One of the most important things to me when it comes to shopping for accessories and jewelry is to buy from independent artisans or makers. I believe that most independent makers preserve quality craftsmanship that you simply can’t get from mass-produced goods. More importantly, while most retailers’s focus on quantity and following the trends is one of the causes of unsustainable consumption habits, independent makers’ focus on quality and originality typically makes for more sustainable practices.
Moreover, while many fair brands provide great options for fairly-made accessories and jewelry, my taste in those two categories is very specific. So, sometimes, I just can’t find what I want, even from fair fashion retailers. Below are a few of the places that I turn to when that happens. Hopefully, they can help you when searching for original and responsibly-made pieces you can invest in!
If you’re into DIYs or unique handmade products, chances are you’ve heard of Etsy, an online marketplace that specializes in handmade items, vintage goods and craft supplies. Items listed on Etsy are either handmade by independent sellers or secondhand, and you can easily search for items according to your preferences.
I usually use Etsy when searching for handmade accessories and jewelry, but the website also has a great variety of other items such as clothing, and homeware, which makes it a great place to buy gifts. Not all items are made of eco-friendly materials or according to strict standards of practices, however, so check the items’ descriptions and ask the sellers about how they’re made before purchasing.
Pictured above: Just Peachy enamel pin by independent designer Megan McNulty.
Quite similar to Etsy, Ethical Market is an online marketplace where you can buy independently-made goods. Unlike Etsy, however, the products on Ethical Market are more curated, despite the smaller array of variety. They also have clearer ethical standards and different symbols that indicate the ethical specifications of each item.
Ethical Market focuses on the fair production aspect of sustainability. In fact, it’s mandatory for sellers who work with them to sell only fairly-made products which production processes do not involve sweatshops and follow ethical standards of working conditions. However, wherever possible, the sellers use also materials that are locally and ethically sourced.
Pictured above: The Bloom Bud Necklace by Wolf and Moon. Dainty, versatile and made of ethically-sourced materials.
If you’re Dutch, you might have heard of an online store called Wiezewasjes. A quick browse of their website will show you a wide array of products, from rings with fairly-sourced gems to scented candles made of soy. Personally, I’m quite partial to their beautiful chokers. However, their silver-based products are also quite stunning.
They don’t have any clear standards when it comes to the environmental impacts of the materials that they use for their products, however, so please be aware of that before purchasing. If you prioritize the use of eco-friendly materials above fair sourcing and production in your consumption habits, then you might want to check out other places.
Pictured here: This choker with a moon-shaped pendant.
If online shopping isn’t your thing, head to your local markets to find independently-made products. You might be surprised at the things you can find there. Most cities have different markets held during different times of the year. I recommend checking your local municipality’s website or online forums to find information and schedules.
Do you have any recommendations for finding independently-made accessories and jewelry? What are your priorities when it comes to buying them? Don’t forget to leave a comment and let me know what you think!