Sustainable Handmade Jewellery
Looking for statement earrings that are not only bold and beautiful but also sustainable? Then you can’t go past Australian made Days of August. Sold all over the world including at New York’s famous Guggenheim Museum, handmade-in-Australia Days of August has been around for 10 years already. With international buyers and a stellar reputation, it’s time locals got to know this home-grown label. We interviewed designer Marie-Pier Labelle about her amazing wearable art.
Love the name. Where does it come from?
Days of August is a nod to perspective. Coming from Canada, August is my summer, but the Australian winter.
Where others see stainless steel as an industrial building material, I see long lasting, sustainable jewellery.
Life before jewellery was all about….?
Filmmaking! I have a bachelors in Film Production with a Major in Cinematography. When I moved to Australia, I spent 9 years working in the camera department on feature films.
How did you get into jewellery?
I always used to love making beaded jewellery as a teenager. So when I was looking for a creative outlet between film shoots, I took some silversmithing classes at the Jam Factory and rediscovered a passion for working with my hands.
Why stainless steel?
I decided to work with industrial stainless steel for all of it’s wonderful properties.
It’s non-tarnish and hypoallergenic, but also very durable and sustainable. I wanted to make pieces that would last way beyond the seasons and that would need very little care. Stainless steel was just the ticket. It’s sleek look was also a perfect match for my minimalist style.
Describe the aesthetic of Days of August, in 3 words
Contemporary. Minimal. Architectural.
Earrings, brooches, hair combs – what’s next in your range of wearable art?
For now, more of all that! While I was curating the collection for the rebrand, it became clear that I didn’t enjoy making necklaces and rings or bracelets as much as I loved creating statement earrings. That’s what comes the most naturally to me when designing, and so I am going to run with it until it takes me somewhere else!
Do you take special occasion commissions?
Only on occasion. It usually takes up to 8, sometimes up to 12 weeks from concept to delivery.
Where does the inspo come from for your statement earrings and bold minimalist designs?
Anywhere from architecture, to modern art, to an old movie. Most of my ideas come to me when I am outside the studio, so I always have a pen and paper in my handbag just in case.
Can you outline your design process?
Most of my designs start with a circle and evolve from there. It’s a sketch first, then I design it in illustrator. Then it’s a process of cutting, clipping, filing, sanding, polishing, welding & polishing some more.
Tell us about working with Ecologi
When I started the business 10 years ago, it was very important to me to have no carbon footprint. I made eco conscious decisions so that my business woud:
. use a sustainable material that would last
. source locally
. use solar energy to power my studio
. design recycled and repurposeable packaging
. volunteer as a grower for trees for life and grow up to 300 trees a year that are planted in rural areas in South Australia.
I have recently moved and no longer have the room to grow trees, so I have partnered up with Ecologi to offset my carbon emissions. Ecologi is an organisation based in the UK that plants trees and contributes to climate projects all over the world. Through them, I can calculate my CO2 reduction, see how many trees have been planted and where, and what kind of positive climate impact my business is having overall. It’s fantastic.
Days of August is stocked in 7 countries including the Guggenheim Museum in New York. Tell us about the growth of your label over the last 10 years?
Days of August started as a small side hustle in 2011. I juggled my film and jewellery work for a few years, but it became quite overwhelming, so I dedicated myself full time on the business in 2014. At that point I was attending interstate design markets and had retailers all around Australia. In 2017, I started attending trade shows in New York and London and that’s when the business really expanded.
You’ve just celebrated your 10 year milestone with a relaunch. What’s next?
I am looking forward to reintroducing the brand to a post Covid world! I am itching to get travelling again and taking Days of August back to the international market in person.