Food waste has been a discussed topic for a long time – and with good reason: in the UK alone, £13 billion worth of food is being thrown away each year. There are many ways that activists are combating food waste – but until recently, we had no idea that jewellery-making could be one of them.
Bio-Trimmings is a British jewelry brand with a sustainable vision: transforming food waste into something unique, desirable and eco-friendly. Orange peels, lemon pits, apple pips. These are all ingredients used to make brand new bangs, earrings, rings and even buttons and trimmings.
The brand got its start in 2012, when designer Hoyan Ip presented a collection of buttons, sequins, and buckles made from food waste during London Fashion Week. From there, the designer boarded on a four-year journey researching and developing materials along with food scientists to transform what is considered garbage into timeless items. Bio-Trimmings came to life in 2016 in partnership with another designer, Theo Vassiliou.
“My inspiration for starting Bio-Trimmings was to show that fashion design does not have to be wasteful and can be eco-friendly at the same time”, states Hoyan. “I set out to explore an alternative raw material that was eco-friendly with a deeper ethical meaning connected to it, such as food waste issues”.
The designer works with different types of food waste, usually sourced in local restaurants, to create what is called Bio-Gems, which is the innovative, stone-like feature formed from fusing bio-resin with food extract. Bio-Trimmings use recycled precious metals to add to the designs.
But how food waste is transformed into Bio-Gems? Hoyan explains that this depends on the food source. Mixing, drying, crushing and shaping but the first step is to take out all the moisture whistle making sure the whole process is sustainable. “We use natural sunlight to dry the materials after it’s broken down into tiny pieces and organised into different types of food sources”, explains the designer.
After that, the brand uses different techniques to bond the components together forming a durable structure. They have also developed a different process to create different colours, textures, and shapes. The final step is to mix the eco-resin so the unique shapes and colours can be reflected by the sunlight. It can take up to a week from raw material to the finished piece.
“I wanted to prove how explorative we can be in terms of creating new types of sustainable materials which ties into my vision of a more sustainable future”, concludes Hoyan.
You can check Bio-Trimmings online and in selected stores.
All photos courtesy of Bio-Trimmings