Words by Samantha Leese
Twin sisters, Tida & Lisa Finch know a thing or two about selling jewelry for a purpose. When their mother fled Laos in the aftermath of the war in Vietnam, she sold a necklace she had hidden in her shoe to pay for dressmaking lessons that she would use to support her family. The sisters, who live and work in London, founded Finchittida shortly after graduating from University of the Arts London with design degrees in 2012. Their mission was to create a game-changing, purpose-driven brand with products as cool as its ethos.
In the past three years, their elegant pieces have won the jewelry designers a celebrity following and a commission from Hollywood: Finchittida created a bridal headdress, laser cut from silver mirror Perspex, for Mila Kunis to wear in her role as Queen of the Universe in the 2015 film Jupiter Ascending.
Finchittida’s fourth collection, Culture Clash, launched at London Fashion Week this September, fuses intricate design methods and motifs from across three continents: Asia, Europe and South America.
Fresh from a month-long trip to Laos in April, the sisters encountered a Chilean artisan, Marcelo Martinez of Nativo Copper, whose handcrafted jewelry is inspired by his travels in South America. “Our vision was to reinvent his traditional methods of woven metals in a [contemporary] London style and combine them with our Lao motifs,” Lisa says, “to create a really fierce, fashion- forward collection.”
Of their own mixed heritage (their father is British), Tida and Lisa say they had always longed to connect with the Southeast Asian part of their identity while growing up in London. “Our way of
doing this is through fashion,” Tida says. “We love the concept of yin and yang; balance is everything.”
Tida and Lisa have partnered with the Mines Advisory Group (MAG) in Laos to support the clearance of bombs in their mother’s homeland. Some two million tonnes of ordnance were dropped on Laos during the Vietnam War—the most ever per capita. When the twins discovered that one third of these had been left dangerously unexploded, Lisa says, “It was definitely a question of how do we help, and not whether we should.”
For every piece of jewelry Finchittida sells, one square meter of land is made safe for future generations. So if you don their new engraved dragon hoop earrings, for example, you’ll both be a beautiful vision and help the Finch sisters realize their beautiful vision of a bomb-free Laos.
OCTOBER 2015 / TRAVELANDLEISUREASIA.COM