The jewellery sector is going through a major shakeup with consumers wanting more impact, more sustainability and more accountability. Aysha Bilgrama is well-positioned to fill all requirements and then some. With a love for storytelling and bold designs, Aysha Bilgrami is a Colombian jewellery brand at the forefront of using recycled materials and an ingenious technique using reclaimed silver from used x-ray films.
Aysha has always been creative at heart. From her love of textures and design to her early days of sketching, the artist saw herself as a force for change within the Arts. The years she spent in Milan studying Fashion Design at the Instituto Marangoni revealed to her, not only how much she needed to be creative in her everyday life, but also how clothes and accessories were powerful means to express oneself.
We had the opportunity to connect with the designer as she walks us through her latest collection, and explains why sustainability is at her core and what’s next for the Colombian brand.
What inspired you to start your Brand?
The brand was created in 2014, at the time I was working in fashion and theatre and was bothered by the disconnection I found with garments and such a short life they had. I decided I wanted something of my own I wanted to create pieces with an edge, full of life, that one could identify with, that could be worn on any occasion and that could last forever.
What or Who inspires your designs?
My curiosity is what spikes my creativity, and learning something new is what drives me. Different cultures, history, symbolism and meanings behind things. I’ve always had an obsession to find similarities between things, starting with my own two cultures, Pakistani and Colombian, two cultures that one would say are different but surprisingly are very alike. Every collection starts with a theme or a certain situation that I may be living at the moment. I study and look for the cultural references and symbolism and then I inject them into each piece to create a story.
What does sustainability mean to you?
Sustainability for me means creating habits, products and ecosystems that do not damage our environment. Our growth shouldn’t compromise our natural and human resources for future generations.
What are the sustainable goals of your Brand?
We want our brand to be the premier destination for sustainable jewellery and we have invested heavily in our people, processes and supply chains. Many hands and minds are required to design and craft our unique pieces of jewellery; through our work, we can provide equal pay, workplace safety and a fair environment. Our motto is to give materials a second life, we do not make our jewels out of traditionally mined silver, but of the –equally– pure silver extracted from X-rays through chemical and enzymatic processes; the paper we use in our office becomes the stuffing that protects our jewellery in mail deliveries, and we send plastic bottles filled with wraps and other plastic waste from our workshop to Ecoworks, who turns them into construction bricks as part of their #paralabotella campaign. We hope to start repurposing jewellery and other materials.
Do you believe your country is on track to fulfilling its sustainable goals?
Many people are putting their hearts and souls into different areas of sustainability in Colombia but we still need more education and consciousness. The good thing is we have started, let’s hope we can fulfil them.
Where do you see AYSHA BILGRAMI in 5 years?
We plan to reach men and women in different parts of the globe, with one or two flagship stores. We are currently looking at creating pieces in gold or other materials sourced sustainably of course. We also plan to expand our team and work on educating our customers and immediate community.
With so much planned for the future, we are excited to see
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