Fashion Editor, Emily Stamp, writes about Article 22, a jewellery company that uses metal from Laos’ undetonated bomb fragments, helps clear the land of bombs and simultaneously gives back to their artisan community. In a clear example of wearing your values they upcycle something once destructive and turn it into beautiful piece of art.
Whilst I generally try not to spend too much money on fashion, as a student there are some statements that have to be made, and purchasing an Article 22 PeaceBomb bracelet was one of them. Peacebomb may seem like a strange title for a piece of jewellery but what makes these pieces so special is that each is crafted out of shrapnel and bomb fragments dropped in Laos during Americas ‘secret war’ from 1964 – 1973, where 80 million of the 250 million bombs failed did not detonate and still pose a risk to those living in Laos.
The metal is also used more functionally to make spoons or farming tools, however founder Elizabeth Suda saw the value in using the fragments for jewellery and as a statement; first with just the metal and now they are even branching out into using precious stones fund in Laos, including sapphire. Each item is upcycled, Fairtrade and charitable, with 10% of proceeds going towards a development fund for villagers and artisans being paid five time the local average for their part time work. Even more importantly Article 22 has donated enough money to already clear 200,000 square metres of land, protecting anyone who could stumble across a bomb, to devastating consequences.
The company, named after Article 22 in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights believe that you should ‘wear your values’. Having purchased my bangle at the Oslo Freedom Forum, where I met the team and was easily convinced to part with my money, mine reads ‘Freedom’ , in my own handwriting (as seen in this Instagram post by Article 22) and ‘Dropped + Made in Laos’ on the inside, as all of their bangles. Others hold phrases such as ‘Love is The Bomb’, a reminder that this jewellery is not just something decorative but holds more meaning and social importance- turning something so destructive into something beautiful. This statement seemed to have resonated with Emma Watson who, having decided only to wear ethical fashion on her Beauty and the Beast tour both endorsed the earrings and promoted the company on the Ellen show (to the surprise of the company).
Ethical fashion is important, and being able to contribute to a local community and to clear undetonated bombs by buying a bracelet is priceless to those who are affected. Fashion is a choice, but how could buying a piece of metal that once used for destruction and upcycled for art be the wrong one? By choosing to wear ethical jewellery, one with a story such as Article 22’s, it is easy to promote your values, ideals and their story.
Check out their range here.
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