If you quickly rifle through the online store of London-based jewellery label Finchittida Finch, it won’t take long before you’re reaching for your purse and trying to remember the password to your Paypal account. Think high-neck chokers, body harnesses and chunky bangles in a Baroque style. You should also think about investing in some confidence because these designs aren’t for the feint-hearted.
Celebrities such as Rita Ora, Florence Welsh and FKA Twigs have been spotted wearing Finchittida Finch, while retailers such as ASOS and Urban Outfitters are lining up to stock their designs. But for designers/founders/co-owners/twins Lisa and Tida Finch, sales and publicity aren’t the only aims of the game. These two young entrepreneurs want to make a positive impact while they’re at it.
In the early days, the pair spent a substantial amount of time working on the company ethos and brand DNA. Before they started designing, they wanted to figure out what it was they stood for. Why? “We were sick of looking at an Instagram feed full of the same superficial messages,” said Lisa. “We took the time to discover what we were about.” This meant reading… and lots of it. The girls delved into topics that included their Laos heritage, feminism, Buddhism and meditation.
So what did all this research lead to? A partnership with the Mines Advisory Group (MAG), that’s what. “Our mum’s family is from Laos,” said Tida. “Not many people know that Laos is the most bombed country (per capita) in history. We travelled there this time last year and found that tonnes of bombs are still there in the aftermath. It’s mostly the rural areas that are still contaminated.” All these years later, this unexploded ordinance is causing havoc for locals. They cause death and havoc on a daily basis, with children being the most common victims.
The pair wanted to use Finchittida Finch as a platform for assisting locals in their mother’s native country. However, they couldn’t do it all themselves and that’s where MAG comes in. “For the past 20 years MAG have been training locals to disarm the bombs that are left,” Tida continued. “There’s a few charities working in Laos but they stood out from the rest. We met them in Manchester and discussed how we could work together long term to help with sustainable solutions.” As a result of these discussions, the design twins pledged to donate 10% of Finchittida Finch profits directly to MAG.
In future collections, Lisa and Tida hope to strengthen the connection between Finchittida Finch and MAG by incorporating the remnants of disarmed bombs into their designs. “We want to do something with the leftover metal,” said Lisa. “Ideally, we’d like to work with the locals in the research stage and buy the metal if it is safe to use.” The designers are currently trying to figure out the logistics of working with the discarded materials and including locals in the process. Watch this space.
Although the MAG organisation isn’t well known throughout the UK or Australia, Finchittida Finch is helping to raise their profile. And seeing as Lisa and Tida promise to donate 10% of their profits to the Mines Advisory Group, that means you can feel exactly 10% less guilty about splurging on a new pair of earrings. Everybody wins.