WHAT WE TALKED ABOUT
Neuhaus and Wares grew up together in Antwerp, also known as the diamond capital of the world and with family members working in the trade too. In London, they became conscious of their purchases and were frustrated by the lack of sustainability.
Kimai was born in 2018 after the two saw scope to create a brand with a transparent supply chain and ethically sourced diamonds – this they believed, would appeal to a younger shopper that had previously been overlooked by the industry.
Mined vs. Lab-grown diamonds
Diamonds are entirely made up of carbon in a high pressure and temperature environment. Traditionally, they are mined from the ground where they’ve formed over centuries. Thanks to today’s technology, lab-grown methods provide identical results, and without the negative impacts.
We dug deep (pun not intended) and discussed the negative social and detrimental themes concerning mining, “There are many different issues…the first one would be the social impact of mining. There are a lot of children working in mines, and a lot of them (companies) that sponsor wars in Africa too. We need to dig deeper and deeper in order to get better diamonds which means we’re leaving huge holes on earth. This also means entire communities have had to relocate that live around those mines as well.’
Plus, a diamond often exchanges hands 20 times after being mined, with so many middlemen, it’s usually impossible to trace where exactly it came from and under what conditions it was pulled from the earth.
Kimai was founded in 2018 as a modern jewellery brand channelling the founder’s heritage while also delivering on true traceability. Using lab diamonds, which are physically and chemically identical and recycled gold, Kimai cut out mines and the middlemen for a sustainable process from design to delivery.
Did you know?
Kimai means sustainability in Hebrew.
Advice for a more sustainable future
The founders suggest when wearing a particular item of clothing, you should make a tick or mark on the care label to show that you’re re-using the piece again and again.
Netflix documentary to watch
Watch the Explained episode on diamonds here.
Leather which represent a $50bn industry has terrible environmental and human impact. Tanning is probably the most talked about issue with the infamous Black River of Daka.
Metals used for tanning are extremely harmful and no humans should be close to them. There is also a high amount of solid waste and Chromium 3, Chromium 6.
However even if the producing country is more regulated, processing leather itself is also a problem:
– Leather is one of the most carbon-heavy material
– It has a large carbon and water footprint.
Even if the production is regulated, leather still demands too much from our planet.
PU & PVC have lower carbon and water footprint so in that comparison they are better. But they are still made from petrochemicals which means that they are essentially plastic. They won’t break down at the end of life.
COMES IN TREEKIND
TreeKind is made from green waste which is essentially park & garden waste: leaves, twigs, grass, cutting from trees… Everything you put in your green bin.
Biophilica collects green waste from parks around London and they have recently been experiencing successfully with agricultural waste (tomato plant waste). So adding to parks, now farms are part of their supply chain.
800 million tons of green waste
5.5bn tons of agricultural waste
And it is regenerative!
TreeKind is ‘estimated carbon-neutral’. They are waiting for the Life Cycle Assessment to confirm the first findings:
‘The carbon sequestered by the plant matter that we are using in our material collects more carbon than the process of making the material’ Mira Nameth
BIOPHILICA AT THE INTERSECTION OF NATURE, SCIENCE AND DESIGN
A group of scientists and designers working together. A collaboration that is extremely fruitful and positive.
Nature has spectacular engineering and chemistry so ‘we’re just at the start of this plant revolution where we will see an explosion of green chemistry […]. We are moving away from fossil fuels and looking at chemistry that does not damage the environment’.
1. Setting the space in East London and producing 500 square meters of TreeKind. They are working hand in hand with selected brands to develop products.
2. Competition with Blue City Labs where the finalist will get enough TreeKind to create their designs.
3. Collaboration with ID Watches Geneve, a luxury watch brand focused 100% on sustainability: 100% recycled steel and refurbished mechanism. TreeKind is working on the watch straps.
MIRA’S ADVICE FOR A MORE SUSTAINABLE LIFE
Eating as many plants as possible!
According the the Ellen McArthur Foundation, there is the equivalent of 1 dumper truck of textiles either incinerated or sent to landfill every second around the world! At the current rate of consumption, textile waste is likely to be 60% worse by 2030.
Christina Dean has made a career as a fashion waste warrior: she is the founder of Redress, a pioneering Hong Kong-based NGO that seeks to reduce textile waste and promote environmental sustainability in the fashion industry by educating two main stakeholder groups: designers & consumers.
Christina is a former-journalist and the co-author of Dress [with] Sense (a consumer guide for the conscious closet), as well as the host of documentary series, Frontline Fashion.
‘No clothes should truly have an end of life. I’ve realised that others’ people discarded clothes are better than my own’
HOW IT ALL STARTED
Christina has always been passionate by public health and while she was a journalist in China, she realised there was a strong link between the fashion’s industry impact on the environment with publich health.
She started a project called 365 Challenge where every single day for a whole year, she wore other people’s discarded clothes sourced from a giant sorting warehouse outside of Hong Kong. Looking at the fashion waste, she felt disappointed and this is when her new path began. After going from hope to anger, Christina has reached a reality check, she doesn’t oscillate between anger and hope and anymore, she lives in a much more educated area and has a healthy respect for the fashion industry.
‘Clothing is part of our armoury of emotional wellbeing’
REDRESS was founded by Christina in 2007. At that time it was Asia’s first and only environmental NGO focused on on the fashion industry. Its mission is to reduce waste in the fashion industry by educating 2 main stakeholders: designers & consumers.
‘We want to inform & inspire: cultivate a much more considerate and conscious culture around clothes, how they are designed, produced and worn’
The world’s largest design competition with 140 university partners from around the world, 60 countries applying. The competition is in its 11th cycle.
This year Jessica Chang, won the Redress Design Award 2021 First Prize with Timberland. ‘The Wall’, the collection she presented, explores the different forms of walls that form protection or barriers, from those existing in nature, to man-made architecture and emotional walls we built to protect our hearts. Jessica upcycles industry surplus textiles and secondhand clothing into garments, adding breathable window detailing, with the aim to reduce the frequency of garment washing.
‘Evolving recycling advancement enables us to reuse materials that weren’t possible in the past; therefore, utilising existing materials and problem-solving are things we must consider as responsible designers’
Founded in 2017, The R Collective is a social impact brand. Christina wanted to show that a sustainable fashion brand was indeed possible and profitable. The R Collective was born out of pure frustration and she already has access to waste through Redress and designers through the Awards.https://www.youtube.com/embed/RAcgkD7bFbw?feature=oembed
ReCircle is the latest collection by The R Collective: they rescued luxury IP-sensitive silk fabric waste, which is often routinely incinerated due to its highly sensitive branding and patterns, from a global leading luxury brand.
WHAT CAN WE DO
Christina is the co-author of Dress with Sense where she gives us easy tips to start having a conscious relationship with your clothes. One of her main advice is to do a closet edit: dedicate some time to edit your existing wardrobe and sort what you do and don’t wear. Take care of your clothes, think of the work that it took as well as the individuals behind them.