“Sustainability, as it pertains to fashion, is kind of a turn-off for people,” says actress Nikki Reed. “It’s kind of taboo and not a lot of people want to approach that. Instead of giving up, I tried to find new avenues in.” She's talking, of course, about her lifestyle brand BaYou With Love, which released its first collection of sustainable engagement and wedding rings this week.
Each 14-18k gold band is created from the motherboards of recycled Dell computers, and the downtown Los Angeles factory that manufactures the jewelry was handpicked by Reed for its sustainable practices. To avoid detrimental mining practices, the diamonds are made in a laboratory.
BaYou With Love actually started as a result of Reed's own curiosity. When she was pregnant (Reed and her husband, actor Ian Somerhalder, welcomed their first child last year), she became hyper-aware of all the chemicals going into—and on—her body. When she couldn’t find products that suited her, she made them. Now ranging from clothing to beauty, jewellery, and home products, the brand makes products focused on “creating a space for people to feel like you could shift their decision-making in the way they consume, and not in a way that feels daunting,” says Reed. “I think as soon as people are given a better option, they do want to choose the better option.”
In her daily life, Reed practices what she preaches. “You can use a reusable beeswax saran wrap and have two of them and wash them, and you’ll never have to use seran wrap again.” she says. “Do you have to put your recycling in a plastic bag that’s gonna go into the trash, or are you gonna use a cardboard box and just put your things in it and take it out to recycle?”
Reed cites Bea Johnson's book, Zero Waste Living, as the inspiration for minimizing her own carbon footprint. “Once you open your mind to the endless possibilities of ways you can contribute back to the planet, you find that it’s actually quite easy,” she says. “We’re all contributing to the degradation of our planet in some way, shape, form. We all are. To what degree varies on how conscious each person is of their footprint.”
And while she loves the planet and does her part, diamonds are still a girl’s best friend, right? “The biggest misconception is that sustainability and luxury cannot coexist. It is an absolute myth, and as you see from our jewelry—every piece is 14-18k gold—no one is compromising on that.”