Based in the East African country of Burundi, Margaux Wong is an innovative design hub where artisans have been transforming discarded cow horn and brass into luxurious, wearable art since the brand launched in 2001. Founder and Creative Director Margaux Rusita originally hails from Guyana, South America, and relocated to Burundi in 2009. Both her long-term residences have served as sources of inspiration for Rusita when designing her signature body adornments—many of her designs reference the natural beauty of both countries, and are an ode to the traditional jewelry worn by indigenous communities.
All of the materials used in Rusita’s designs are recycled, reused or are biodegradable, and local artisans are central to both the design process and the Margaux Wong brand:using traditional East African techniques, craftspeople work with raw materials to produce the sustainable statement jewelry the brand is recognized for. From gleaming neckpieces to armour-like arm cuffs, Rusita’s sculptural creations lend its wearer a look that is opulent and regal while remaining distinctly wearable.
At the core of the Magraux Wong brand lies a mission to help influence and support a sustainable fashion industry across the African continent, and to push African brands towards long-term global consideration and recognition. “I have been working with sustainable materials for almost 20 years,” Rusita’s told Nataal of these efforts. “I have used found objects from every beach I’ve ever visited—shells, bamboo, sticks and glass. We also work hard to ensure that we have as little waste as possible by using left-over brass from previous collections to furnish new pieces.”
- Ethical Fashion Initiative Accelerator Program, 2019