Kinsfolk: weaving Sri Lankan flair and Swiss high-quality

Anyone who lives, or has lived, in Zürich knows that this is a city that requires time to be discovered and that hides rare gems. One of those gems is the Kinsfolk studio, place of the namesake brand founded by Jessica and Josie Fernando who design handmade jewelry and scarves.

The two sisters, born and raised in Zürich, also have Sri Lankan roots and are both very fond to their international origins. The souls of those two countries are at the basis of their entire production. Indeed all the pieces they design are ethically manufactured by small studios in Sri Lanka and other parts of the Indian subcontinent and are mainly sold in Switzerland. Jessica and Josie create timeless and high-quality jewels and scarves with a traditional Sri Lankan touch. They take care of the design process, from the initial sketches and prototypes to the selection of the stones and gems that are going to be used, while their craftsmen in Sri Lanka are in charge to give effectively life to the jewels and scarves. Since the launching ofKinsfolk in 2012, they already released 4 collections: Mount Lavinia, Paradized, Cultural Triangle and Palmyrah. This latest is inspired by the long and elegant leafs of the palms that grown in the Jaffna Region, used by the local women to weave many kinds of products.

Kinsfolk jewels are made of sterling silver and gold-plated silver and some of the collections also comprise blue sapphires, pink quartzes, onyxes and rainbow moonstones. Each product has distinct characteristics and there are no two identical pieces. As you can see from the amazing pictures below, everything is done by hand according to the traditional Sri Lankan techniques. During the production process every single detail is carefully curated by the craftsmen who work with passion to guarantee long lasting jewels. The same approach is applied to the manufacturing of the scarves, realized thanks to the Batik technique. “Sri Lankan Batik has a very old history on the island. Kinsfolk is devoted to preserving the craft of handmade textiles in Sri Lanka combining traditional batik methods with a modern aesthetic. Our goal is to celebrate enduring design that inspires for a lifetime. Our principles are to manufacture ethically, and ensure that artisans earn a sustainable living.” To obtain the patterns and the drawings on the pure silk used to produce the scarves, the artisans use hot wax that – once applied – resists dyes and allows the craftswomen to selectivley color the fabrics. This process requires three main steps: soaking the piece of fabric in a container with the right color, removing the wax using boiled water and repeating the entire process in case of multicolored creations.  This traditional technique requires much love and dedication and to produce a scarf the artisans need almost a day. That is why each piece is very special.

The aspect we loved most in making the interview was discovering how deep the two sisters are bond and how much they are connected with their second homeland. The Sri Lankan flair flows in their veins and that is what makes their creations very special, particularly in Switzerland. To buy their jewels you can go visit the shops in Zürich (QwstionOpia, Einzigart) or the ones in Lucern (Die Handlung) and Basel (Ooid Store). But if you are not based in Switzerland don’t worry because you can directly buy from theironline shop. Before concluding our brief journey through Kinsfolk world we would like to share with you some upcoming events. As you know it’s again the season of design fairs and events around Europe; when in Switzerland you can find Jessica and Josie creations to the following design and lifestyle events: Designgut (Winterthur) and Blickfang (Zürich). Until the end of August you can also find Kinsfolk at “Der Salon“, the concept store of Modissa in Bahnhofstrasse 74 (Zürich).

Photo credits: Kinsfolk

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Kinsfolk social media channels: Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram


  1. Highlights from Designgut | The Design pot

    […] and Jessica from Kinsfolk, a designer duo based in Zürich who produces high-quality jewels and scarves with Sri Lankan […]

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