True Luxury = Honest by Heaven Tanudiredja
For the first in our True Luxury = series we introduce a collection who's unique design and commitment to ethical sourcing really sets it apart.
I own a very small amount of jewellery – an accumulation of pieces I’ve made myself, picked up from charity shops and been given as gifts. Generally I find jewellery quite frivolous. For reasons unknown I draw a strong line between the necessity of clothing (although I am the first to admit that I own far more clothing than I truly need) and the desire for jewellery.
That was all until I saw the new Honest by Heaven Tanudiredja collection. The intricacy, beauty, and chaos of this stand-out capsule collection caused me to eat my words. Finally some jewellery that excited me to the core. It is expressive. It is unique. It is sculptural and theatrical, yet totally wearable. It grabs and holds your attention by luring you with its dense and rich layers of detail. Each piece begs to be admired, worn and loved. Suddenly the distinction between want and need became very blurry territory and I was thinking of ways I could justify spending a week’s wage on a ‘Delusional’ bracelet to call my own (in army green, just in case anyone is feeling particularly generous this Christmas?) and imagining how it would look on my wrist (where I promise it would never leave) and amongst my clothes.
Buying anything from the Honest by website is not hard to justify. Within seconds I had come up with five ways reasons why I feel I cannot live without the bracelet in question:
1. Quality materials
Japanese brass forms the basis of the pieces, some of which are coated in 18K gold, vintage crystals that were painstakingly hunted down by the designer, and an assortment of miniature handcrafted chairs and hands
2. Ethically made
Each piece is hand-crafted in the designer’s studio in Antwerp
3. Transparent supply chain
This is a feature common to all items sold on the Honest by website: at the bottom of each product page, details of where the materials were sourced, how much they cost, as well as a breakdown of labour costs, shipping, wholesale and retail mark-up are cleanly and simply illustrated.
4. Life-time warranty offered by the designer (and a piece like this would surely be kept, worn and loved for at least one life-time)
5. LOOK AT IT!
The six-piece jewellery collection, that includes two bracelets, a pair of earrings, a necklace, a pendent and last but not least, a spectacular clutch purse, intricately laced with tiny hands, chairs and vintage beads, was produced exclusively for sale on the Honest by website. The site, launched last year by art-director and designer Bruno Pieters, is a platform for both established and up-and-coming designers, providing complete transparency of materials and processes. All materials are sourced as responsibly and ethically (both humanely and environmentally) as possible. This ensures that we as consumers know exactly what we are buying: what it is made from; where and how it was made; and exactly where our money is going (and what it is funding).
Heaven Tanudiredja is one of the established designers represented on the site – he launched his jewellery atelier in 2007 in Antwerp and is well recognised for his sculptural pieces drawing inspiration from the beauty and chaos behind mental illness. This collaboration with Honest by drew on the same inspiration as his independent collections, but forced him to become more conscious of designing with an environmental and human conscience. A life-time warranty has been offered with the collection, proof of Tanudiredja’s belief that jewellery should be made to stand the test of time in both craftsmanship and aesthetic:
“I would like to think by making pieces that are not driven by momentary style you are making a contribution or suggestion for longer consumption. More than that I like pieces with character, pieces that will grow with you and with time, similar to the vintage crystal I sculpt with - it's a complete idea. This is something very important to me and a part of the mission to offer this guarantee.”
What is also unique about Honest by is the complete commitment to the brands ethos and identity of all those involved: designers, producers, makers and models work cooperatively and transparently to reach a common goal. Paula Goldstein, one of the women or ‘muses’ photographed in the Heaven Tanudiredja for Honest by campaign speaks of her admiration for the work the brand are doing:
"Personally I feel that what Honest by is doing is really what true luxury is or at least should be in modern society. When we invest in luxury fashion we should be investing in the best of everything that includes the best production and materials and the quality not just as a final product but in terms of their effect on people’s lives and the environment. Honest by is an investment into that and the time and care that goes into making a transparent supply chain."
Supply chains are constantly on our minds at The Good Wardrobe, but the loss of over 1100 lives in a factory collapse in Bangladesh last month has really brought it to the forefront. Contrary to popular belief, it is not only cheap high-street fashion brands who struggle to maintain an ethical supply chain - even consumers of high-end items aren't always privy to how, where and by whom their so called 'luxury' purchases have been made.This collection and the whole Honest by platform, gives me hope for the future of the fashion industry: they prove that luxury fashion can be produced responsibly, ethically and with an open supply chain, without compromising the beauty and aesthetic that draws us to fashion in the first place.
Next week: part 2 of True Luxury= ...watch this space!