Conscious jewellery development across design and manufacture is the future of fashion jewellery.
Established in early 2010, East Splendor is one of the leading manufacturers of branded and private jewellery for America and Europe. Their impressive suite of brands includes Nine West, Anne Klien; Coach; M&S and Elie Tahari.
With factories in China and Vietnam, environmental practices drive their industrial processes. In 2019. East Splendour received the goverement acredited RCS2.0 certification - in recognition of their environmentally conscious and ethical recycle program for metals including zinc, brass and sterling silver.
Adorn caught up with Nicola Phillips (Lead designer) and Christine Porter (European Account Manager) who shed an optimistic light on the sustainability conundrum in fashion jewellery.
Juliet Hutton-Squire (JH-S):What are the pain points within the fast fashion jewellery sector when it comes to sustainability?
Christina Porter (CP): Honestly, we don't feel there are any pain points. The obvious factors would be cost, quality and lead times and we feel that we have not had to compromise on any of these.
A price increase has been minimal and this has been met with no resistance, seen purely as an added value and boosting end user appeal due to the recycled element.
JH-S: Ultimately, price is king as margins have to be met. How do you anticipate navigating this balance between sustainable materials and cost?
Nicola Phillips (NP):Again, cost increases have been very manageable and we have had all positive responses across the board. We feel that we have already crossed many of these bridges now.
J H-S: Sustainability is much bigger than just recycling - its about water consumption, processes, waste etc. Do you have a holistic approach to sustainability and what measures are you taking to support a circular economy?
C P: With consideration to the design process, the part we are most involved with, I guess prevention is our approach, we have changed our methods of working to avoid any wasted sampling and therefore reduce shipping of samples. Our process is streamlined and economical with time and materials. Working with drawings and cads is an obvious one, but utilising all existing componentry before new ones are sketched out.
Re-purposing and updating existing stock. For example adding a bright enamel coat to some existing metal surplus stock, to reuse but keep it current. Or using small swatch samples rather than sampling many colour options. Something our product area is very guilty of! And focused decision making to ensure we are as selective as possible with collections, before any pieces are made.And we have aimed to be true to this approach with each of our clients. They have respected our conscious choices and are happy to fit into this.
We find that this shift in mindset is largely where our clients are headed too.
J H-S: In terms of the processes surrounding the products, we have some plans already in action, we are working towards shipping 100% by sea rather than air.
N P: We are looking at ensuring all our packaging is sustainable and as we succeed in these we will then look at the next steps we can improve on. It's an evolving journey.
J H-S: Fast fashion is often dubbed ’through away’ fashion -what are you doing to ensure the longevity of product?
C P: We hope that because, good design is always good design, the pieces we focus on have a great timeless, permanent appeal. With a long term wear in mind on purchasing.
We stay within this area and have the confidence to say no to some of the trend 'box tickers' that we feel are not right for us to make.
We keep to the core styles that form a solid base structure to fast fashion ranges. They are the pieces that evolve slower and remain popular with the end users.
We also always opt for the higher quality material, the better plating option, the sturdier clasp , the thicker jumping, to ensure the collections wear well and don't have a 'shelf life' as such.
We have recently been developing and trialling plating and coatings used in watch production which are designed to protect and withstand a lot of wear.
I still wear fashion items bought a long time ago that I've cared for and were well made!
J H-S: What do you think about having a centralised hub that would list deadstock componentry and materials from your own factory as well as others?
N P: I think any new innovations to utilise existing materials are a worthy one. It would interesting to see where this could lead. However, I feel our aim would be to be progressively reducing the amount of deadstock even available as we go forward too.
J H-S: There are challenges from an end consumer POV with regards to fast fashion, in your ideal world what services would you like to see open up that are economically viable that would support the growing ‘repair’ economy?
C P: There is a scheme on the highstreet where store points are rewarded for returning cosmetics casing and packaging that is otherwise tricky to recycle.
I'd like to see something similar as an incentive to end users, where retailers can participate in a shared group reward system, points for pre-loved product that can then go to a second scheme utilising the componentry and/or repurposing.
Words: Juliet Hutton-Squire in conversation with Christine Porter and Nicola Phillips
Images: East Splendour
Contact Enquiries: Christina Porter