Image by David Sandison from The Independent.
Having taken on Politics, War, HIV/Aids and the cotton industry with her controversial clothing designs, fashion activist Katherine Hamnett is now taking on the dubious ethics of the gold industry with a new jewellery collection. "People think clothing is a nightmare, But gold is a nightmare. People just don't realise how gold is mined," says Hamnett. "Effectively, a mining company will blow up a mountain, crush it - gone, so it doesn't exist any more - and then pour cyanide over the rubble to draw out the gold." Next week Hamnett launches her jewellery range at London Fashion Week in collaboration with ethical jewellery company Cred. Their wedding and engagement rings use certified "clean" Canadian diamonds and "Green Gold". Cred, founded by jewellery designer Greg Valerio, works with a non-profit called Green Gold in Colombia. Their aim is to work with mining communities 'to reverse the damage done to ecosystems by large-scale mining. Green Gold creates locally managed mines that use no toxic chemicals, incorporate reforestation, limit waste and obtain legal approval for proposed mines. It ensures profit is pumped back into the community.' Hamnett explains further, "It's amazing, they've gone back to using Aztec and Mayan techniques; the miners bank up the soil and save it, which creates these inverted ziggurats." In the void, gold is extracted by hand before pits are gradually refilled. Meanwhile, the gold is washed by pan." She goes on to say "I'd always meant to do a jewellery range, but never got around to it until I met Greg," "And now I'm really glad because I wouldn't want to be responsible for three tons of toxic waste every time I did a gold ring. It's really exciting." While it is possible to buy green gold now, it makes up a tiny percentage of jewellery on the market. We have seen moves towards change with the No Dirty Gold campaign, but still Greg Valerio understands that to change the environmentally damaging ways of the gold industry will take time. "I see this as a 15-year journey, at the end, it will have become completely socially unacceptable to buy jewellery that is not ethically and environmentally sound." The Katherine Hamnett Jewellery range will be launched at London Fashion Week, 11-16 February and they will be available to buy at the end of the month. via: Hugg and The Independent :: Katherine Hamnett ::Cred
Details of stockists coming soon.