“i’d rather wear a unique story…”- Boticca
I’ve always been fascinated with the origin of the product I am using, eating, wearing, smelling or consuming in some way or another. I am curious about the intricate relations, history and most importantly the story that lies behind a product. I assume this is what lends itself to my passion for sustainability, and ethical issues since full transparency and honesty is integral to a product to be considered as “green” or ethical. How else does one know if the product they are using has been crafted by happy workers, in an ecologically friendly (or not so eco-friendly) manner, without probing into the complex relations of a product’s naissance and creation?
So for me, what is more enticing than a company which brands itself on wearing unique stories? Where a sparkly necklace or funky leather bag is more than just an attractive addendum to an outfit, it in fact reflects an entire journey of creation, inspiration, design, toil, travels, and emotion intricately interwoven. Boticca gathers these unique stories together, from around the world and then presents a stunning smorgasbord of these to the gleeful visitor of this online boutique.
So where did my story with Boticca begin? Ahhh Boticca, Boticca…it reduces me to the typical female cliché within a wink of an eye when I click on to their site, I transform into a hopping erm…grasshopper of hopping joy (ok not the sexiest of images but adequate in evoking my elated state) in looking at all the pretty bags and delectable jewellery. Boticca was a chance discovery, whilst I was surfing the highways of the internet one evening (ok, ok I was procrastinating, doesn’t sound as jazzy as surfing…) and I was instantly struck by the unusual and distinctive designs which Boticca offered. I soon realised that Boticca was more than just an online accessories store- it was a hub of distinctive design and unique jewellery from around the world. And what’s more, each designer tells their story so whilst browsing their products you also get a deeper insight into the
designer’s process, and their tale. It’s hard to believe that Boticca has only just celebrated its first birthday seeing as there is such an extensive range on offer (a few of my favourites dotted around this post) and it is a beautiful experience meandering through the different designers, products and stories. Boticca actively celebrates difference in design and came into being thanks to
founders Kiyan Foroughi and Avid Larizadeh. Kiyan, on a trip to Morocco met a designer named Miriam and was not only enthralled by her beautiful pieces but also what lay behind the designs- what Miriam’s works truly expressed and their tale. Kiyan and Avid were frustrated that only the lucky few would ever get to experience Miriam’s pieces, from which blossomed the beginnings of Boticca which actively sought to change this and provide a platform to showcase top emerging independent designers and their ‘story’.
On another evening, a further exploration of Boticca’s site revealed to me that they also have an entire section dedicated to ethical designers, which in itself is not exhaustive, as I later discovered since there are many other designers who are also committed to ethical and sustainable practices in their own ways. One of these discoveries was the Japanese company HiNGE-Dept. Accessory- a wonderful ensemble of earthy, rustic yet at the same time ethereal jewellery. And it turns out I’m pretty spot on, the founder and designer, Liisa Hashimoto from Osaka in Japan, cites her inspiration as channelled from nature, inspired by seeds, mosses, and branches amongst other beauties which Mother Nature throws her way. Liisa adds that:
“They have a very interesting shapes and forms and are never the same. My works, especially melting silver, hammered copper and brass, evolve on their own. I never know what kind of shapes these materials will become. The shapes are made naturally and different each time. This is what makes them similar to processes in nature, and the beauty of nature is where I get my inspiration from.”
It’s hard to pick out a favourite from Hinge-Dept. Accessory’s collection, but I think the child ballerina pirouettes out of me when I see this shoe necklace which reminds me of my ballet shoes as a child and evokes strong nostalgia for my dancing lesson days, the pink leotards and my mum’s failure at ever accomplishing a ‘proper ballet’ hair bun. By this I mean that she would stick about 5000 hairpins into my hair, fashioning a bird nest like construction upon the crown of my head prior to my ballet lessons, for it all to fall apart within 5 minutes of arabesques and glissades. Consequently my dance teacher would grudgingly have to re-do my hair each lesson. Ahhh memories. Reminiscing aside, I am also keen beans on this little number, the image is inspired from a water bay with little seeds growing all around:
Liisa Hashimoto has been making jewellery for over 20 years, a passion stemming from her school days, with a heating torch as a key tool of her trade for forging the 3 different metals she employs. Liisa’s other principal tool is the hammer which she uses to shape the metals, particularly the scraps of silver which she has been collecting for over 20 years and then recycles into interesting textures and organic shapes. Her latest creations using silver, from her collection of contemporary jewellery are wholly made from these recycled silver pieces, whilst the rest of her works are organic.
This is the unique story of Liisa Hashimoto; her inspiration is nature, her passion is contemporary jewellery, her process is fluid and organic with the materials to match, and she expresses her extraordinary talent through her creations with the aim of making others happy. It certainly pleases me, and I can’t help but fall in love with HiNGE-Dept. Accessory a bit more now I understand the story behind the designs and jewellery just that little bit better.