While the jewelry industry keeps itself busy hopping aboard the eco-friendly bandwagon, at least one jeweler doesn't have to bother. John Hardy, known for silver, cable and floral designs, has always exercised ethical, pro-Earth practices. If there's an eco-friendly bandwagon, John Hardy is behind the wheel and it's probably a hybrid.
"This isn't something we masterminded," said Guy Bedarida, creative director for John Hardy. "It really is the natural way we live."
The John Hardy factory produces every piece of jewelry out of Bali and the entire property perpetuates a green lifestyle. It was built on a rice field and if ever the factory should move, the rice field will return to its pre-John Hardy existence. Walls are made of mud, roofs comprised of straw. Gardens grow only organic food and ventilation systems are A.C.-free.
"In Bali, you're so close to nature that every day is an experience with environmental consciousness," Bedarida said. Not only does the location serve as affirmation for living sustainable, it also provides the inspiration for Bedarida's designs.
For the Bakis collection, which means ferns, the designer simply looked up from his work desk to come up with it. He works surrounded by ferns. The bamboo designs, most notably the behemoth cuffs, came about much the same way since Bali has a plentiful supply. To reinforce the company's respect for the plant, it has developed a campaign to commemorate it. For every piece that's sold from the limited edition sterling silver bamboo collection, John Hardy will donate a portion to planting bamboo on Nusa Perida, a deforested island in Indonesia. The commitment never ends.
The brand stays as loyal to style as it does to the environment. Bedarida spearheads that effort, mainly by keeping up with the rest of the fashion industry. He attends the fashion shows in New York and Paris to stay abreast of the trends that will dictate customers' jewelry interests. "Clients want a relationship between my designs and ready-to-wear," he said.
This season a blatant correlation showed up with his Naga collection and an acclaimed fashion designer's spring line. "During the time that I was presenting Naga, I discovered that Jean Paul Gaultier had the same inspiration," Bedarida said. Both designers put out products that mimicked the scales of a mermaid. Bedarida's showed up on cuffs, Gaultier's on gowns, namely the one Marion Cotillard wore to collect her Best Actress Academy Award. Bedarida's conclusion: great minds think alike.
The Italian-born designer recently took John Hardy down two roads the brand hadn't traveled before -- a gold collection and designs with open space. Before, John Hardy was recognizable as a white gold and silver mainstay. Its cable features were also considered a staple. Both still make up a majority of the collection, but Bedarida, who has helmed the creative department since '99, decided a change would do some good. "It was a decision to have an evolution of style," he said. "You can still recognize the DNA of the brand; it's just a new feeling."
Even with the new feeling, the brand continues to surprise customers with features like the intricate cuff interiors. The insides of the bracelets boast the kind of attention to detail that brings wearers to consistently remove the jewelry pieces for show. "There are two things to that," Bedarida said. "One, jewelry has to be as beautiful inside as it is outside, like a person. Two, inside the jewelry is a secret and only you know it."
Contact fashion reporter Xazmin Garza at email@example.com or 702-383-0477.