It’s not often that the fashion industry rallies around larger social issues, like gun control. But on Monday evening it did, to toast the launch of new jewelry brand Liberty United—a line founded by Ethos Water founder Peter Thum. Liberty’s premise is to reduce gun violence by releasing capsule collections created of recycled gun material, designed by an array of esteemed jewelers, with proceeds then benefitting a variety of grassroots anti-violence programs. While the model is not unlike Newark mayor Corey Booker’s own accessory outing, Liberty boasts some of the fashion industry’s finest names. First up to the collaborative bat is Giles & Brother, the earthy, metal-heavy contemporary label by brother-sister duo Philip and Courtney Crangi.
Thum is a longtime social reformer, having created Ethos (which he sold to Starbucks in 2005, later becoming the coffee magnate’s Vice President), as well as jewelry line Fonderie 47, which is nearly identical to Liberty, except rather than sourcing its materials domestically, it does so from African child militias. “We basically take recycled guns and bullets and make it into jewelry and then sell that jewelry and use that to fund anti-gun-violence projects,” Thum told The Daily Beast of his latest project at Liberty’s launch event on Monday evening. “We are working on reducing gun violence in this country, we are not creating legislature, but in some ways we are building a movement—we are offering people an opportunity to express themselves both visually and emotionally.”
For his own part in the brand’s launch, Philip Crangi decided to offer Liberty’s inaugural consumers some of his own brand’s best-of’s. He’s used the materials that Thum has sourced to create Giles & Brother’s signature nail-head bangles and rings, as well as its drill-bit pendants. “After Newtown in January, I felt like I needed to make some use of my talents—be what they may—to effect some change in the world,” Crangi told The Daily Beast of his enthusiasm behind the project.”I think that we are able to do something super direct with this, and really put our money where our mouth is. We always joke, ‘It’s just jewelry, it’s just fashion. We’re not saving lives.’ But actually, now we have that opportunity.”