The Prettiest Star
The ‘Prettiest Star’ is a new collection that was formed from my collaboration with the lovely Alice Catherine - Writer, Blogger & lover of Vintage fashion. It was such a pleasure to work with Alice; we have a shared aesthetic, work ethic and always seem to be on the same wavelength.
Alice interviewed me when we launched the collection and although some of you may have read this on her blog, I wanted to share on here too. It gives an insight into the collection, and also how I run my business and my ethical practice. There is more to come soon on how our collaboration came about and how we work together. But for now I hope you enjoy this post.
Love Mikaela x
Words by Alice Catherine:
‘This Prettiest Star collection is the result of my obsession with Birkin and Bowie. Two icons that stick out to me when it comes to doing things differently, and two sources of inspiration that have helped me develop my own sense of style.
I wanted the pieces to have a vintage feel to them, and to be worn layered together. Of course they had to be gold, and they had to be pieces that I would want to reach for everyday. Pieces you can lend to your friends, your boyfriend, your girlfriend - pieces to be loved and worn forever.’ Alice x
AC: What inspired you to start an ethical business?
ML: It was so important to me when I set up my business that everything I did was as ethical and eco friendly as possible. I have never been a fan of buying cheap, throw away fashion jewellery. I’m more interested in old things, charity shopping, and vintage finds – all of which have been a big influence in my work. From the offset I wanted to align myself with the ‘Slow Fashion Movement’, representing all things eco, ethical, and green. I wanted to make quality jewellery, future heirlooms to pass onto your loved ones that last a lifetime and more. Not to be replaced or thrown away with the arrival of seasonal trends.
AC: Where are your pieces made?
ML: I hand-make every piece of jewellery from my workshop in Birmingham. It was really important to me that I used local suppliers to buy the materials that I use, most of which are based in Birmingham’s historic Jewellery Quarter (which is also where I studied at ‘The Jewellery School’). By using local suppliers, it means that I don’t have to carry huge amounts of materials or stock – I can work on an almost ‘made to order basis’. I only buy what I need, and this allows me to cut down on any potential waste, whilst also meaning that my jewellery isn’t creating a huge carbon footprint.
My gold plater is also based in the Jewellery Quarter, and the mining company that they buy their gold from follows ethical standards of practice. They have safe working conditions, rights, and labor standards for employees. They ensure projects do not force communities off their land, and are not located in armed or military conflicted areas. There is also no dumping of waste into the ocean, rivers, lakes or streams – they ensure their projects are not located in protected areas, fragile ecosystems, or other areas of high conservation or ecological value.
AC: What else stands out about the pieces you create?
ML: All of my pieces are stamped for authenticity at Birmingham’s Assay Office with my unique makers hallmark and a date letter representing the year it was made. A handwritten hallmark card explaining the marks accompanies every piece. Something that I hope people keep, and in years to come it will explain the origin of the piece…
AC: Tell us more about the packaging…
ML: Not only was it important to me that my jewellery was ethically made, I also wanted my packaging to carry the same ethos. I wanted everything to have as little environmental impact as possible, whilst still being beautiful and meaningfully packaged. Every element is sourced from various UK companies that follow eco principles. The pouch that each piece comes in is made from fair trade 100% cotton from a sustainable source, and is hand silkscreen printed with non-toxic water based ink. The outer box is made from eco friendly paper and is recyclable.
AC: Any final words of inspiration for other independent brands trying to be more ethical?
ML: I am a small independent business and plan to keep it that way – I want to keep things simple, and always strive to find ways to improve, learn how I can do things better, and create less waste. I want to create with value and longevity. I have always struggled with my creative side, and felt that I wasn’t really doing much in the way of helping people or the world. Now I feel content that I am doing the best that I can to create something meaningful, something to make my little boy proud of his ‘Muma’.