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Money, Fashion, Power:
let's talk about the themes of Fashion Revolution Week 2022 with Helge Maren Hauptmann, founder and designer of Maren Jewellery
On the occasion of Fashion Revolution Week 2022 we spoke with the representatives of some sustainable brands included in our directory to reflect together on the main themes of this edition – Money, Fashion, Power – and on how the interactions between these variables affect the fashion system. The result is an article that gathers a variety of voices, including that of Helge, founder and designer of Maren Jewellery. A complex sector is that of jewellery, which often hides a production that is extremely harmful to the planet and carried out under bad working conditions. Maren is based on opposite concepts: every jewel of this brand wants to talk about love, passion and nature, perfectly blending the concepts of luxury and sustainability. Thanks to this, Maren is the first jewelry brand in Germany to become a B Corp.
You have the power to push the fashion system towards the path of sustainability: how do you convey the value of sustainable and ethical garments to consumers?
At Maren Jewellery we believe that quality is the best argument. And that’s why we also believe that our customers choose our jewelry first and foremost because it’s made to a high standard, because it’s handmade, because our materials are the best used for jewelry. I guess what I’m saying is that sustainability simply can’t be the first argument. Sustainability has to be the basic tenor. The premise. You can’t convince anyone with sustainability alone if the product is not correspondingly good. That’s why our credo is: luxury jewelry in harmony with nature.
Timeless staples over trends: how do you define the aesthetics of your brand? Quality over quantity: which materials characterize your collections?
You’ve already said it: timelessness. With every piece of jewelry we design, we ask ourselves: what exactly do we want to say with it? And then we have to work out the essence of this idea. And without frills. Everything superfluous has to go. Many people think that artistic escapades make a piece of jewelry beautiful. We don’t think so. We look at the history of jewelry design and analyze what has remained the same over the years. That’s what we take our inspiration from. And amazingly, these traces of beauty are found not only in jewelry, but also in nature. The delicate veins of a leaf when you hold it up to the sun. You can see it there. Or even the blossom, which may appear lush, but is actually made up of fine, filigree lines. And we also take our inspiration from nature when it comes to our materials. We use only recycled 18 karat gold and white gold, recycled 925 sterling silver and synthetic eco diamonds for our jewelry. Bottom line: luxury jewelry in harmony with nature.
Price tags do not convey the real value of a product: how much does it affect production? How important are the social and environmental costs? In the traditional fashion sector, still too little. The costs related to the image and positioning of the brand and the share allocated to profits have a greater impact. How are your prices made up instead, as a sustainable and ethical business? Is part of the earnings reinvested in virtuous projects?
We believe that beauty has its value. And we also believe that in no case should nature pay this price. We are firmly against any form of exploitation, against any work that harms the people who do it. That’s why we not only rely on environmentally friendly materials, but also support the Earthbeat Foundation with 3 % of our profit. This is an organization that support people who live in areas where gold is mined. Often, these people have no choice but to do the life-threatening work in the mines. The Foundation wants to change that: it supports these people in opening up new fields of work – such as beekeeping – and thus gives them the power to lead a self-determined life. It also minimizes gold mining, which is unnecessary anyway. In addition to the Earthbeat Foundation, we also support the Chooose Foundation and offset 500 kg carbon per piece of jewellery purchased. This is an organization that helps companies and individuals with ecological projects to offset their CO2 footprint.
Usually companies aim only for profit, not paying attention to social and environmental aspects. Maren is a B Corp, can you explain the importance of this certification?
First of all, we are very happy that we got the B Corp certification. That is not so easy. Every company is examined and checked in detail: is it really sustainable, socially responsible? That’s why it’s an honor for us to have received this award. But it is also an incentive. The certificate shows that we are on the right track. But we believe that this road is still long and that there is a lot to achieve – for us, but also for all other companies in the jewelry industry. Of course, we would be happy if as many companies as possible would follow our example and also pay more attention to sustainability and social standards.
It is not often talked about the background of the jewelry industry: why did you decide to use recycled metals and synthetic stones?
Above all, I wanted to prove to myself that it is possible to bring luxury jewelry and sustainability together. Because I believe that no one has to suffer for beauty. On the contrary: a healthy nature, healthy people are the most beautiful thing there is. And that’s what I want to stand up for with Maren Jewellery. Recycled metals are just as much a part of this as synthetic diamonds. They are simply less harmful to the environment than freshly mined gold, silver or natural diamonds. And there are no drawbacks. Gold and silver can be recycled over and over again without losing purity. And our Synthetic Eco Diamonds are in no way inferior to their natural counterparts: neither visually nor in their chemical composition – they are identical.
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