Daniela Groza: Carving a Sustainable Future in Jewellery Design

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One of Daniela Groza’s designs. (Credit: Theodor Mihalcea-Simoiu)

Independent jewellery designer and co-founder of the R Sustainable Fashion Show; Daniela Groza is the perfect example of how the younger generation is grasping at the potential of an increasingly sustainable future.

Currently a third year Jewellery Design student at the Edinburgh College of Art, Daniela is passionate about sustainability and conscious clothing, often repurposing her old items into new jewellery pieces.

Through combining her creative skills and knowledge of both design and science, the inspiring student is hoping to propose solutions and raise awareness of the environmental and social implications of our fast fashion and consumerist based tendencies.

For Daniela, jewellery has always been a passion. From making duct tape wallets at the age of 10, her abilities soon developed towards taking bead-work and wire-work jewellery classes near her home in Romania. Leading to her selling her own designs over Facebook at the age of 14.

Back then she was young and unaware of the negative implications behind the Textile and Mining Industries.

“It was only when I came to Edinburgh University that I started to learn about sustainability within fashion. By taking part in a Sustainable Fashion Show, organised by the student association, I got to experiment with waste materials such as polystyrene, phone cables, cardboard, by turning them into sculptural pieces of jewellery for the runway show,” she explains.

Since then, Daniela has been elected by the ECA to be a student Ambassador for the Ethical Making Pledge, raising awareness of the importance of using recycled metals and natural dyes as a practicing jeweller.

Her role is to make the workshop a safer and more eco-friendly environment by implementing natural substitutes for the chemical-based solutions that we use in jewellery making.

“AEON is my latest collection of jewellery, released right before Christmas 2018. Inspired by Architecture, the concept behind it was the idea of preserving ancient artefacts through incorporating modern features, by using the process of digital fabrication and 3D printing.  I created a series of architectural landscapes to be adorned on the body, giving life to unique fashion statements.

“I have begun to turn towards a more ethical and conscious practice, using recycled silver and natural dyes. For this collection, I used silver dust and scrap that I had gathered in a jar since my 1st year of University.

“Another process used is called Electro-forming, which is growing a layer of metal onto a surface, using electricity. Using this technique, I grew copper textures onto my 3D printed objects, giving them an antique finish. I also used natural dyes such as Charcoal,” she says.

 

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Daniela’s university career has been busy – not that she minds. When she’s not designing new pieces for future collections, she’s simultaneously running her online shop and arranging future events to follow last years hugely successful show and exhibition – R Sustainable Fashion Show.

“I am very lucky to have found my passion from a young age, therefore I decided to turn it into a career by joining the Jewellery and Silversmithing programme at Edinburgh College of Art.

“Currently in year 3, the collections I create are both for my course and for my online store, this way I combine my studies with my personal business,” she says.

The R Sustainable Fashion Show is a professional platform through which student designers and artists can engage with the wider audience on matters related to sustainability, by presenting their work publicly.

“We are constantly working towards the R Sustainable Fashion Show 2019 and so we will be doubling the number of attendants for this year’s event and are aiming for an audience of at least 400 people. The event will take place on March 24th at the Jam House, Edinburgh,” Daniela explains.

This years event is a chance to fundraise for One Cherry, a local startup that digitalises local charity shops by implementing an online platform for their products to be advertised, encouraging online charity shopping.

The event consists of a runway show including student designers, and will end with a preview of “the best of” One Cherry charity shop outfits.

Amidst all this planning, Daniela is learning Japanese ahead of her study abroad term in Osaka this April.

“I chose Japan because I want to travel to a place where I have never been to experience and taste a new culture. I think it’s a cool language and I am very excited to meet people, share ideas, explore new approaches to design, and learn new skills!” she says.

With new ventures on the horizon Daniela is undoubtedly acing the student come business women act, successfully creating an authentic and unique business model based on renewable principles.

“There is always room for improvement when it comes to sustainability. We’re really hoping to raise awareness of the future of fashion, sustainable material manipulation, and ethical practices, through our Exhibition and Runway showcase RSFS 2019.”

Shop Daniela’s latest jewellery collection here.

Photos by Theodor Mihalcea-Simoiu

Beating the boobie blues

Three local artists help to raise awareness of breast cancer

Left to right: Kathleen Moodie, Jennifer Colquhoun and Beth Lamont.

Step 1: Touch. Step 2: Look. Step 3: Check. T-L-C. While there is no definitive method for checking your breasts for signs and symptoms of breast cancer, UK charity Breast Cancer Now are asking you to try a little TLC. Early detection is crucial in treating and beating the disease – most cases of breast cancer are first found by women themselves.

This October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and fundraising events have been taking place across the country to support this issue. On 19th October, three Edinburgh-based artists got together at Custom Lane in Leith to raise money and awareness for a disease that one in eight women in the UK will develop in their lifetime.

The collaborative project, Boobzapalooza, headed by knitwear designer Kathleen Moodie is a ‘month-long celebration of all things breast’. Together with scientific illustrator Jennifer Colquhoun and ceramic jewellery designer Beth Lamont, they have designed limited-edition boob-related art that will be sold throughout the month with 40% of the proceeds going directly to Breast Cancer Now.

The Boob Arc Necklace, K.Boobs Booble Hat and The Boob Print are all for sale throughout October.

What made you choose this particular breast cancer charity?

Kathleen Moodie: “I have a friend who was diagnosed with breast cancer at 24 and she’s an ambassador for Breast Cancer Now and she suggested to go for them. Partly because they are registered in Scotland as well, so the money is coming from Scotland and staying in Scotland, that for her is something that is really important. It was something that none of us had thought of. We just thought, ‘oh, yeah we’ll pick a breast cancer charity and it will be great’, and Victoria said, ‘you’ve got to make sure it’s a Scottish one’ and it makes so much sense.” 

Breast Cancer Now is the UK’s largest breast cancer charity.

The event is about making breast cancer less scary and approaches the disease in a fun and direct way. Why is that important?

Jennifer Colquhoun: “Last year, I found a lump in my own breast and I was terrified. I thought that was me because a few years ago my aunt died of breast cancer, so it was in the family. But it turns out mine was a fibroadenoma which is a benign tumour. It’s also commonly known as the breast mouse which I thought was hilarious. I really wanted to do a picture of the breast mouse but nobody really knew what I was talking about.”

A customer tries on Kathleen Moodie’s Booble Hat.

Why do you think the arts is a good way of talking about and addressing big issues such as breast cancer?

Beth Lamont: “I guess it just gives it a tangible thing. You can still donate money, but you get to take something away. The next time someone is wearing their pink necklace someone can be like, oh I like that’ and you can be like, ‘oh it was actually for this charity’ and you talk about it again. Though they are only on sale for the month that conversation will hopefully keep on going because of that product, that piece of art, that hat, is not going to go away.”

The Boobzapalooza event held at Custom Lane, Leith.

The limited-edition pieces are available throughout October and can be purchased online here.

 

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