Sustainable Jewellery: Femie Interviews Kimberley Skye, Founder of Shopportunity

Nov 13, 2020

Interviews & inspiration | Daniela Pisciottano

We interviewed eco stylist and sustainable jewellery-maker Kimberley Skye for our latest instalment of Femie Interviews. The founder of the jewellery brand Shopportunity tells us all about her creative process, the art of up-cycled jewellery making and the importance of sustainability.

You specialise in authentic repurposed design jewellery, explain what that means exactly to our readers.

Yes that’s right! I use buttons, zipper pulls and other embellishments from authentic, designer clothing and bags that are past their use by date and can no longer be worn. I take these pieces that have plenty of life left, and turn them into a variety of accessories like necklaces, bracelets, brooches, earrings, charms, anklets, pins and hair clips. This keeps them in circulation that bit longer and is also fantastic for our planet, reducing waste.

Up-cycled jewellery is a growing trend that is capturing the attention of shoppes around the world. What’s the process behind the creation of your pieces - from material sourcing to sale?

It’s wonderful to see so many people getting behind sustainability and slow fashion these days. Climate change is real and whatever we can do, no matter how small, makes a difference. I have a supplier who has had her pieces shown in Vogue Italia Magazine. They are more often than not, stamped with the design house on the back. They are authentic vintage items hailing from predominantly the 80’s and 90’s. I grind the button shank down on the backs using a dremel rotary tool. I either drill a small hole into the tops and add a jump ring using jewellery pliers, or I set the button straight into a cabochon pendant. I then attach to existing jewellery sourced from thrift stores, jewellery supply stores or donations of new and preloved accessories from family/friends wardrobes - including my own! I keep tabs on what’s in fashion and the trends at the moment, and create accordingly. Whether it be a chunky charm bracelet or a simple delicate necklace I try to have variety. I advertise my collection on my Instagram stories and posts, and sell via DM. Once sold, I package each item in a recyclable gift box and post. I do everything myself from start to finish which is a lot of work, but it’s nice to chat personally with my customers so much. I also make custom orders and I ship worldwide. My clients currently are in the US, UK, Europe, Australia and New Zealand!

What’s your favourite repurposed jewel you have created so far and why?

My favourite piece was my first item, for sentimental reasons. It was a bevilled edge, gold vintage Chanel pearl button and I set it into a chunky gold 80’s style chain and I was just so proud of how it turned out. It looked so cool and I made a matching bracelet for it too. I’ve kept photos of that pair. My first little babies ha ha.

You’re very committed to slow fashion and we are so here for it! What do you think is the next step for slow fashion to close the gap and finally become the obvious mainstream choice?

Thanks so much! I’ve been a sustainable fashion stylist for several years now. I’ve styled photo shoots using only second hand clothes. I used to run op shop tours, have been interviewed for television, modelled and been written about in various sustainable fashion publications and online. I hope to inspire my followers that preloved can look a million bucks if you style it the right way. I’ve op shopped since I was a child and loved the finding treasure feeling, that went with it. So much value for money and helping communities and the planet at the same time. It’s total guilt free shopping in my opinion. I don’t necessarily think the next step is for slow fashion to close the gap, it’s fast fashion that need to step up! They collectively need to make changes with their sourcing of materials, production and marketing. They need to be held more accountable for the impact their garments are having on our planet and the people who make them. The sustainable fashion community are doing their bit already and I’m so proud that what was once a novelty of sorts, is now becoming so mainstream and more the norm. It’s fantastic! It’s not a taboo subject anymore to wear thrifted clothes, it’s cool! 

How did you first discover your passion for jewellery-making?

My passion for jewellery making started in my early teens. I’ve always loved being creative and using my hands. Whether it’s art or drama class at school, to use your imagination and create is such a fulfilling and never ending fun process. I used to get my pocket money and hop on the bus to my local shopping centre to buy beads and supplies to make necklaces and bracelets for myself and my friends. I used to make my own lipsticks too! So it was a natural process for me to dabble in jewellery making as an adult, but being able to give it a sustainable spin this time around, has made it so much more rewarding. The fact my collections have been so well received too, is a humbling experience. My first range of around 13 pieces, sold out in less than a day. I was so grateful for the support and love from my beautiful eco community. 

So how can we get our hands on some Shopportunity repurposed jewels?

Your readers can find me and my upcycled designer jewellery on Instagram @_shopportunity and on Facebook at shopportunitystyling.