Talking to Naqiyah Sultan about KASHKA
Here at Seekd, we love showcasing independent designers that share our sustainable and ethical vision. One of our favourite designers, KASHKA, creates stunning minimalist jewellery with mixed metals and hand-hammered textures. However, despite KASHKA’s beautiful creations, what we love the most is the ethical drive behind their work. They ensure that from the first spark of design inspiration to the final sparkling product, there is no child labour, harm to the environment, mass-produced products, or unfairly paid workers. We caught up with KASHKA’s fabulous founder, Naqiyah Sultan, to find out more about her incredible story.
What did you want to be when you were younger - and how has your journey brought you to where you are today, with your own fair trade jewellery brand?
Even though we officially started trading in 2016, you could argue that KASHKA has been alive for almost as long as I have. I first saw the word ‘Kashka’ in a magazine at the age of sixteen and, from that point on, I dreamt about one day owning a business with the same name.
It took a few decades to turn that dream into reality, but I always knew that this wasn’t going to be just any business. Regardless of what KASHKA was going to become, I knew it had to make a difference, make people happy and have meaning and heart - whilst also being true to myself.
Being true to myself is the reason why KASHKA is a jewellery brand. My academic background is in History of Art, Gemmology and Anthropology, which exposed me to the harsh realities of the jewellery industry and its mining practices. I thought it was awful, and believed there had to be a better way to produce pretty, good quality jewellery at no sacrifice to the people making it or the environment.
What are your major influences in the industry, or people that inspire you?
Innovative jewellery designers and makers such as Sonia Cheadle, Kyosun Jung, and The Rockhound for the colour combinations Susie uses, and her integrity to fairly sourced material. In the age of digital, I respect traditional making skills and I’m glad to see it alive and healthy within the industry.
Being a history buff, vintage jewellery stores across the city make my heart sing and I can wile away quite a few Saturdays window browsing.
What are your favourite materials in your designs?
Pearls! Though we don't incorporate them at the moment, there are unique stones such as Tsavorite garnet and demantoid garnet that make me happy. Sitting with them, looking into the stones and seeing what mother nature has created is just humbling.
What are you most passionate about with your work? What’s next for KASHKA?
We are currently working on a new line which will be a welcome change in direction for KASHKA. This change will see us incorporate healing stones and 14-carat gold into our jewellery for the first time. Going forward, this will become our core collection that will sit alongside a smaller, fairmined collection that features our current bestsellers and new products that will gradually get added to it. This change in direction will transform KASHKA into a holistic and wellbeing brand, whilst still incorporating our signature style.
Why are you excited to be part of Seekd?
As a new platform and a young brand I am proud to be part of Seekd, reaching new audiences and priding ourselves on selling unique, inspiring products alongside other incredible independent brands.
Inspired by Naqiyah? Browse our collection of KASHKA’s jewellery here and own a piece of her gorgeous ethically-produced work for yourself.