Picking up where we left off, we're continuing our chat with Katy Demeyer, founder and designer at RINDU, a slow-fashion jewelry and bag brand based in Bali, Indonesia.
Read more about how RINDU was founded here.
RINDU 3D printed necklace made from corn starch inspired by the Evolution tower (Moskow)
What is the main focus for RINDU today?
WORKING WITH RECYCLED & ENVIRONMENTALLY FRIENDLY MATERIALS
Rindu has progressively shifted from working with all kinds of source materials to using mainly materials that are recycled and environmentally friendly.
For example, I work with cow bone, cow horn and buffalo horn. The first two are a waste product from slaughterhouses and the second, a by-product from Sulawesi tradition where a buffalo is offered each time someone passes away. These buffalo horns are usually hung on the wall, as they show a certain level of wealth; yet when families have too many, they are thrown away.
I also work with other natural, recycled materials, like wood, bamboo and coconut. All wood for RINDU necklaces are leftovers from furniture factories or pieces from old, discarded furniture in Java that would otherwise have gone straight to landfills. At RINDU they get a second life as beads and other shapes for necklaces.
The latest jewelry collection of RINDU is made from corn starch. It’s a super exciting and versatile material to create from. This material allows me to 3D-print any shape and so the last RINDU jewelry collection “3D” came to life. All pieces are influenced by architecture and organic shapes, e.g. the “Evolution pendant”, inspired by the Evolution Building in Moskou.
SLOW FASHION & AWARENESS RAISING
Slow fashion means that I have shifted from pre-producing to only producing on-demand. I do this for both the RINDU jewelry lines and for the new bag collection “Must-Have”. It’s not only better for the environment - I don’t mass-produce and don’t create an overstock that goes to waste - it is also financially more interesting, as there is no need for a big upfront investment.
Simultaneously with this shift, I noticed that RINDU customers were shopping more consciously. One of my goals is to make them more aware of what I do to contribute to the environment and well-being of the workers. I believe this can be done by being transparent and honest. RINDU has always paid a fair price for labor and materials. I want to change people’s idea that items made in Asia imply they are cheap.
All RINDU items have an honest price tag. This is what I want to promote more. Getting a high-quality, timeless piece is better for the environment and our wallets than buying multiple, random items every season. This is the core message of slow fashion.
I’m currently working on making this clear on the website and am brainstorming other ways to spread that message.
ESTABLISHING AND NURTURING THE RELATIONSHIPS WITH ALL WORKERS
One of the things I’m very proud of is having a long-term relationship with the workers. The atelier I’m currently working with has been with me from the very beginning! Initially, I was working with four different ateliers, but due to the pandemic, three of them had to close their doors.
I believe we have such a special relationship because there is mutual respect. I’m not one to demand things and we have two-way conversations to discuss all things production and design. We listen and learn from each other. We all take responsibility whenever necessary. We help each other out and give tips where we can. This makes it fun to work together.
Did you notice any changes in your personal life after making the switch to slow fashion?
Yes, I work at a different pace now. This is something I had to learn over time and has become easier once customers knew this too. You could say that since our move to Bali, we couldn't help but take on the rhythm of the island. Patience is key, but there is for sure less pressure and stress in my life than before.
What is your biggest tip to others wanting to make the jump to slow/eco-fashion?
Firstly, don’t solely focus on making money. Rather focus on making a difference in the world while staying afloat. Make small changes. It’s a step-by-step process. Secondly, even though the current situation pushed all of us to do more business online, stay humane in your communication. People don’t want to feel like a number.
Lastly, get into networking and don’t be afraid to share great ideas and tips. Trust the process. For me, this journey has been wonderful so far. If anything, the realization that each of us has a responsibility and can make a difference has brought so much richness to my life.