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Giving Up Fast Fashion a Follow Up

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I’m Niki, the founder and designer of Enji Studio Jewelry. We’re a sustainable luxury jewelry brand based in beautiful north county San Diego.

at Enji we’re on a mission to bring you meaningful, modern, ethical design that shows off your style, honors the journey of your life, and reflects your values. We craft each piece for you in our Carlsbad studio bringing new life to recycled gold and silver and using only FairTrade and ethically sourced diamonds and gemstones.

Enji was founded in 2014. We take steps toward positive change in our industry by practicing ethical sourcing and manufacturing and giving back to the local and global community. We create our pieces for everyday wear.

Enji is about modern, minimal design that is made ethically and sustainably and gives back to the community. As creators and consumers, our choices now have a global impact. This is why we consider how things are made to be important and this to be part of our responsibility as a business and global citizen. As a designer and jeweler, I only work with suppliers that share this view. This is why we make all of my pieces using only recycled gold and silver, ethically sourced and fairtrade stones, chains and findings that are made in the USA and Italy, and packaging and marketing materials made using recycled paper and clothing.

Niki is a GIA Graduate Jeweler. She was awarded the 2016 Halstead Grant Award and 2014 Windgate Fellowship Award by the Center for Craft, Creativity, and Design. She has exhibited in galleries throughout the United States and Europe and her work can be seen in the pages of Glamour UK, Basic, Evening Standard, National Jeweler, and more. To see her one of a kind art pieces and CV check out nikigrandics.com

Enji is about modern, minimal design that is made ethically and sustainably and gives back to the community. As a designer and jeweler, I only work with suppliers that share this view. We make all of my pieces using only recycled gold and silver, ethically sourced and fair mined stones, chains and findings that are made in the USA and Italy, and packaging and marketing materials made using recycled paper.

As a member of Ethical Metalsmiths, we hope to be among the first movers bringing transparency and sustainable practices into the luxury fashion jewelry world. Ethical Metalsmiths and Fairmined gold and gems.  All our pieces are made in our studio in San Diego and we use low-impact, environmentally conscious studio practices to lessen our footprint. 

We take steps toward positive change in our industry by practicing ethical sourcing and manufacturing, because it’s important. To us, to you, to the women and men who mined the stones we use to create our pieces. We also donate a portion of each sale to organizations that help empower women locally and globally and work to end domestic violence and human trafficking because that’s part of the future we want to see.

Ethical sustainable jewelry fairtrade fair trade fair-trade jewelry recycled gold recycled sterling silver San Diego Carlsbad ethical gemstones ethically sourced sustainable

Giving Up Fast Fashion a Follow Up

Niki Grandics

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Last year around this time, I wrote about why I gave up fast fashion, and what I learned and gained along the way. This year, I’m writing about how my journey with fair fashion has continued since then and what I’ve discovered this year.

When the Rana Plaza factory collapsed in 2013, it opened my eyes to the reality of how the clothes I loved so much were being made and what the true cost of fast fashion is. While it was a shock, I didn’t rush home and instantly replace my entire wardrobe with ethically made pieces. What fast fashion or questionably made pieces I already had, I decided I would use for the rest of their useful life and then replace them over time with better fashion choices. Then this year, it became time to put my money where my mouth is.


From a very young age, I’ve loved fashion and the finer things in life. These last couple of years have transformed my relationship with fashion. While the average American purchases over 60 new items of clothing per year, I’ve come to internalize the famous words of Vivienne Westwood, “Buy less, choose well, make it last.” This year to date, I’ve bought eight items between new clothes, shoes, and purses. And guess what, I absolutely love all of them, and each piece feels luxe and is made to last beyond the season. I’ve come to view each piece a little more practically, looking at them for their versatility and how well they’re made, I don’t feel like I’ve lost the fun or the ability to express myself with fashion.

When you think about ethical fashion, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. Navigating the supply chain and learning about materials, and how clothing is produced is a lot to tackle all at once. I've learned its easier to pick one area or maybe one item of clothing at a time and start from there. Maybe animal welfare is one of your main concerns, or it could be human rights and not supporting slave labor, or maybe sustainability and the high pollution of the fashion industry? Pick which issue speaks to you the most and go from there and search for vegan companies, or leggings made in Fair Trade factories.

 

For denim, I knew pollution is a large factor, so earlier this year when I was looking for a new brand of jeans, in addition to looking for a killer fit, I looked for what companies produce denim in an environmentally friendly way (since the dyeing process for denim can be toxic and harmful), and companies that produced their jeans either in the USA or abroad in a fair trade factory. Apps like Good On You, or websites like Fashion Revolution or the Good Trade make the search a little easier since jeans shopping is hard enough on its own. After several returned orders, I found DL1961 and their jeans.


One of my best discoveries was the world of designer rental and resale. Buying secondhand or renting was my way to take the “homework” out of the equation since those clothes are already out in the supply chain and buying secondhand gives them a new life. Rent the Runway and My Sisters Closet have definitely become some of my favorites. I’ve scored an amazing Alexander Wang dress, authentic (and brand new) Coach bag, Lululemon tote, Haute Hippie dress, and more. This has allowed me to shop brand like the above too, which I wouldn’t buy new because of their lack of transparency.

Shoes are an area of the fashion supply chain I’m just getting into and taking one step at a time. As much as I dislike meat, I love leather, but it’s a material I just can’t ignore the impact of. So I’m starting my new shoe journey with vegan alternatives. Not all vegan materials are environmentally friendly though since some are made of petroleum-based plastics. However, a quick google search, brought me to some amazing vegan shoe brands like Matt and Nat and Beyond Skin so I could still pick up some stylish new fall boots.

While in some sense, I’ve given up some options when it comes to fashion, really I feel like I’ve gained knowledge and a community of people who share my values and share resources so we can all do a little bit better. I really feel that shopping your values is voting with your dollar. The more voices saying they want something different than the status quo, the more the fashion industry must respond. Change is a gradual process, but it doesn’t have to be a scary one. At the end of the day, just keep putting one foot in front of the other and walk towards the changes in the world you want to see.