Fashion may be trend-driven, but one thing we’ve learned from our icons is that true style is lasting. At Soko, we express #bettertogether through another kind of lasting style - brass and bone jewelry that is environmentally sustainable. Our natural materials, like horn and bone, are byproducts of the food industry that are collected from the waste stream by youth in Nairobi slums.
After being cleaned, carved, and polished the raw material is crafted into lustrous whites, soft matte finishes and variable natural hues resembling tortoiseshell. The bone craft industry has become a pulsing micro economy that makes use of readily available materials, which artisans craft into beautiful pieces of jewelry. Veronicah, one of our truly entrepreneurial artisans, who has built her own small design and production businesses, creates pieces like the Lulu Strands Necklace, with style but also richness and depth. Every bead feels and looks slightly different.
Our brass jewelry is upcycled and the process begins when metals are collected, which is part of a ‘trash for cash’ program in Kibera, a community in Nairobi. These metals range from old belt buckles to broken sink fixtures. Our artisans source these metal pieces from demolition sites, making use of door handles and window fixtures abandoned as trash. These metal pieces are then melted down and cast into molds. After casting, the rough products are brought to the workshop to be sanded down with three graduated grades of sandpaper, checked for air pockets that would affect the structural integrity, of each piece and then finished with a fine polish. In the video below, watch as Kine casts our signature Soko tag from recycled brass./p>
Some of our favorite pieces showcase how these two materials work beautifully #bettertogether, like the Contrast Circle Earrings, a favorite of Anthropologie. Or throw on a layered look of these materials with the Tepe Mixed Media Necklace
What different forms of jewelry do you put together? Let us know on Twitter (@shop_soko) and Instagram (@shopsoko) and join the conversation with #BetterTogether.