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It’s Time for a Fashion Revolution

Blog

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

It’s Time for a Fashion Revolution

Niki Grandics

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This week is Fashion Revolution Week. Some of you might already know and might already be asking your favorite brands “who made my clothes?” (or jewelry or accessories), and if so hats off to you and thank you for making your voice heard and helping hold the fashion industry accountable. If you’re newer to sustainable fashion, no worries, Fashion Revolution week is a great way to start getting involved! I’ll go into the history and impact of Fashion Revolution and why it’s important to get involved.

Why do we need a fashion revolution anyways? Five years ago, today, on April 24th, 2013, the Rana Plaza garment factory in Bangladesh collapsed. 1,138 people died, and an additional 2,500 people were injured, making this the fourth largest industrial disaster in our history. Most of the victims were young women making clothing for large global brands such as H&M and Joe Fresh.

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(Rana Plaza after it collapsed, via Fashion Revolution)

Unfortunately, this can’t be written off as an isolated tragedy in the fashion industry. Approximately 75 million people around the world work to make our clothes and accessories and about 80% of them are young women aged 18-35. Have you ever wondered who they are and what their lives are like? Regrettably, most of the people who make clothes for the global market live in poverty. They are often unable to afford the bare necessities for life and are often subject to exploitation, physical and verbal abuse. They work in dirty and unsafe conditions, all for very little pay. This is the status quo.

This needs to change.

Today both people and the environment suffer because of the way the fashion industry operates and the way we consume fashion. We live in a capitalist society, meaning companies have to sell more clothing and make a profit in order to succeed, but by no means should it ignore the true costs of their operations or come at the expense of people’s health, dignity, or lives or at the expense of the environment (after all, what good is money if we’re all dead). The supply chain shouldn’t depend on someone getting the short end of the stick. And if you are someone who buys fashion, makes fashion, or has some kind of influence over policy, you are partially accountable for the industry’s impact on people and the planet.

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So, what needs to change? First, the cycle of fast fashion needs to end. Brands are making new collections and trends at break-neck speeds. Despite the rising costs of energy and raw materials, clothing is cheaper than ever before. This system isn’t working. The rising speed of the fashion industry has also led to more industrial disasters, less safe working conditions, and exploitative labor practices. The industry is churning out over 150 billion pieces of clothing every year, and in America alone we throw away of 14 million tons (yes tons) of clothing every year, 85% of which ends up incinerated or in a landfill. That’s about 80 lbs of clothing per person per year thrown away! This also comes at the expense of the environment, as the processes used to grow, dye, and launder our clothes end up polluting our rivers, land, oceans, and air. The fashion industry is the second most polluting industry, after oil of course.

These might seem like huge and complex problems on a global scale, and they are. But that doesn’t mean that we can’t have an impact and create changes in the industry. To quote Fashion Revolution,

 “We need to break our addiction to the need for speed and volume. We need to realize the true cost of our cheap bargains. Ultimately, we need to buy less, buy better, and keep asking questions about the realities behind what we’re purchasing. We need to love the clothes we already own more and work harder to make them last.”

And mindsets are already changing! According to the market research firm McKinsey and Business of Fashion, sustainability is already becoming an important new driver of purchasing behavior. Approximately 32% of consumers in developed countries and 65% in developing countries actively seek out sustainable fashion.

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Demanding transparency is the first step in creating this change. This week, ask yourself, “Who made my clothes?” And more importantly, ask the brands and retailers you buy from, “Who made my clothes?” Some will probably ignore you or direct you to their corporate social responsibility page. It’s not good enough. Keep asking until they respond, the more people who ask, the more the impetus will be on those brands to answer. Tag your favorite brands on social media and ask them #whomademyclothes. More transparency leads to greater accountability, which will eventually lead to a change in the way business is done in the fashion industry.

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So how can asking a brand who made my clothes on social media make a real change? Last year over 2 million people around the world participated in the Fashion Revolution social media campaign and attended events in their local cities. And there was a 50% growth from 2016 in the use of the #imadeyourclothes hashtag, meaning more brands and manufacturers are responding as well. There was a 250% increase as well in people asking brands. It looks like the industry is starting to listen. Revolutions don’t happen overnight, but with more people making their voices heard, it’s no doubt that changes are happening. If you want to find out more ways you can participate in the revolution, head to  https://www.fashionrevolution.org/about/get-involved/