Fashion has a long-standing love affair with seashells, from Thierry Mugler’s famous Naissance de Vénus dress in 1995 to Versace’s Spring/Summer 2021 seashell bralets. its eco-friendly qualities, as seen with the collars and harnesses from Chloé’s Spring/Summer 2022 collection.
As a natural material, seashells have always inspired the Stockholm-based jewelry designer Mia Larsson. “I work with all kinds of shells; it’s such a fantastic ceramic material,” she says. vogue by telephone. “I wanted to [work with] sustainable, organic and compostable materials.
While studying at Konstfack University of Arts, Crafts and Design in Stockholm, Larsson began collecting leftover shells from restaurants to turn into jewelry. “I bought bags and bags from restaurants and took them home to peel in my bathtub,” she explains. “It wasn’t romantic but it was interesting material.”
Larsson’s earrings, necklaces and rings, which combine oyster shells, scallops and horn shells with recycled metals, quickly caught the attention of the Scandi fashion world. Now the designer sells the pieces through her online store and Instagram account. “A lot of people are affected by [the pieces],” she explains. “People are really fascinated by oysters and love the shells and the connection to the sea.” The sustainability aspect, too, is of course a big part of the appeal. “People love the fact that all the pieces are handmade and made to order”, adds the designer.
Not only is the use of leftover shells (which Larsson always sources from restaurants, as well as friends and a local oyster supplier) inherently sustainable, but the oysters – which make up the bulk of the collection – are considered one of the most sustainable seafood options due to their ability to remove carbon and nitrogen some water. “It’s a good nutritious food and oysters can really cleanse and protect the ecosystem,” Larsson continues.
Ultimately, Larsson hopes to shed light on natural materials that already exist that can be used in a circular system. “Nature makes smart, high-tech materials in a sustainable way,” she concludes. “There are so many interesting materials that we can take inspiration from.”