Sustainable Fashion and COVID-19

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Sustainable Fashion for a Better World.

Really? Yes. Check out:

charity: water

On Saturday, nearly four years after I collaborated in jewelry design – yes, you read it right, jewelry design, before I had immersed myself in quantum integer programming, and just after I had created the first Nudge video – I received an email from Monique Péan.

Who?

Monique Péan launched her eponymous environmentally friendly fine jewelry line known for its one-of-a-kind designs, avant-garde style and unique materials, including sustainable fossilized walrus ivory and fossilized dinosaur bone, in 2006.

Monique Péan strives to raise awareness of art, culture and global environmental issues through design. Proceeds from sales contribute to global philanthropic organizations such as charity: water, which provides clean drinking water and basic sanitation to people in developing nations.

Her designs have been worn by Michelle ObamaNatalie PortmanGwyneth PaltrowKerry WashingtonReese WitherspoonNaomi WattsGisele BündchenLupita Nyong’oEmma WatsonJennifer LawrenceKarlie KlossConstance JablonskiJessica ChastainLiya KebedeJoan SmallsBérénice Bejo and Rachel Weisz.

Obviously, Wikipedia does not have the complete list of her customers! 😏

Now to the email that triggered this post.

Dear Sridhar,

I hope that you and your loved ones are staying safe and healthy!

I wanted to share this photograph I received from Scott Harrison and charity: water’s local partner in Tigray, Ethiopia, showing “social distancing and hand-washing stations at charity: water wells. In this remote region, the nearest hospital is often several days walk away from communities, and not equipped with ventilators or any of the high-tech equipment we’re familiar with. Clean water and distancing literally are THE ONLY line of defense for the people living here.” 

Thanks to the support of collectors of my work like you, we have been able to fund multiple clean water and sanitation projects in Ethiopia and reach over 15,000 people around the world.

Your generous support of my practice continues to make a significant difference through providing clean drinking water and sanitation to those who need it most. Thank you so much for believing in my vision and wishing you and your family health and safety!

My warmest, 

Monique   

What makes it sustainable fashion?

Let us dig into the materials, the supply chain and the manufacturing process (including labor).

For those that need reminding, I am “University Professor of Operations Management.” 🤷🏽‍♂️

From a 2016 letter from Monique:

Your bracelet features grey sunburst fossilized walrus ivory, Scandinavian meteorite, black Guatemalan jade, tanzanite, grey fossilized dinosaur bone, and white diamond pave, set in 18K recycled white gold.

The fossilized walrus ivory ranges from 10,000 to 150,000 years old and is found in the Arctic region. Thousands of years of mineralization create the unique hues based upon where the fossils rested. Fossilized walrus ivory is a unique material with incredible natural color patterns and striations, with each piece varying slightly from the next. Depending on the saturation, hue and pattern, certain colors of fossilized walrus ivory are more precious and rare. Ice floes in the Arctic Circle melt, bringing tusks to the shore, thus there is no mining involved in sourcing fossilized walrus ivory.

Scandinavian meteorites impacted the earth during the Quarternary Period and were discovered in melting glacial ice. They are extremely rare, and aged at approximately 1 million years old. They are identified by their metallic silver color and natural geometric patterns, composed primarily of triangular and intersecting linear shapes. These stunning natural patterns display the meteorite’s spectacular iron crystal structure.

“Jade” is the general term describing jadeite. Jadeite is white in its pure state, with all other colors caused by inclusions of the minerals. Guatemalan jade was discovered near the Motagua fault, where additional faults provided fractures and openings that allowed serpentine to naturally carry precipitated jadeite from the subduction zone to the surface.

Guatemalan jade is found in natural colors ranging from a bright, intense green to soft lilac, blue, pink, white, yellow, grey and black. The grey and black hues are exclusively found in Guatemalan jade. We partner with Guatemalan artisans to hand carve the sustainable jade.

Tanzanite is known for its vivid transparent blue-violet color and originates in Tanzania, the only source in the world for this semi-precious gemstone. We utilize conflict and devastation free stones that are obtained in accordance with strict labor, trade and environmental laws. We work with artisanal miners and mines that are dedicated to social and environmental responsibility. Fair trade stones are closely tracked from the source to the market to ensure that every stone has been handled according to strict protocols.

The fossilized dinosaur bone used in our jewelry is agatized and ranges from 146 to 156 million years old. The Colorado Plateau is the only source of agatized fossilized dinosaur bone in the world. Due to impurities in the surrounding sediment, the fossils vary in color from lavender to black with red, yellow, brown and blue.

We track each of its diamonds to the best of its ability throughout each step of the supply chain to ensure that no diamonds are being mined, cut or polished in regions that are engaged in conflict. We only purchase diamonds in countries that are full participants in the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS), an international cooperative monitoring system created to eliminate the flow of “conflict” diamonds. The Kimberley Process requires participating countries to certify the origin of, and monitor the import and export of, rough diamonds across country borders to ensure that they are free of conflict.

Gold mining is an environmentally destructive process that dumps cyanide, lead and mercury into local water sources. Gold mines are also linked to poor working conditions and low safety standards. In an effort to limit the significant ecological damage and human toll caused by gold mining procedures and reduce the demand for the dirty mining process, we use only 18 carat recycled gold in its fine jewelry pieces. The recycled gold used in MONIQUE PÉAN jewelry is identical in quality to newly mined gold and comes from a number of different sources, including existing jewelry. MONIQUE PÉAN is a supporter of the No Dirty Gold campaign.

 Were wells made possible due to my collaboration?

Proceeds funded the construction of a clean drinking water well and sanitation project in Mali that was completed in August 2017, which now serves a community of approximately 1,676 people. Before this project was constructed, the community had limited or no access to clean and safe drinking water.

What was my design contribution?

To have “rotation” in the jewelry. The centerpiece is designed to flip over. My version of a spin-1/2 particle? 😏

Why did I engage in this fashionable pursuit?

I like newness.

I am a man with considerable leisure.

It was (for) our 20th wedding anniversary.😊

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