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abd culture: riding sustainability with alixandra klein

abd culture: riding sustainability with alixandra klein

photo by @mattphogan


alixandra klein, the founder of abd culture, shares her adventurous personality and the story behind her jewelry line. the brand incorporates alix's life experiences in various ways. materials are sourced from bike adventures with her partner, her mother's influence on jewelry, design shapes inspired by daily encounters with nature, her sense of community, the spirit of eco-consciousness, and a non-conforming lifestyle.


the late bloomer

in her twenties, alix klein treasured a remarkable chapter despite societal pressure to achieve early milestones. identifying as a late bloomer, she drew inspiration from "the late bloomer," a children's book about a tiger finding its roar later in life. this metaphor highlighted that personal growth doesn't follow a fixed timeline.


“leo the late bloomer” by robert kraus


during her college years, she experienced pressure to excel in her meticulous artistic pursuits. despite challenges, she valued immersing herself fully in her creative pursuits, embracing her unique pace of development.

her thirties became a time of self-discovery and growth, where she honed her skills and refined her craft. this personal journey shaped the designer she has become today.


journey to artistry

alix studied art education at pratt institute, specializing in ceramics and jewelry. her interest in design sparked during her first jewelry class, where she created a brass cuffs using a fragment of band coral. encouraged by positive feedback, she started exploring jewelry making further.

although her original aspiration was to become an art teacher, various signs hinted at her destiny to design. at a party, she noticed her friend wearing a distinctive up-cycled rubber inner tube earrings that caught her attention. after taking a closer look, alix recognized the potential and thought to herself, "i could create something similar.”

after her father's passing, alix faced a period of immense upheaval, which prompted her to rebuild her life from scratch. in the midst of this challenging time, she found an opportunity for new beginnings. after careful consideration, she decided to explore uncharted paths and enrolled in a laser cutting class focused on jewelry making. during this experience, she experimented with prototyping and became proficient in using lasers to cut rubber for jewelry. this marked a significant turning point in her work and expanded the range of creative possibilities.

the culture

abd culture, features distinctive collections of eco-fashion accessories, giving new life to bicycle inner tubes that have reached the end of their road. these materials are transformed into waterproof, lightweight, and elegantly designed necklaces, earrings and bracelets.

cluster flower rubber bracelet and earrings


abd culture embodies a spirit of eco-consciousness and non-conformity. they’re proudly members of the 1% for the planet! (members commit to donating at least 1% of annual sales directly to environmental organizations.)


what is the design process behind your creations?

jewelry designs pop into my head at the most random times. from a walk in the woods, to grueling hill climbs on my bike, to sitting at the kitchen table browsing fashion magazines and of course, driving down the interstate to the next destination. once there is a compelling shape, i draw it out in my sketchbook and take it to adobe iIlustrator. i make it into a stencil and download it to my laser cutter, processing the inner tube and watching the plain tube turn into lightweight statement pieces.


the process of cutting designs using laser.


can you share some examples of the most interesting or unique materials you have recycled or reworked, and what drew you to these materials?

i have used leather from hobo original bag samples and mostly rubber tubes. the bike tubes were easy to gather because my husband and I are avid mountain bikers. we have also cut saris from India and made wood displays and ornaments.


photography by leticia ferraz


can you share any memorable experiences or stories from your journey as a fashion designer, such as collaborations, fashion shows, or impactful moments that have shaped your career?

i was recognized by my roommate for my talent in jewelry design, and she commissioned me to create the jewelry for her senior pratt fashion show. throughout my career, i have collaborated with various organizations and brands such as yoga for cancer, mountain flow riders, vermont yoga be true festival, red flower lake music, POW/VEC surfboards, and human design bodygraph earrings.

as for impactful moments in my career; it all started when I was invited to burning man and needed a gift to give, so i made hand-cut rubber feathers. fast forward, i learned about production and laser cutters from the generator, makerspace in burlington, vt. in 2014, my husband and I went on an epic sales trip to the rockies and opened 40 new accounts. i have been written about in outside online, and in 2020, in the midst of the pandemic, i was a title nine pitchfest winner. most recently, i opened an account with rei, williston.


would you like to experiment with different materials?

we're currently working on leather swatches and actively seeking partners who can provide colorful leather scraps. my husband is researching latex options. additionally, we're exploring recycled acrylic, envisioning small squares of various colored plastic, slightly see-through and transparent. these pieces could be used for unique fashion items, maybe halter tops and statement pieces.


photography by leticia ferraz


what can we expect from your brand in the near future, and what projects are you currently working on?

collaborations play a significant role for us. we're involved in teaching initiatives, as people are increasingly curious about our creative process. a school in colorado has invited me to speak to their class, and my alma mater, where my art teacher still teaches, wants me to address her class. we've even taken our trailer studio on the road, offering demos and inviting people inside to experience the unique space we've built. just looking on the horizons to grow.


interviewed by leticia ferraz
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