Long-term followers will know about our commitment to utility, as well as to aesthetics (and integrity). We think functional things should be beautiful too. And our brass hooks prove the point - for us they have made shower time just that bit more special, but can also be used for hanging pots and pans in the kitchen or as hanging plant/macrame hooks. In fact, there's no end to the useful ways these hooks could add a little something special in your home.Our hooks are part of small collection of brass items, all hand-hammered in London by Abdul and Sandra at 306 Collective (see our Makers page for more), a nurturing creative studio that supports people living with and recovering from mental health illnesses. They told us recently that being able to sell through Aerende has meant they can stop trying to sell through their own channels and instead focus on the amazing healing work they do.
This social benefit is a big part of our mission but we don't want to stop there. Considering every stage of production is vital and we don't want to put products into the world that benefit some areas but cause harm in others. This means that, with every product, we do a huge amount of research to ensure that our material choices are as responsible as our manufacturing ones. Looking into the ethics and origins of different metals that we could use for our hooks was rather depressing.
Suffice to say, souring ethical metals is not an easy thing. From tin to copper, to gold and silver, the industry seems woefully lacking in transparency and fraught with issues around environmentally destructive mining, worker exploitation and child labour. It was virtually impossible to find certified supply trails for the types of robust metals we wanted to use and there were so many serious issues with the extraction of almost all metals that we were surprised this is not a more frequently discussed issue.
In the end, we've settled on brass because our investigations lead us to believe that is one of the most eco-friendly metals available to a small business such as Aerende. Brass is made by combining already recycled materials (copper and brass) which means it uses fewer natural resources and is far less labour intensive than other options. Also, as it doesn’t rust, it can be recycled over and over at a much lower cost and energy use than other metals. It may not be the cheapest option, or even the easiest to work with, but we love its effect, and its credentials.
If you'd like to see more of our brass items, click here.