Make it Wilde: Jewellery designer Chloe Byrne on the future of fashion, our Planet, and *Zen*

Earlier this summer, I sat down with Chloe Byrne, the artistic visionary behind Manhattan-based jewellery company (using game-changing, pioneering materials) Make Wilde. Chloe has a background that melds the physical and fantasy; as an arts major-physics-minor she's someone who is perfectly poised to speak on the future of our industry, environment, and how we can *try* to find a balance between creation and commerce.

What is the driving force behind your creation of these pieces? 

The main force driving our creative flow is the materials, and I can’t stress this enough. We let the natural forms of the gemstones dictate the creation of the completed design. We are always creating with nature in mind, and striving for the most natural-looking forms as possible. 

In regards to our most recent collection, the pieces are metaphorically driven by inspiration from Shakespeare’s Sonnet 18, (“Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?”) and in general, the color pallets and fashion found in Renaissance paintings. We cultivated a modern organic twist around the rich decorative pieces from this time period. 

A perfect blend of tech and nature, which I believe we can achieve, will be our best-possible future for humanity.

When people think of the world in twenty years, I think our instinctual reaction is fear. What does it look like for you? What CAN it look like? 

Ah. Well, I think we all can imagine what it would look like on both sides of the spectrum — the positive being a clean, thriving, global community, which I hope most people desire. I think it’s just filling in the gaps, and finding ways to connect people’s desire to have a beautiful standard of living with the actual steps that need to be taken to make that a reality. 

The future to me looks green and gray — gray being the man-made components and green being nature-made. A perfect blend of tech and nature, which I believe we can achieve, will be our best-possible future for humanity. 

To young people interested in getting a start in fashion and design - what is one essential, perhaps overlooked thing you think they should think about? 

hmm, here are two totally related but separate things…. 

Everyone should feel empowered by their own abilities and future dreams. Now more than ever, it’s possible for young artisans and artists to make their own visions come to life with the internet; so, don’t overlook yourself.

The second is more of a consideration. I think it’s so important for everyone to recognize the environmental and social impact that fashion has on our global population. Fashion and Design are arts, and should therefore have creative freedom; however, in the fashion industry, there needs to be a much higher level of consideration on all levels; so: “How will your designs balance social and environmental impact with your desired art impact?"

What did it feel like the first time you created something under the umbrella of “Make Wilde?” 

It felt like accomplishment — momentarily. What it really felt like, though, was a seed in an ever-growing forest. I knew that Make Wilde would not be totally in my control: it would become much of what others made of it… but that feeling was really profound. 

I knew that Make Wilde would not be totally in my control: it would become much of what others made of it… but that feeling was really profound.

You work as a team with your partner, Andrew. How do you make it work, how is it special? 

As Andrew and I are life partners, we have gotten really good at working on pretty much everything together. For Make Wilde, it goes really well, having support from each other, and a common goal. It’s special in that we complement each other well — anything that I feel I might lack for a particular problem, Andrew magically has, and shares with me to solve the problem. 

Who is the Make Wilde woman? Who are you designing for? 

This has been an ongoing learning curve for me — when we started, I suppose I was likely designing for myself, as I had no particular audience in mind. Now, about a year later, I feel that through interaction with people who are fans of our designs, I’m starting to paint a better picture of those for who we are designing. I'm not sure that it's bound to any age group... and I’d say it’s women, but I cannot say it’s not men, as I know many men who have expressed interest in our pieces (and also, I think gender is over). It’s certainly people who want to be a bit louder with their fashion accents, as our pieces are a bit more ornate. It’s for someone who is open to experiencing new things: our sculptural settings are not in any way what you’d expect traditional jewelry to feel like! It’s for those that share our sustainable values, as it is such a defining aspect of our work. Finally, it’s for you; you, being anyone. I say that because we make each piece to order, and this means that we can customize any item, making it personal and unique. 

Photographed by Chloe Byrne and Andrew Sapienza.
Interviewed at ABC Carpet & Home, New York City.
Special Thanks to Make Wilde