Echo Shawna is the passion project of Deborah Bloemen. With her jewellery made of found objects, she takes upcycling to a higher level, walking the tightrope between high end and kitsch. Artists Rosalia, Rita Ora and Dojacat already enjoy her work.
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What makes you different from other designers?
I think my work is unique in its uniqueness. Literally because there is only one of each piece. In this time of mass production and so much uniformity, it’s just fun for something to be handmade, where you absolutely can’t come across anyone with the same thing. There is also absolutely no gender or age assigned to my creations. They straddle the line between beautiful and defective. They are not for everyone and I think that is a strength.
How do you deal with sustainability?
Apart from the chain links of the jewellery and the crystals and stones that I use for extra value, everything is ‘pre-loved’ and found objects. It takes a lot of time, because it’s easier and faster to order a big batch of new items and have trainees make the same product. But I like it better this way. It’s also nice to see how people react enthusiastically to pieces that I found somewhere the other day in a nasty-looking container between spider webs. Just by thoroughly cleaning them, and selecting and presenting them in a certain way, I can change their perception of discarded items. I secretly enjoy that very much.
How do you keep a balance between the artistic and business side of things?
I don’t consciously work too hard on it, since I always rely on my gut feeling. Maybe because it’s not my main profession and my income doesn’t depend on it. I do have a creative studio with my partner Martijn Vogelaers (Uber and Kosher, which has done assignments for Travis Scott, Helmut Lang, Calvin Harris and Moncler – ed.). Being independent for so long gives me a sixth sense of what I can and can’t do. I can spend hours on a piece or just half an hour. I take and edit my photos myself, maintain the website, send the orders and follow up on all artist requests myself. The result may be that the price of one piece should actually be three times that amount, but I get large orders that pay back those costs. Maybe I’ll organise myself differently when the business grows, but at the moment it’s working well. For now, I’d rather spend my time making jewellery than weigh up the costs in detail.