August 13, 2020 – By Serina Tatham
The last few months have made us realise how important it is to support small local businesses. During the pandemic, we’ve had to adapt and go back to basics. Focusing on simplicity and slowing down to match our new slower pace of life has proved fruitful. It has the potential to change the fashion industry for the better, one knot at a time in the case for some.
With about £140 million worth of clothing heading for landfill each year, we need new ways to help tackle this problem. By fostering innovation in the fashion industry, we as consumers can help choose the path that big brands follow. But when voting with your wallet, you can help foster a sustainable future and a more circular industry.
One amazing enterprise that satisfies both our need for a sustainable fashion industry as well as our love of beautiful jewellery and home decor is Made With Love by Natalia.
Born polyglot with successful businesses in several different fields, the one thing they do have in common is luxury and creativity. As the founder of Bright Creativity and My Riviera Weddings, Natalia offers marketing, PR and events services to luxury sectors where thinking outside the box is necessary. Coupling her love for the finer things in life with her ingenuity, Natalia was able to see promise amongst the pandemic.
Her dedication, attention to detail, and appreciation for exceptional quality transferred well from her previous business to her new venture. By making the most out of what she had, Natalia’s resourcefulness in the midst of a crisis allowed herself to express her personality whilst creating beautiful and sustainable pieces for both the home and the soul.
A circular brand
Natalia’s passion for circularity and responsibility is striking. Her collection is almost entirely made out of macramé, a recycled cotton thread that is imported from landfill sites all over the world. Putting the planet first in every decision, making her accessories uses no water or chemicals. As well as using recycled materials such as driftwood washed up on the beach, any production waste Natalia incurs goes to local zero-waste initiatives and makes her brand truly circular.
Taking inspiration from her views of the French Riviera, every item is handmade from recycled, organic or sustainable materials. Be it cotton macramé coasters, raffia earrings or driftwood wall hangings, each piece is totally unique and truly has been made with love by Natalia.
Wanting to empower women with her eclectic designs, the macramé earrings are the perfect vessel to make the wearer feel confident. For Natalia, simplicity is key. By making jewellery from natural materials and giving them a modern twist, she is able to captivate those women who appreciate quality yet want to look their best, stand out, and be bold in the new sustainably-minded society.
To learn more about how she found inspiration during the pandemic, we spoke to Natalia.
Where did the idea for MWL by Natalia come from?
It began in confinement when I was faced with the next “who knows how long for” months alone with my two cats to keep me company, with all projects and weddings postponed or cancelled. As my mind is constantly needing to be fuelled by creativity, it was simple: I had to do something!
I had a bag of discarded driftwood, wool and cord in the house which brought me to think that it would be great to try my hand at macramé. I have always loved DIY and creating, plus I’ve made and sold jewellery in the past. As a creative, my mind is constantly on the lookout for a new challenge, so I launched into Made with Love by Natalia after much encouragement from those around me who thought what I was doing was worth continuing and showing to the world!
Was macramé something you’d noticed was popular for weddings?
Boho chic is still relatively new as a choice for weddings on the French Riviera. Often the more traditional still stands but now with COVID-19 and limitations on how many people can be in a group, elopements are starting to become more and more popular, and with it beach venues.
With that, the theme of carefree, boho chic and simple elegance works nicely. In fact I am organising a photoshoot in August at the gorgeous NAOS BEACH – a trendy Greek-island-style beach club bordering Monaco, which has macramé everything! Nothing better to marry Made with Love by Natalia with! Who doesn’t love Mykonos or Bali style and macramé!
We love how personal and special each piece feels! How did you learn how to make them?
Some I was inspired by looking through other macramé crafters Instagram accounts, others I tried myself adding my own twist as I went along. I’m all about beauty and marrying ethical, unique designs, yet putting an individual stamp on it. My Made with Love by Natalia stamp. I want my pieces to be different whilst remaining elegant and timeless.
What does sustainability mean to you?
The principles of sustainability are the foundations of what my brand represents. The meaning and purpose goes beyond making money; I want to increase the wellbeing of all life on our planet by recycling what comes my way instead of having to purchase any materials.
Creating beauty from something someone would otherwise discard or see no use for. I see people as “creativists”, not consumers, and each time someone wears a piece it is represented differently and is unique to the wearer or to the home that it goes into. I understand the lifecycle and environmental impact of all my activities, and seek to continuously innovate and reduce their impact to a minimum.
Describe MWL by Natalia in three words
Unique, sustainable designs (although I think my slogan “beauty for home and soul” describes the brand perfectly)
Why do you think it’s important that jewellery be the way women empower themselves?
A piece of jewellery holds so much meaning and can update any look immediately – be it a simple white t-shirt or a little black dress. If you want to be bold, something like the raffia earring will instantly show that this wearer is not afraid to stand out, whereas a feather earring shows more femininity, even if you wear the same outfit.
Jewellery has the ability to highlight women’s personality and bring out the best features when wearing the right jewellery for the right occasion. However, overdoing it by wearing too much jewellery can totally ruin a perfect outfit. That’s why I created a collection that is a balance. Sometimes opting for a single earring can make a difference that appeals to a certain kind of woman who doesn’t care to follow the crowd, but who is proud to do things her own way.
Especially in the South of France – where well-known brands are circulating everywhere – I wanted to show that minimalism and ethical handmade pieces can look as stunning, if not more so, than high-end brands. The collection is so versatile and stands well on its own, but can be paired equally well with the likes of Chanel or Dior. My clients love this mix-and-match element of what I do and they share their looks with me daily. Made with Love by Natalia goes way beyond simply being an online shop – it’s a community.
How do you think the fashion industry can become more circular?
COVID-19 has forced consumers to change how they buy and to make do with what they have. Also, with time on their hands, people have started repurposing items by adding, embellishing, or completely redoing the piece of clothing or jewellery to give them a new life.
If we think about circularity, it is the perfect way for the clothes that we love to never end up as waste. As we continue to push boundaries and challenge the status quo we want to evolve from just reducing our impact to having a positive one.
Brands are already starting to think more sustainably and follow through by encouraging shoppers to bring unwanted clothes back to the store. These clothes are then recycled and repurposed. My Made with Love by Natalia business cards are even made from recycled t-shirts!
Ways to become more sustainable would be to develop and implement improved processes (e.g. closed loop manufacturing) to reduce, reuse and recycle water, raw materials, non-renewable minerals, other inputs, by-products and waste.
Source materials from sustainable sources (e.g. forestry products) and components with lower embedded energy. Taking what nature gives us naturally and minimising on changing it from its raw source.
Shop our favourite pieces from her collection:
We are in a unique situation where we, as consumers, can have a direct impact on the future of the fashion industry. Whether it’s opting for recycled jewellery or researching sustainable alternatives to your favourite high street brands, there is always something we can do.
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