Already counting Rihanna as a fan, British-Lebanese jewellery designer Alexandra Hakim (Instagram) is successfully fulfilling her mission to create stunning, sustainable pieces for a more socially conscious and circular fashion future.
Tell us about your zero-waste approach to design.
Essentially, I take pieces of rubbish to my studio and transform them into unique pieces of contemporary jewellery. My design process revolves a lot around trial and error. I use a special casting technique that I have developed over the years – upcycling disregarded elements such as consumed matchsticks, leftover fruit and mixed metals in a way that preserves every detail of the original material. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t, but I take comfort in knowing that metals can be melted down and re-worked almost endlessly so that nothing goes to waste.
How does your Lebanese heritage live through your work?
Each campaign holds a powerful message about real people who dedicate their lives to keeping the Lebanese land and its heritage so rich and fertile, from the craftsmen to the farmers and the fishermen. My favourite collection is called No More Fish in the Sea, which was inspired by a fisherman I met in Chekka, Lebanon, called Bob. He told me that he’d been fishing everyday, come rain or shine, since he was 10. The Mediterranean Sea was his home, but it’s no longer what it used to be. He explained, “Back in the day we’d catch so many fish that we sometimes threw them back in. Now, the water is so polluted that I catch just enough to feed my family. I fish to survive.” After speaking with him, I immediately decided to make pieces from all of the trash in the sea that Bob caught in his nets – minus the fish, of course. I designed this collection as an ode to this local community and their undying hope for a more sustainable future.
What does sustainability mean to you?
Sustainability has been at the core of my brand’s DNA since day one – from my work ethic to my studio practice. It’s really about honesty and transparency, and creating pieces that are good for the planet.
How did your perspective on design change after becoming a mother?
Apart from practicality, not much. However, it has encouraged me to delve deeper into the protective nature of jewellery and to focus on the unique sense of empowerment that a well-made piece can evoke.
Who do you design for?
For the modern, curious human, for forward-thinkers, and for people who are hungry for something different. And, also for those who like the jewellery they wear to tell a story.
What rituals have you adopted to help you reset from your busy lifestyle?
I like to spend time visiting museums alone. I live in Madrid, which serves as an endless source of inspiration. Sitting in front of Baroque masterpieces and absorbing the detailed craftsmanship hits the reset button for me every time.
This interview with Alexandra Hakim appeared in YUNG ISSUE 2 PRINT.
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