Day 127 / 365

I sometimes wonder what the world would be like if we all wore our hearts on our sleeve instead of buried beneath our chests, hidden and hiding. Sometimes writing this blog can take a toll. Discovering the dirty deeds behind each and every product known to man and furthermore, the exploitation behind our business practices on the production side of things is both depressing and frustrating. It doesn’t make logical sense unless you base your logic solely in personal profit, which is unfortunately the case for the majority of businesses which exist in this big round world.

It is my opinion that if you can’t find a way to produce without harming the planet or her inhabitants you probably shouldn’t be producing. Your profits are not more important than your duty as a steward of the earth and humanitarian. Those who do choose to produce without these fundamentals in mind are choosing themselves over all those affected, and there are many, most of whom neither the producer nor the customer will ever know or see.

When it comes to jewellery, I never used to put much mind into buying plenty of it. It is small, beautiful, minimal, travels well, and can ‘make or break and outfit’ as the lords of fashion say. But, as I’ve come to learn the effects of jewellery production from cradle-to-cradle, my opinions and awareness have shifted. The more I buy the more I hurt. Even the most ethical and ecologically produced pieces still come at a price.

Women are the most marginalised in every industry, especially mining, production of clothing and production of accessories. Mother’s have it even harder as most and single mothers even harder as most employers see parents as unsuitable for work, and society seeing them unsuitable for marriage or society.

There are sadly very few jewellery companies that take my above thoughts and opinions into consideration. One, however, has.

SeeMe is the brain-baby of Caterina Occhio, a former development aid manager with over 15 years of experience supporting employment and institutional reform. Caterina has dedicated decades to improving women’s conditions in the Middle East and North Africa and has transformed these efforts into SeeMe, creating it as a safe haven, training centre and workplace for women otherwise deemed lost. SeeMe employs females almost exclusively, often single mothers, who have suffered violence and were thus ostracised from their communities. Through their training program SeeMe provides women an opportunity to learn the craft of jewellery making following ancient Tunisian techniques while connecting these women with their country's traditions while securing a workplace for themselves working under fair wages.

In 2016, SeeMe created the Orange Heart, which was selected as the signatory piece for the 20th anniversary of the UN Trust Fund to End Violence against Women. Their brand operates under what they call a #heartmovement which they consider to be links of the love chain we build to replace the chain of violence

The SeeMe collection is made from locally sourced Tunisian recycled silver, reducing the impact on the planet caused by open mining by using what already exists.  Silver comes as a byproduct of industrial mining for other metals such as copper, zinc and gold. A small percentage comes from silver mines alone. Industrial mining, according to the ‘Dirty Metals: Mining, Communities and the Environment’ report put out by Earthworks and Oxfam, 10 percent of the world energy, arsenic emissions, cyanide and mercury poisoning, child labour and human rights abuses as well as vast environmental damages are caused by industrial mining. This is why, on top of their conscious production practices, SeeMe's sourcing efforts are so very important.

While still being a young company, SeeMe has achieved a lot. On top of being a safe resort and source of income for women victims of violence in Tunisia and Lebanon, it also strives to positively influence the established brands in the fashion world, supporting an ethical approach to their sourcing procedures.

Aiming to bridge luxury and fair trade, SeeMe has collaborated with fashion brands such as Karl Lagerfeld for whom it created a beautiful capsule collection, as well as with Missoni and Tommy Hilfiger for the latest Spring Summer collection.

They are one of the few shining examples in the jewellery industry of consciously created collections which quite literally change lives with their actions and efforts while influencing change in their community and supporting causes based on compassion. This, my friends, is what we need more of.

If you’d like to support SeeMe’s movement(s) by adorning yourself with beautiful things, you can visit their website here:

Vintage Tulip Blouse
Second Hand Jeans

Sources: 1234, 567
Photos: Shane Woodward (which I edited in VSCO cam)

* [SPONSORED POST] Please note, the body chain and bracelet pictured were gifted to me at my request by the kind souls at SeeMe,  I don't receive any editorial direction from brands I work with (hence my rambles) so the context of my rhetoric story is all mine. I often ask brands for products to review which relate to planned posts I have for this daily #GoneGreen2016 series. Any facts used to support my opinions can be found in the source links above *