How this celebrity-adored jewellery brand is tackling sustainability

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Hailey Beber, Bella Hadid and Kendall Jenner are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to celebrity fans of the UK jewellery brand Monica Vinader.

The label was founded by Monica Vinader and her sister Gabriella almost twenty years ago from a studio in Norfolk, which is also home to Monica's stunning rural home. It is known for its timeless modular designs, including gold chain bracelets and colourful natural stones, which can be worn in a plethora of different ways.

It has seen many changes in the past couple of decades, most noticeably working sustainability into its business model. Here, Monica shares the secret behind her success, as well as how to build the perfect capsule collection.

How has Monica Vinader evolved since you first started it?

When my sister and I first founded the business, demi-fine jewellery was a category that didn’t really exist yet and we were pioneering the use of 18ct gold vermeil on sterling silver to create affordable, everyday luxury pieces that women could buy for themselves. Today, there are many more brands in the demi-fine space which is incredible to see. This growth has pushed us to be more innovative and creative in the experiences we’re providing to our customers whilst staying true to our original vision.

What we have become incredibly focused on in the last few years is our environmental and social impact initiatives; designing and creating sustainably made pieces that don’t sacrifice the quality, beauty or accessibility the brand is known for and giving back to our community where and when we can in meaningful ways.

How did you manage to reinvent it as one of the brands loved by influencers and celebrities?

We’ve had celebrity fans since the early days with women like Christy Turlington, Jennifer Lopez and Aimee Song spotted regularly wearing our designs and have more recently been styled by Bella Hadid, Emily Ratajkowski and Katie Holmes. I’m always excited to see these women who are considered style icons continue to choose MV. I think it speaks to the timelessness of the designs we offer and the desire from these fashion leaders to shop and wear sustainable brands.

You've had a clear shift towards sustainability. What are the main areas you're focusing on?

We, along with all of our suppliers, have been certified by the Responsible Jewellery Council for many years.

We’ve been able to make some incredible progress in reducing our carbon emissions by using 100% recycled gold and sterling silver for all of our products, transitioning to fully recyclable packaging, launching carbon neutral deliveries and sourcing sustainable alternatives for 85% of the single use plastic in our supply chain. We’ve also made the switch to renewable energy in all offices and stores in which we have direct control of the energy supply.

Finally, we offer a 5-year warranty on all of our pieces and will repair or replace it for free within that period. We’ve seen this encourage our customers to rewear, repair, recycle their pieces, creating more durability and longevity which helps breakdown throw away culture.

Is it a challenge trying to be sustainable in the fashion industry?

Yes - it’s not an easy or quick route, but it’s the right one. It was intimidating to start the journey - there’s so much education that is required and many different areas of a business that need to be considered - product materials and production, supply chain, green energy, packaging, shipping - the list goes on! We quickly understood that true change doesn’t happen overnight and the process couldn’t be rushed.

We’ve been focused on sustainability for several years now and are immensely proud of what we have done - being awarded the Positive Luxury Butterfly Mark recognising our work in this space was a huge milestone for the brand. Shifting to a more sustainable way of working and living is truly a journey as we are constantly provided with new information and we will continue to challenge ourselves to adapt and grow along with it.

You've always focused on timeless pieces, is this the key to building a capsule jewellery collection?

As a brand, we design with the idea that our pieces will last in a customer’s jewellery box forever. Our pieces can be worn over and over again, and many are modular pieces that can be restyled in many different ways. I think it comes down to quality and good design - good craftsmanship and good design last, they take you through the years, and are the more sustainable option.

Do you have any tips for shopping more sustainably?

  • Shop your closet first. Most of us will have items in our wardrobes - or jewellery boxes - that we have entirely forgotten about. Before buying something new, it’s worth re-evaluating what you already have to see if you can breathe new life into it. Better for the planet and your wallet!
  • Where possible, shop pre-loved pieces or look for pieces made out of upcycled materials.
  • Hold yourself accountable - do your own research to understand what you should be looking for on clothing labels or in a brand’s terminology
Penny Goldstone

Penny Goldstone is the Digital Fashion Editor at Marie Claire, covering everything from catwalk trends to royal fashion and the latest high street and Instagram must-haves.

Penny grew up in France and studied languages and law at the Sorbonne Nouvelle University in Paris before moving to the UK for her MA in multimedia journalism at Bournemouth University. She moved to the UK permanently and has never looked back (though she does go back regularly to stock up on cheese and wine).

Although she's always loved fashion - she used to create scrapbooks of her favourite trends and looks, including Sienna Miller and Kate Moss' boho phase - her first job was at, sourcing the best deals for everything from restaurants to designer sales.

However she quit after two years to follow her true passion, fashion journalism, and after many years of internships and freelance stints at magazines including Red, Cosmopolitan, Stylist and Good Housekeeping, landed her dream job as the Digital Fashion Editor at Marie Claire UK.

Her favourite part of the job is discovering new brands and meeting designers, and travelling the world to attend events and fashion shows. Seeing her first Chanel runway IRL at Paris Fashion Week was a true pinch-me moment.