Here's an interview with Y in Zaobao Fukan; a rare one where she talks about making the label sustainable.
Luxurious and Sustainable Jewellery
Three years ago, jewellery designer Choo Yilin started her own label ‘’Choo Yilin Artisan Jewellery’’ and worked with the Karen Hill Tribe in making jewellery in silver. The label uses reclaimed metals and fuses jewellery designs with concepts of sustainability.
Yilin’s passion in designing jewellery started since young and has since self-taught the skill. In 2008, she left her job as a political analyst and joined her husband to live in Thailand. During her involvement in local voluntary work, Yilin was introduced to the Karen Hill Tribe (a poor minority group in Northern Thailand) and their traditional and artisanal skill in making silver jewellery. When Yilin returned to Singapore, she decided to set up her own jewellery label. She collaborated with jewellery craftsmen from the Karen Hill Tribe under the fair trade agreement thus enabling a steady flow of income for the Karen people and preventing the loss of a traditional and artisanal jewellery making skill set.
Says Principal Designer Choo Yilin, “Working with the Karen people allowed the label’s designs to showcase the leading trend in today’s fashion industry; the fusion of old and new.
Buying reclaimed metals from refining fields
Yilin was inspired by the Karen people to introduce jewellery designs that are luxurious and yet sustainable. She bought reclaimed metals from refining fields in Thailand instead of plants that produce pure gold and silver. Says Yilin, “The metal is melted down from unwanted electronic products, circuit-boards and unwanted jewellery. However, the quality of the end product is exactly the same as that from the mining plants and the use of reclaimed metal help to minimize damage to Mother Earth significantly. Do you know that in gold mining, every 10 grams of 18KT gold produces 20 kilo tonnes of wastage?
Most jewellery labels pursue gemstones that are flawless. Yilin, however, goes against the norm and selects gemstones that are faceted and textured. The label’s philosophy is that while life is beautiful, it can be imperfect and we should embrace it. This belief is reflected by the use of heavily textured metals and organic asymmetry in the label’s jewellery designs.
Since the start of the label, Choo Yilin Artisan Jewellery has introduced a total of seven collections with over hundred designs of earrings, necklaces, rings and many more. The smaller pieces start at 195SGD and the statement ones at 650SGD. The label also provides bespoke services starting at 2500SGD.
Says Yilin, “The customer profile for the label is women aged 20 to 50 who have strong personal fashion style. They do not blindly pursue branded labels but instead wish to convey their stand through our jewellery.”
Using jewellery designs to enrich the public about sustainability.
The next important step for the label is to collaborate with non-profit organizations to spread the importance of conservation via jewellery designs. The label has collaborated with the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) in launching a collection that is inspired by trees and at the same time paying homage to UN’s declaration that the year is the Year of Forest. The soon-to-be-launched Pebble Collection has also been inspired by Mother Nature; the humble pebble.
Says Yilin, “The top two consideration factors when Singaporeans shop for jewellery are price and design. I hope to influence their shopping habits gradually by fusing sustainability and conservation with our jewellery. “