“Sustainable” and “sustainability” are words that get tossed around frequently these days. To the values-driven, conscientious consumer they sound good, but what do they actually mean? Fortunately, our Bay Area Made community is full of makers that take things like sustainability very seriously and don’t just talk the talk, but walk the walk. San Francisco-based design studio Stella Fluorescent is one such innovator that is dedicated to approaching materials in novel and innovative ways, and the conviction that sustainable design practices are inherently logical and absolutely necessary. Here Tiersa Nureyev shares the “Sustainability Standards” they have adopted in creating their collections of jewelry and accessories.
We look at materials with a fresh perspective, and view sustainability through many lenses. Each object we make exemplifies creative and forward thinking design and implements at least three of our “Sustainability Standards.”
Re-purposing of Raw Materials
It is typical that after any collection draws to a close there are leftover materials. We see this as an opportunity. A bolt of fabric from many collections ago is not trash but rather a chance to re-imagine its purpose and recombine it with new materials in a fresh, updated context. The benefit: Maximize our resources and create value from what might be considered waste.
Our line employs local crafts people and Bay Area factories, building our production in a way that is sustainable not only for our environment but for the people in our greater community.
“One of the simplest acts of sustainability is to conscientiously choose and hold on to the things we buy while making a commitment to care for these things in the long run.”
Above: Underwater inspiration, from anemones to coral reefs. The Sea, Brine, Siren Collection is awash with botanically dyed hues, lush silken textures, and metallic details.
Conscientious choices of materials are a key component of our design philosophy. Textile production is highly impactful both environmentally and socially. Below is a list of textiles that we have used or are using. They are ranked according to what we feel is the most sustainably beneficial.
1. Organic and ethically sourced and produced fibers: This includes fabrics that were made from fibers untreated with pesticides, such as organic cotton, and fibers that were grown in good working conditions, where farmers were given a fair wage for their product.
2. Vegetable tanned leather: Vegetable tanning is the natural process of using the tannins found in barks, wood and other parts of plants to convert animal skin into leather. It is one of the oldest methods of making leather and is a sustainable alternative to chrome tanning.
3. Vintage textiles: We consider any fabric made before 1990 to be vintage. These materials are typically sourced from vintage textile purveyors.
4. Natural fibers: This includes silk, wool, cotton, linen, and hemp.
5. Salvaged textiles: These are textiles that were bound for the landfill but were granted a second life. Example: All the leather used for our jewelry comes from re-purposed scraps and cuttings from manufacturing floors within the Bay Area.
Vintage Findings and Beads
We source findings and beads from the early 1900’s up to the 1980’s. We work with reputable purveyors that know the era and history of their wares and guarantee their products’ age and quality.
“Careful and thoughtful consumption decreases the waste going into landfills, protects our environment and is a rejection of the working conditions that are necessitated by fast, disposable fashion.”
Above: In collaboration with metalsmith Diana O’Connor, the Doma Luna Collection is a spherical reflection of lunar influence and duality. Oil pigments harvested and mixed by Among Beam of M’Chigeeng First Nation are set into the hollow of each piece.
Responsibly Sourced Metals
We buy our metal sheeting and findings from distributers that are informed about the production and source of their materials and offer transparency in their supply chains. Whenever possible we endeavor to use metals that are; third party certified as ethically mined, reclaimed/recycled, and made in the USA.
Ecologically Considerate Dying and Printing
We work with natural dyers to create our selection of botanically based dyes. Our screen-printing is done locally with water-based inks.
Above: The Stain Anemone Collection is an exploration of stains and dyes, and the movement and forms of sea anemones, using vegetable dyed silk, hand braiding, and cast brass accents. All vegetable dyed hues were created in collaboration with textile designer/artist Sierra Reading.
Cut and Production to Order to Avoid Excess Inventory
We cut to order and aim to create very little surplus. This approach to manufacturing is both energy and cost efficient.
Above: The Throughline is a modular jewelry line made up of six units that can be worn individually or can be connected via their magnetic closures to create endless variations of length, style and color. The collection features vintage silk, vintage rayon, raw silk and organic cotton fill.
One of the Simplest Acts . . .
One of the simplest acts of sustainability is to conscientiously choose and hold on to the things we buy while making a commitment to care for these things in the long run. Careful and thoughtful consumption decreases the waste going into landfills, protects our environment and is a rejection of the working conditions that are necessitated by fast, disposable fashion. Stella Fluorescent makes things for keeping – not just by constructing them well, but also by designing them to tell meaningful, lasting stories.