I wanted to start out this post with a video, created by the designers of Make Wilde, Chloe Byrne & Andrew Sapienza. It is quite mesmerizing! Their raw jewelry is absolutely stunning, and the collections highlight the use of upcycled gems and recycled metals.
Tell us about Make Wilde and how sustainability is incorporated into your business.
It's a priority to use as many sustainable practices and materials as possible, creating bespoke art jewelry that speaks to our innate love and admiration of nature.
Each piece of Make Wilde jewelry is made-to-order, and of limited availability. We handcraft everything in our home studio in New York City. We use a combination of art techniques to create our organically-shaped jewelry, often sculpting freeform around the radiant raw stones, wrapping the final piece in genuine gold leaf, and using a algae-based, non toxic bio-shellac to seal it. This process allows us to achieve the seemingly coincidental, or natural look of our jewelry.
We source 100% recycled precious metal findings from a domestic (USA) manufacturer, such as our 14K gold earring posts and necklace chains used in the new fall designs.
Our Fall 2015 jewelry features raw burgundy Lava stones, glossy black Obsidian, sparkling pieces of Topaz, translucent golden Amber, and more; each gemstone is upcycled, native to the USA, sourced from reclaimed earth science education materials or from resale/antique jewelry.
We source our silks ethically, too. The silks are produced by women in Vietnamese coops, creating a consistent means for economic stability for these very talented female artisans.
Of course, Make Wilde ships every sculptural accessory in 100% recycled paper jewelry boxes, with 100% recycled tissue paper to pad the inside (both made in USA), along with care instructions, info about our brand, and boutique ribbon.
Visit their full list of materials and where they come from, here.
What is your design background?
Chloe studied design at NYU’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study. Her self-titled degree in “Metaphor as an Instrument for Design” allowed her to study everything from product design, to fashion, as well as architecture and physics. She received a Rubin Prize for Visual Art in 2013 for her sculpture, titled “SquirtGun.” Chloe participated as a fashion designer in the Gallatin Fashion Show for three years, both as a student and an alumni (2013-2015).
In the Gallatin Fashion Show, 2014 and 2015, Chloe linked with her Make Wilde design partner, Andrew, and the pair showcased their designs in self-directed and edited video clips. 2015’s The Philosopher in A Minor became the launchpad for Make Wilde’s first products.
In late 2011, Andrew made the move to NYC, starting a furniture design company with his brother, Will, which operates out of Brooklyn as Sapienza Design. They do custom home interior pieces, such as dining tables, credenzas, and desks, often using reclaimed barn wood from their hometown in Upstate New York. Some of the work can be spotted in some of New York’s major fashion photo studios.
To read more about Chloe and Andrew, click here.
What are your favorite materials to use?
We’re both fond of traditional jewelry materials such as gold and silver; our favorite way to use these metals, however, is in leaf-form, where the metal is hammered ultra-thin, and can be moulded around the objects we sculpt. We also find great success using materials that are most commonly found in other art or design disciplines.
The Make Wilde cofounders LOVE using found objects, adding to their belief that reusing, or repurposing, is the best way to limit the amount of steps in the recycling of a material, which then reduces the impact on the environment.
Andrew has experience with architectural building materials such as wood, concrete, and iron. He is going to be experimenting with making different forms using these in the coming months, scaling down to designs that are successfully worn on the body.
Chloe is a huge fan of plastic when it’s used in a way that treats the material like a precious commodity. It’s an amazingly versatile material that becomes a major environmental issue when treated like trash. For this reason, Chloe loves to repurpose existing plastic objects. It’s likely you’ll see some Make Wilde designs using this reused material within the year.
Where can we find Make Wilde Jewelry?
Currently, Make Wilde jewelry can be found in our online store.
Our jewelry can also be found on the ethical/sustainable shopping app, Orange Harp.
What are the future plans for Make Wilde?
Future plans for Make Wilde = …infinite !
In the near-term, we want to receive as much feedback as possible, and hope to build genuine relationships with our fans and customers or any of the new faces we meet. It’s our dream to sculpt the effort around the people who actually wear the work. We will keep adding new designs, and offer one-of-a-kind statement pieces (Spring 2016). In the next few months, we’ll be working on an exciting prototype project with a local musician: an exercise in the art of metaphor.
In the longer-term, Make Wilde will expand and broaden scope, so the types of sculptural accessories we offer will certainly evolve. Sunglasses and bags, for men and women, backpacks, wallets, and purses, may emerge sooner than later. Shoes, are also in the future. It’s likely that everything will still be made in our studio, however, we are also open to working with domestic (USA) manufacturers, and other local artisans. We enjoy New York’s huge network of artists, fashion designers, and makers, and both of us will continue to learn, grow, and explore the ever-changing design landscape.