Last year’s announcement by the British Fashion Council that London Fashion Week would officially be fur free, heralded a schedule that is increasingly reflecting the change in the way we are now shopping for clothes. Back in September, a series of events including pop-ups and film screenings were staged, alongside the traditional shows, to highlight some of the eco and ethical issues facing fashion, putting sustainability in the spotlight. And this year, for the first time, four leading ethical jewelers will be exhibiting during London Fashion Week, championing Fairtrade Gold to press, buyers and consumers.
“For years Fairtrade and some very committed jewellers have fought for a position on the catwalk, and now is their chance to shine,” David Finlay, programme partnerships manager at the Fairtrade Foundation, told the Professional Jeweller’s Stacey Hailes. And by showcasing their pieces at the London Jewellery Showroom on the capital’s Old Bond Street, Natalie Perry, Rock Hound, Ute Decker and Cred Jewellery will help illustrate the variety of Fairtrade Gold designs available in this increasingly inspiring sector.
Named Young Designer of the Year last year at the Professional Jeweller Awards, Natalie Perry’s travel-inspired designs are crafted using Fairtrade Gold, recycled silver and ethically-sourced gemstones. It was after attending an event about Fairtrade Gold in 2015 that the London-based designer decided that using the certified material was the only way forward for her brand. “I heard first-hand, from a miner, the life changing and positive impact that Fairtrade has had for her, her family and community,” she said, also explaining that she and her team had been unaware of the dangers of some of the chemicals they used, which had previously put the health and lives of themselves and their families at risk.
Rock Hound’s Susi Smither experienced first hand the impact the gem world has on the communities it taps into while visiting mining projects in some of the poorest countries in the world, and it was this that led to the creation of her conscious jewelry brand. Rock Hound’s cutting edge designs are fashioned from gems and gold sourced from small-scale artisanal gold mines certified by Fairtrade, keeping her principles of responsible sourcing front and centre.
Recently featured in a list of the UK’s top ten jewelers, Ute Decker was one of the first jewelers in the world to launch a collection in Fairtrade Gold. The german-born, london-based designer is renowned for her minimalist, architectural-inspired jewelry, which is handcrafted from 100% recycled silver or Fairtrade Gold sourced from the small Sotrami artisanal mining cooperative in the highlands of Peru.
One of the pioneers of lab grown diamonds and a fore-runner of ethical jewelry in the trade, Cred Jewellery was created as an enterprise project to support the work of the Cred Foundation, a charity campaigning on education, poverty and human rights issues. In 2003, Cred created a partnership with Colombian mining collective Oro Verde, and with a transparent source of gold, refining and manufacturing, launched the world's first independently certified environmentally and socially responsible wedding rings. Today, the company creates a wide range of ethical and Fairtrade jewellery, and works to inspire others to pioneer responsible mining practices.