By Lottie Dalziel
For this week's dose of inspiration, we thought we'd head across the ditch to Luna & Rose. Luna & Rose is a sustainable accessories label based between Bali and New Zealand, they design beautiful pieces for the adventurer and sun-seeker. Their new Aperitivo range is made by local communities from 99% recycled sterling silver. We spoke with co-founder Rosie Shelton for an insightful conversation into the industry and Luna & Rose's goal for the future.
LD: When did you first see there was a gap in the market for ethical and sustainable jewellery?
RS: It wasn’t so much as a gap in the market it was more than as soon as we knew that we could produce our pieces sustainably and in an entirely closed-loop system it was a no-brainer! After studying Fashion Design I was very aware of trying to work in the industry without adding to the huge waste and pollution of the industry. 10 years ago it was a different story and not many people were thinking ‘sustainably’ but I knew that jewellery at least had an after-life attached and was able to be melted back down… hence the decision away from fashion apparel and into jewellery.
LD: As a brand, did you feel a sense of responsibility to provide consumers with a product that was beneficial for the environment?
RS: Absolutely. I think any brand, producer, company, food supplier, supermarket.. (be it on a huge global scale or a small independent brand) that is producing in today's current climate has no choice but to think about the environment first. The planet has been here for 1000’s of years before us and to think, physically see and learn of the damage that we are doing to this place on a daily basis? No one can ignore that. But by ensuring products and businesses are sustainably produced, off-setting their carbon footprint, offering alternatives, not packaging items twice and in plastic…. etc etc we can hopefully stop the damage to date and start to give back and look after the environment.
LD: In the beginning, how difficult was it to source equipment and materials to create your pieces that were sustainable and also ethical?
RS: We were very lucky with our recycled sterling silver and after a few conversations we were able to source this within weeks (which is incredible on Island time!). Sourcing organic fabrics for our Island Store pieces proved a little longer and our plant-dying is a continued work in progress. You win some and you lose some but it’s all part of choosing to produce your own brand and with it – you learn SOOOO much more than you could ever have imagined!
LD: How do you see the industry progressing?
RS: I hope that through consumer demand and understanding more and more brands, (especially large globals because I think indie brands are already at the forefront) are forced to work with Organically produced fabrics, natural-based dyes, more local production to their warehousing and more transparency is demanded by all brands. If the consumer has access to the knowledge in which their brand or items are made, they can make more informed decisions. To date, I think we have purchased and shopped too blindly due to the lack of transparency and knowledge coming from companies. But we are slowly waking up and demanding this change which I hope will benefit the entire world right down to the health of the farmers or produce fabric and mine for minerals. My dream is for the Fashion Industry and accessories to become fully closed loops. Taking back old clothing, re-purposing it, creating new fabrics and fibres from old ones… There is a technology that is doing this already, it’s just on a small scale due to the price and lack of demand. Many voices will change this.
LD: Are more brands aligning with your objectives of protecting the environment and creating a sustainable future?
RS: There definitely are a few awesome brands that are making sustainability their focus especially out of Australia and New Zealand. In terms of jewellery specifically, I don’t actually know anyone working in a closed-loop like we do at Luna & Rose with recycled sterling silver but I’m sure there are… Brands like Spell are leading the way with their transparency, Salt Gypsy with their use of regenerated nylon fabrics, Savanah the Label… Choosing organic over chemical fabrics and dying with vegetable or plant-based dyes is most definitely the more expensive option however one that personally, I don’t see as even an option. It’s so great to see more brands selecting these methods of production. Unfortunately, whilst there are a lot of companies ‘green-washing’ their collections or brands for marketing which is something to be aware of. At the end of the day, it comes down to the consumer and doing their own research which while it may be time-consuming, pays off for our environment and planet protection.