Machete, a conscious jewelry and accessories brand founded by Jennifer “JJ” Matchett, was created out of her inability to find the perfect pair of tortoise hoops. She ended up creating the first pair in Atlanta, Georgia from deadstock Acetate sourced at a secondhand store. A few years later, Machete has expanded to hair accessories, eyewear and tech accessories--all made from cellulose Acetate, a natural and renewable material made by extracting cellulose fibers from cotton and wood pulp. We spoke to Jennifer about the brand’s journey.
What inspired you to start making your own jewelry?
At the time I was collecting and selling vintage clothing and traveling to New York and all over the southeast. A good friend of mine encouraged me to try to focus on repurposing vintage jewelry. The first styles sold out within days, and I knew I was on the right path.
What made you decide to source the type of materials that you did--for the earrings that you’re most well-known for, for the rest of the jewelry, and for the packaging?
When I was still collecting vintage, I found a box of completely untouched vintage Benetton glasses, all handmade from Acetate. This set of vintage glasses sparked my initial interest in Acetate and all the different colors and patterns you can create.
What are some of your favorite pieces that Machete has produced?
This might be the hardest for me to answer, I think I have a new favorite every season or every time a new box of samples arrives at the studio. I think this year, it has to be the Sally Sunglasses.
Eyewear has always been a dream of mine to create, so that makes this year extra special! The Sally, in particular, is named after my Aunt Sally who works on a team of researchers who developed one of the COVID-19 vaccines. She’s always inspired me, but this year more than ever.
How does Machete fit into the conversation of environmental responsibility?
We are constantly thinking of new ways to be more responsible from production, shipping, packaging, and around the office. Every season when sourcing new material, we look for the latest technological advances to help us avoid contributing additional waste. In our new Eyewear launch, three of the core colors are made from M49 Acetate. In production the traditional plasticizer used in Acetate is replaced with vegetable-based cellulose, making these frames not only bio-based, but also biodegradable.
How do you implement sustainability practices within your own life?
My family and I try to be extremely thoughtful when we purchase, new or vintage. More than half of my daughter's closet is actually vintage! If we are buying something new, I commit to asking myself if it's something I absolutely love and can see myself not only keeping, but passing down or repurposing later.
Any books, podcasts, or articles you love that have helped further your education on climate and sustainability?
Business of Fashion has been running articles on sustainability that I've found informative but also practical. Most recently, I watched their four-hour live broadcast of panel discussions covering industry transparency, impact from emissions, materials and waste, and workers rights.
What are some brands that you personally are loving right now?
Megan Huntz (Atlanta-made clothing), S.A.R.K. London, and Stella McCartney.