Industrial pipes, electric switchboards, wood — sustainable luxury jewellery alternatives to traditional gold trinkets in India are coming from the unlikeliest places. So what if we told you that your run-of-the-mill button was the newest addition on the list?
It all began in 2014, when Chennai-based entrepreneur, Vibitha Ida Edward was scouring the streets of Europe for buttons and coat toggles as a part of her thesis dissertation Upcycling Buttons at the University of Cardiff.
Fast forward to four years, 2018, and the 27-year-old has managed to create a range of statement jewellery using these fasteners and launched her debut line under her label, Vie. Vie’s second collection, a Summer 2019 line, was unveiled in Singapore last week,
“We spend a lot of time on research and development of the jewellery and for now, have decided to release only one line each year,” begins the Visual Arts graduate from Loyola College, Chennai.
Big on the concept of highlighting the natural beauty of a button, the collection titled Circle of Vie is a limited edition and has 18 unique designs of earrings, rings, pendants and wrist cuffs.
“I was born in a ‘button-making’ family and grew up watching and learning the intricate designing that goes into its making. My jewellery is created around this central element. The button is not an addition or a decorative component. You cannot think of it as a stone,” explains Edward, talking about the brand’s design ethos.
Paris is always a good idea
Understated and minimal — the signature aesthetic of the Parisian style, the inspiration for the brand’s second collection came while Edward was at the Paris Fashion Week, last year. “Most of the collection was conceptualised and designed in Paris. Fashion Week gave me a chance to interact with designers and connect with button making stores,” she says.
Sourcing her raw material majorly from Italy, the current collection primarily uses buttons from Christian Dior, Armani and Hugo Boss. “These are either deadstock or industry rejects because of some minor flaw,” she adds.
Primarily working with links produced from natural products like seashells and mother of pearl, the colour palette from the Circle of Vie collection is neutral with a pop of summery hues like blue, salmon and light green. “We have also incorporated corozo and coconut shell, which are either hand carved or laser etched at our workshop in India,” she remarks. Edward tells us that a gold-plated wrist cuff featuring a hexagonal button in mother of pearl is a favourite of most customers. However, it is a horse-shoe shaped statement earring featuring a mother of pearl shell button placed at an angle on the disc metal that is this designer’s choice.