I’ve been a fan of MADE jewellery since I first purchased a pair of MADE earrings in Topshop a few years ago. I wore them to death i.e. until I lost one… and then immediately purchased another pair. Last week I again succumbed to the wonderful artisanal brassiness of MADE’s signature styles and allowed myself a gift from The Outnet. I love everything about this company. For those who aren’t aware, MADE was founded by Cristina Cisilino in 2005 with the aim to produce directional jewellery while promoting ‘trade not aid’ in Africa. From the base in Kibera, one of Nairobi’s worst slums, MADE has established a safe and fair working environment where workers gain new skills and are trained to make the jewellery collections. Using sustainable local materials such as brass, recycled glass and beads, MADE contributes to recycling and repurposing efforts. Each piece is unique and I especially love the slightly imperfect, handmade finish.
MADE’s success lies in clever collaborations with designers and celebrities. People like, Laura Bailey, Pippa Small, Livia Firth and Hattie Rickards, give the brand some clout and elevate it from ‘charity workshop’ status. I love the irregular characteristics but your average Saturday shopper may not appreciate the rough-hewn finish, and some smart associations can go a long way to raise the profile of a brand. Retail stockists have also played a huge part in keeping MADE in the spotlight. As I say, I’ve purchased from Topshop and The Outnet, and select MADE pieces are also available at ASOS, Whistles and John Lewis, along with a host of dedicated ethical websites. My recent purchase was a set of four stacking rings, which arrived in a printed cotton pouch (produced by an ethical manufacturing facility in Kenya, called SOKO). The rings are made of brass and can be worn in various configurations or alone (apologies, having a Q.V.C. moment…)
Another key factor of MADE’s charm is the on-trend appeal. While I admire and encourage fair working practices and aims to alleviate poverty in Kenya, I wouldn’t buy MADE pieces unless they suited my taste and budget. At £32 this set is reasonably priced and satisfies my brassy, mismatched and misshapen desires.