Raw, simple, and precious, this is how one would describe Edas, the Brooklyn-based jewelry brand founded by Sade Mims. Born in Philadelphia, Sade starting making her own bags and jewelry in 2010 while studying at the Art Institute in New York City. “I always wanted to develop a brand and jewelry designing seemed to speak to me first,” says Mims. “I shockingly never had any fear or hesitation to just ‘do it’ when I first developed the brand. I remember having this confidence in my pieces and this strong sense of comfortability that made it all click and come together.”
Since then the 27-year-old designer has released six collections, each focusing on her travels, the earth or the people around her, with a heavy emphasis on the ‘70s. It’s what makes her pieces feel unique. The jewelry, which includes everything from geometric-shaped earrings to brass wire chokers, and bags, which opt for a new twist on classic shapes, are made to last, to be worn daily and to be passed from generation to generation. Most recently, Mims introduced a collection inspired by her travels to Mexico, full of bright beautiful colors like orange and red and textures like leather and suede.
Mims is making a space for herself in the fashion world, and All The Pretty Birds chatted with her to find out about her creative process, where she finds inspiration and the importance of community.
All The Pretty Birds: There seems to be so much soul, dedication and creativity in all your pieces, how do you stay inspired?
Sade Mims: New York City actually feeds me like no other place on earth when it comes to discipline, so I feel lucky to be here. I do however find that traveling has really reshaped my way of thinking. We recently launched our EDAS x Mexico Collection and that was birthed from a month long journey through Central and South Mexico. I made so many wonderful connections from being there, connected with some incredible craftsmen and really opened my perspective of what creativity outside of New York looks like.
ATPB: What is your design process like?
SM: All of the jewelry is handmade by me and my production assistants, here in NYC. As we are growing, I have really tried to be organized and make my manufacturing process as smooth and efficient as possible. This means, working in an assembly line, starting production early in the morning to have a more productive work environment or even investing in tools that make my job a lot easier. It’s been a process to say the least, and I am always looking for ways to improve how we manufacturer, but I also leave room for taking my time, always. We are a slow fashion, handmade with care brand, so while handling orders I am often reminding myself to be patient and pay attention, but also to be effective and immediate. All of our leather goods are proudly made in New York and Mexico from small manufacturing companies that we have been working with since launching handbags in 2017.
ATPB: What excites you the most about creating accessories?
SM: The idea that each piece isn’t complete until it is worn, and that the human body finishes each item, and it is intricately unique to each person. This is the ideology of the Great Arthur Smith, and it has been the driving force for Edas since the beginning. This idea that no piece is ever really finished until worn, is so desirable to me. It also reminds me that we humans make the dress, we make the necklace pop or the skirt tell a story, because when we get dressed, we make anything our own.
Maria in Manzanilla by Edas
ATPB: Where do you find inspiration?
SM: I gather inspiration from many different things, honestly. I often find that I look to archive imagery of people of color for lots of inspiration at the start of developing a new body of work. I also dive into my family’s style for motivation when designing. Classic photographers like Jamel Shabazz, Beth Lesser and Gordon Parks are a few of my favorite photographers to dig from when in need of some inspiration. Their films’s richness, and sensibility to capture the style and the current social climate not only inspires my designs, but also my campaign directions, how I produce events and the importance of my impact through my content.
ATPB: What’s the story behind your Mexico x Edas collection?
SM: I ventured to Mexico to find my own interpretation of the rich country, that I personally knew so little about, especially outside of my tourist gaze, from a previous trip to the country. That month long experience granted me authentic connections with locals, allowed me to pay attention and focus on what was in front of me, and to decelerate and take it easy. It felt honest and right on time, too. I think that this new body of work reflects so much of the energy that was given to me while being there.
ATPB: In your brand, I see a real desire to send a message beyond jewelry and bags, a real dialogue about race, beauty and creativity. Why is that so important to you?
SM: Community for me is the foundation. It is why I do what I do and how I am able to keep doing it. My customers, they are my community, my family was the start of that community, my IG followers they are apart of that community and so when I am developing new pieces, or producing a new event and looking for collaborators I am always looking to my community. So I think that inevitably translates into my work. It’s honest, so you can gather many things from it, for you it’s self love and race, but to someone else it could be ambiguity and color theory, and that’s really incredible for me to know that what we are developing can be interpreted so many ways.
Follow along with Sade Mims on Instagram @sademims!
Image Credit: Luna Antonia Arboleda @lunaantoniaarboleda
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