Where do your feather earrings come from?

Renee Hope

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Be the change you want to see in the world Gandhi

She sent me some hot earrings for the Brits and her products have been worn by the likes of Gwyneth Paltrow. Here is an interview with upcoming Jewellery Designer Renee Hope. With prices as low as £2 in shops such as Primark – we pose the question – do you know where your feather earrings come from?

Medicine Productions ~ Jewellery and Accessories Link: http://www.medicineproductions.weebly.com

Designer name: Renee Hope

Location: Vancouver BC, Canada

How long have you been designing jewellery and how did you get into it?
I had been living in rural parts of BC where there were Native Indian communities. The older Aunties I had become friends with began to show me how to make some traditional Native Indian crafts so I started to learn how to use feathers and hides and some beading. I still make some Medicine bags and Smudging Fans that I sell. I wore feathers in my hair at DJ parties, electronic music festivals and raves. In the summer of 2009, I was at an remote BC electronic Music Festival when I bought my first pair of feather earrings. I lost one that first night when dancing. I bought a second pair and wanted to take them all  apart and re-make another pair. A friend vending at the festival loaned me her tools, and I made my frist pair. When I returned to the city, I bought the tools and supplies. I started making only earrings for myself but soon people starting asking me to make them some. It took off and soon stores were asking me to supply them. I later learned from a fly fisherman how to perfect my threading of the feathers, and I felt that I was ready to expand my business. I opened 2 shops online at ETSY – Medicine Productions and a second design line for brides called Wedding Originals.

You make animal friendly accessories tell me a bit more about that? Why is this important to you?
I want to acknowledge that other beings are dying for some of the materials I use. This is especially true for most of the feathers used for fashion. All the store-bought feathers are from killed birds. I want to minimize the harm by trying to purchase as many of my feathers as I can that are naturally molted and I network with farmers and wildcrafters to do so. All my parrot feathers come from a Parrot sanctuary which houses 70 parrots rescued from illegal animal trafficking. I use fur and leather that has been up-cycled. This means my fur and leather comes from something like a vintage fur coat that I’m making into something else. That way new animals don’t have to die. I never use new fur or leather.

Tell me more about the accessories you have sent me – where did you get the inspiration for them from and how did you create the butterfly earrings…? They are made from specially bred rooster feathers..  They are the most popular pair I have ever made. I think its because butterflies represent freedom, beauty, and transformation. Humans love butterflies! Once I started adding charm and extra things to my feather earrings, I decided to try dangling wings with the feathers. Everyone loves how they look, swing, and I think they feel so pretty to wear. These earrings are made with specially bred rooster feathers, which come from only 2 farms in Pennsylvania, USA. These farms have perfected breeding these roosters that have very long neck feathers – called micro-fibre feathers. These feathers were preferred for making the best fly-ties for fly-fishing. These two farms easily supplied the fly-fishing industry for 35 years now. Suddenly the whole world started wanting feathers for the fashion industry – the feathers are very silky and can be treated just like hair – they can be shampoo’ed, blown-dried, and curled with a curling iron. These micro-fiber feathers stay in great shape as hair extensions, and stay in excellent condition for a very long time as feather earrings. With the global demands from the fashion industries and hair salons buying all these feathers last year, it became very hard to buy any. Last year’s supply sold out and this years was pre-ordered. Its becoming very hard to find these feathers at all anymore.

How did you get into fashion?
I’m self-taught and just try to make the most beautiful, fresh, and highest quality creations I can.  I get a lot of inspiration from great stylish artists like Alexander McQueen especially his Savage Beauty, Lady Gaga and Courtney Love. I’ve made replica earrings worn by Gwnyeth Paltrow and Kat Von D. But I get most my inspiration for designs from my own involvement in the underground counter-culture community, where exotic tribal styles blend with eclectic steampunk. This scene produces art and fashion that is exciting, fresh and unique.

Do you have any inspirational quotes for me?
I aspire to Gandhi’s quote: “Be the change you want to see in the world”

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Link to shop: http://www.medicineproductions.weebly.com

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