting material we’ve encountered is fruits and vegetables. Margaret Dorfman, a designer in California, makes parchment out of dried fruits and vegetables and applies it to a copper core. The result are these amazing looking pieces, each is slightly different, so they are like mini works of art. We carry cuffs: papaya, beet and cabbage, and have just introduced a necklace. Other favorites include recycled bottles (Bombay Sapphire gin bottles look like turquoise sea glass); tagua nuts, a seed grown in the Amazon, that when sliced, dried and colored produces beautiful looking “chips” assembled into striking necklaces; and driftwood shaped and painted to make cool looking rings. We wanted to carry this jewelry because we love the idea of making something beautiful out of the mundane, elevating discarded materials destined for a landfill or to rot on the forest floor to works of wearable art. But true inspiration comes from the designers. It’s amazing to see what can be achieved when ingenuity, talent and dedication to sustainability come together.
Bombay Sapphire Bottle Necklace
Driftwood Watercolor Ring
EFW: Any top sellers and/or items you think would make great gifts?
NT: We find that customers gravitate towards products with a story and a “wow” factor, especially when it comes to gifts. “Funky materials” category fits that criteria. So, the Beet cuff has been one of the holiday best sellers. Asymmetrical Turquoise necklace made from tagua nuts is another – striking color, interesting design, and the material’s sustainability make it a winner. Let’s not forget the Fork ring - it’s been one of our best sellers since we launched. Also XO earrings – universal symbolism, mismatched trend and an adorable gift container make it another crowd pleaser.
EFW: Is there anything you can think of that you believe has been a push forward for the ethical fashion/accessories industry in the last year? Have you seen growth in the movement? What do you feel the movement needs more of?
NT: Books on the subject and movies like True Cost have propelled the ethical fashion industry forward. An increased number of bloggers focusing on sustainability, especially sustainability in fashion, are also a factor. There are more brands devoted to ethical production. And we’ve noticed a proliferation of marketplaces specific to ethical/sustainable/eco/fair trade products (not fashion exclusive, but fashion is a big player). So yes, definitely growth.
We think the movement needs more high profile supporters. There are some vocal celebrities, which is terrific, but they are few and far between. Also, we’d love to see more exposure in main stream media and main stream bloggers, which would mean a bigger audience outside of those already devoted to the movement.
And our favorite pet peeve: how little play (if any) jewelry gets in the sustainable fashion discussion. We’d like to see more visibility and a higher profile.
EFW: What’s your 2017 shaping to be like? Any learnings from 2016 you’d like to capitalize on? Anything you’d like to accomplish?
NT: One of our goals is to explore additional sustainable materials. We’ve been successful with the “funky” category – we’d like to find and test more. And more in the area of alternative recycled metals. White bronze has been an interesting and affordable choice, for example. So if there are any U.S.-based jewelry designers reading this and you have very high quality, sophisticated creations that match the above criteria, please get in touch. We’d also like to do more in raising awareness of eco-friendly jewelry, among both consumers and jewelry designers – negative impact of new metals mining on the environment, alternative materials, supply chain transparency.
Please visit Eco Lustre to shop their full array of stunning and interesting, handcrafted, sustainable, ethical fashion jewelry.