Natalie Frigo: Ethical Fashion Q&A
Posted on June 25 2013
Natalie Frigo's passion is creating unique, heirloom jewelry that treasures the extraordinary beauty in every client. Sculpting all of the designs by hand in her lower Manhattan studio, Natalie personally attends to each detail using the ancient practices of metalsmithing and 'cire perdue' (also known as lost-wax casting). The organic forms are then handcast and finished using only recycled metals and personally selected, ethically sourced gemstones. Natalie's work has appeared in Vogue, Elle and the New York Times.
Bhoomki Ethical Fashion Q&A with Natalie Frigo
How do you approach ethical fashion?
I see the future of sustainable fashion as similar to the recent growth in the ‘slow food’ movement. Slow food isn’t just about buying organic from a source anywhere in the world, it’s about buying locally grown, sustainably sourced product from a local farmer. 10-12 years ago it was very difficult to find local, sustainably produced food, but now it is a viable option in many parts of the country. I hope to have my brand realizing a complete sustainability model in five years and to have helped the jewelry industry as a whole move closer to this goal.
Why is ethical fashion important to you?
My eureka moment for using sustainable materials came when I heard that mining one ounce of freshly mined gold creates 20 tons of waste. Is that one of the craziest things you have ever heard? Considering a gold ring is usually around ½ an ounce, it doesn't even make sense that we don't change our mining practices. Once I started searching out recycled metals for jewelry, I found about some of the problems with commercially produced stones too (unsafe working conditions, children forced to work long hours as lapidaries because of their excellent eye sight, non-living wages...). The issues in the jewelry industry are similar to the problems in the garment industry. The more transparency you can have from start to finish, the better it is for everyone involved.
What is one thing you'd like people to know about ethical fashion?
I want people to know how great it is to own something that is cared for from start to finish. It is more meaningful to own something that is made with quality and consideration. You will want to cherish and it will become a part of your individual style. Something that is “fast fashion” you might not remember in a few months – where is the fun in that?