Shop Sustainable: Jade Alycia Inc.
For this week's sustainable showcase, I present to you Jade Alycia, creator of fabulously colourful and sustainable jewel-encrusted accessories. Based in New Jersey, Jade has been running her business since March this year, and I spoke to her recently about how she incorporates sustainability into her brand.
First off, tell me a little bit about yourself, what your business is about and why you started it?
New Jersey-based accessories brand, Jade Alycia Inc., introduces a custom fusion of couture techniques & Parisian street style to the eco conscious fashion goer. Since 2016, Jade’s handmade line of unique women’s handbags, fascinators & jewelry have exclusively styled upscale events & lavish occasions. Each one of a kind design is created from handpicked vintage pieces and turned into highly covetable masterpieces. Re-write the rules of fashion with a trendy transformational brand that refuses to trade sustainability for style.
How did you get into sustainability? Were there any particular stories or events that resonated with you enough to change your habits?
I got into sustainability really when I was in college and I was attending this fashion industry course. My professor at the time taught a lesson on the effects of waste from the fashion industry on the world and all of the inhumane practices of the industry to produce what consumers see as “luxury.” It was then when I became aware of the sweat shops, unliveable wages, and ultimately the destruction to the earth from the fashion industry. I was truly appalled and knew that in order to start making a change I would need to create designs that wouldn’t add to the landfills or cost people their lives. That’s when I began to dig deeper and research what I could do to be different in fashion. Recycling materials to create with was the first thing that came to mind. I wanted my brand to be authentic and transparent about what we use to design and how everything is produced.
Can you tell me a bit about how you have made your business practices sustainable?
I made by business practices sustainable by first only sourcing materials that were pre-loved, but still usable. I began thinking of creative ways to turn that into something desirable and trendsetting. I found it to be challenging to solely source this way so I began to branch out a bit more and use other sustainable materials that were unused but would otherwise be disposed of. I began to refurbish, repurpose and refashion this materials into handbags, headpieces & jewelry. What I realized from researching is that sustainability doesn’t always mean the item has been pre-owned. It just simply means you are using materials that were meant to serve a particular purpose, but have now been used for something completely different to avoid being wasted. Using this new found wisdom I create my designs from 100% sustainable materials. In addition I have made sure to use eco-friendly packaging, conduct all of my business online and promote the luxury of upcycled pieces.
Are there any areas of your business that just can’t be made sustainable?
Yes, for hygiene purposes all jewellery hardware and headpieces simply can not be pre-loved. Those pieces must be purchased brand new and unused. However, we do try to make up for that by purchasing good quality materials that are produced from sustainable materials such as our 100% wool fascinator hats, and our hypoallergenic & 925 sterling silver hardware for earrings.
Do you hope to expand your business in future or are you happy with where you are at?
I would love to expand my business in the future to a small yet powerful team. It’s a lot maintaining and creating everything myself. However, I never want to lose that handmade aspect of my brand that makes it feel very personal and special to my clients.
What has been your favourite part about running your business so far?
So much honestly! I truly love the freedom of being able to create, update and launch whenever I feel its time. I most enjoyed rebranding my entire website, social media platforms & logo recently. It was a ton of work, but I couldn’t be happier with the result. I feel like my brand truly shines now and just oozes who I am as a person and as a designer. Second to that, I love creating new pieces and launching new collections! I get so excited every time I make a new piece that I know the eco conscious fashion goer will love.
What is the one cause that you are most passionate about in terms of sustainability/environmentalism?
The one thing that I am most passionate about is not comprising sustainability for style. I share my struggle of being a fashion goer that would be shopping for trendsetting “sustainable” accessories from name brand designers and would be repeatedly be disappointed with the actual percentage of sustainable materials it was made of. Almost always it was only a fraction of the content tag. If I did come across something that was sustainable & stylish it wasn’t unique. It wasn’t one of a kind. It was simply just another accessory that 200 plus other people could buy. I wanted sustainability & exclusivity which is why I only create one of each of my designs. I want my clients the reap all the rewards that are hard to find.
How do you think people should go about promoting sustainability in their everyday lives?
It is hard to live sustainability at first. I know for me that change was difficult. I recommend switching over little by little. Start with the things you care least about or don’t use as often and build towards eventually swapping out your daily essentials for more sustainable brands.