Monday, April 23, 2012

Scrap Refined.

I'm sure we have come across fashion initiatives by renowned designers to give back to the community. These designers came up with limited edition collections whereby the proceeds go to their supported charity organisation entirely. Certainly, they deserve much credit in terms of corporate responsibility. However, these cash aids are limited and will run out in no time. The sustainability of these initiatives therefore is highly questionable.

Saught (a Middle English word meaning 'peace'), a new social enterprise strives to serve the community in a completely different way. Founded by three local graduates, Pamela, Adeline and Sook Zhen engaged NGOs in the war-torn country Cambodia. How this works is that a partnership with an NGO is established to provided them with the landmines and unexploded ordnance from the war. Then, design students from Temasek Polytechnic designed unique collections inspired by the livelihood of the Cambodians and worked in line with the local artisans of Cambodia who handcrafted all the collections.

Three collections were created in total: Freedom From War, Freedom From Poverty and Freedom From Fear. There are 12 designs ranging from earrings, necklaces and bracelets to rings and bangles. My favourite picks are the following:

This Pursuing Peace Bangle combines the hopes of Cambodia's future (dove) with the basic necessity abundant in the country (wheat). It's amazing how a simple concept of uniting two values can be made into something so beautiful and elegant.

The Bricks of Hope Statement Necklace features an orange-gold silk which represents hope for the reconstruction of the destruction of war and asymmetrical placing of the boxes which portrays the falling of houses during the bombing. Personally, I like the use of fabric in designing accessories. It creates extra textures to the design and makes it 3-dimensional. 
Here's something for the guys: the Renewal Leather Bracelet. While the wood symbolises Cambodia's artistic culture in making traditional wooden music instruments, the bent metal signifies the transition from war to a brighter future - turning over a new leaf. I'm particularly attracted to the rawness of the brass and the simple beauty in how it's bent to reveal a shiny and clean surface beneath. 
Getting the local craftsmen to engage in the production of accessories certainly gives them an opportunity to work and earn money. Instead of just a one-way form of charity, this initiative utilises the strengths of both parties - creative minds of Temasek Polytechnic design students and craftsmanship of Cambodia's artisans - to create something meaningful and beautiful. Now that's sustainability.
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