We had the good fortune of connecting with Emily Peters and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Emily, how does your business help the community?
The fashion industry is one of the dirtiest businesses in the world. The industrialized processes throughout every stage of production in the clothing and adornment industries pollute our ecosystems and endanger the lives of those least able to effect change or fight against the many exploitations that penetrate the fashion supply chain. For these reasons, I started my urban artisan workshop – Atelier E – as an example of the real possibilities available to us for a clean, healthy world and mutually beneficial existence. Through Atelier E, I use my creative expression as an active and living illustration of what it looks like to move away from the harmful practices of industrialized fashion that are a modern-day continuation of colonization, and towards a localized, sustainable, decolonized fashion industry. At my workshop, I am the artisan. I hand-make all of my jewelry and clothing designs. The metals I use to create my adornments are either reclaimed or mined using sustainable and conflict-free methods. The fabrics are upcycled, organic, and/or sustainably grown and produced. The dye process I use is a low-water, low-energy, modified Japanese method which requires no toxic chemicals or heavy metals. The dyes themselves are non-toxic too, and are derived from plant or mineral sources. Where the fashion industry makes too much of everything and then markets to artificially create the demand, I create limited quantities and make according to order so waste is limited, and energy and resources are conserved. Our Earth is in distress, our neighbors and fellow Human beings are needlessly suffering, and it’s time for us to change the way we consume. We can adorn ourselves and express our personalities through fashion in a way that sustains the Earth and does not exploit her peoples. The choice is quite easy, and so is the change in purchasing and consumption habits. Please join me and Atelier E in choosing a clean world, a healthy world, a beautiful world.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
My work is inspired by sound and vibration. Along with design and artisan creation through Atelier E, I am a singer and musician. . . I am both artist and musician equally. Through both creative acts, I love to play within the subtle nuance of minimalism. So much can be said with a simple shape, the form and weight of a line, the depth of only a few colors. The conversation of my works centers vibration and our relationship with the Earth. As is the case with most creative professionals, the journey has been difficult and even discouraging. When I first opened Atelier E 11 years ago, I had to hold odd jobs to make ends meet, and I even had to place my first loves (art and music) in the background for a few years in favor of financial stability. In most professions, a person goes to work and can expect to be paid for their work without any second thought or question. In the creative professions, this is largely, and unfortunately not our experience. Our current societal values don’t include creativity, art, and design in the realm of necessity, and so, creative professionals are expected to work for free or for less than their time and expertise are worth. On the whole, we work more and are paid less. Now that sustainability is fashionable (or at least more so than it has been!) I am finding more ease in sustaining my small artisan workshop. As societal structures move from top-heavy triangular models to egalitarian circular ones, I no longer have to hold two to four jobs to support myself. Makers’ markets, internet platforms like this one, and direct-to-consumer marketplace apps all work together in favor of the full sustainability of creative professions like mine. I now have full hope that my creative works will be received in a way that not only beautifies the world and uplifts spirits, but also nourishes my life and the continuation of my ability to share my talents.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
+ The beach! Nothing compares to salty waves and warming Sun for full relaxation and rejuvenation.
+ Urban farms and plant nurseries like: Earth n Us Farm, Finca Morada, Aloha Redland, and Little River Co-op are great destinations for fresh veggies, workshops, and community events.
+ Local shops like: PIVOT market and Mima Market carry locally and ethically made goods
+ For exquisite local art, Collective 62, a compound of studios and independent art space, is the place to support Miami artists.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My first thanks go to our living, breathing, generous Earth. Without the lessons I learned directly from nature, I would be poor in every way. To those who came before me . . . My grandparents who were arborists and conservationists, protectors and cultivators of community. Their children – my parents, aunts and uncles – who continue to be shining examples of creativity, benevolence, and generosity. My formal teachers, who taught me all the skills that I now use and embody. Thank you! May your knowledge, both of mind and heart, live on through me.
Anna Barnat: ( the first photo you used (my headshot)
All photos by the Designer, Emily Peters