Style

For EDAS Designer Sade Mims, Sustainability Is Always The Starting Point

By Sajae Elder

When Sade Mims first began creating accessories, her designs started with small everyday items taken beyond their immediate use into something with endless possibilities. “I was literally making items out of everything: things I found at my old job, things from my parents' place,” Mims explains. “It was a non-traditional, self-taught kind of journey. I was always someone who loved to work with my fingers and my hands.” Making her first pieces from materials like paper and cardboard, Mims says her earliest inspirations were her family; parents, aunts, and uncles who took pride in looking good before stepping out. “My family is very powerful in terms of style,” she explained. “It just sparked something in me to even be a designer.”

Today, her brand EDAS produces an array of accessories featuring everything from jewelry to home decor items. With pieces made from a wide range of materials including metals, beading, clay and leather, each collection brims with muted or warm earthy tones and fine detailing.

While some of her latest pieces see her designs moving slowly into utilitarian apparel, her love of accessories came before anything else. “I love the idea that accessories have the final say in an outfit,” she explains. “It’s the final piece you add to make or break a look, and something about that is so powerful to me. Also this idea that an accessory becomes unique to the person wearing it — they don’t become complete until they’re worn, so they’re unfinished pieces until they’re worn on a human body.”

Mims pulls inspiration from a number of places that are close to her heart, including her hometown of Lansdowne, PA, where she says she shot the lookbook for her Their collection. “It was a significant place for me because I grew up there. We went to their reservoirs and shot there, and this old movie theatre,” she says. “The collections always have a deeper rooted story behind them but they change from collection to collection.”

Currently based in New York, Mims’ new city breathes life into her work in a particular way. From her days interning at the now defunct Dirty Librarian Chains alongside designer Susan Domelsmith, Mims says the city continues to offer her plenty to work with. “New York is always a place I knew I wanted to live in, ever since I was a little girl,” she explains. “Just the vast amount of different cultures and people that engage with living here. It opens my mind even when I’m unaware of it.”

By making the most of her surroundings, and the materials they provide, Mims also developed a built-in ethos of sustainability for her brand. Unlike fast fashion, many smaller brands rely on a much tighter supply chain and fewer stocked products. For Mims, working in small batch orders, manufactured after orders are placed, helps her maintain the ideal balance of maintaining her growing business and avoid overproduction. “I grew up in a household where you don’t waste food, you don’t throw away the lotion until you open up the top. That way of being raised is how I started to design,” she explains. “This is a running theme for Black artists in general who lack of resources. You get creative and crafty. You don’t have as much access as other folks may, so inevitably, whether you realize it or not, we’re already sustainable by using the materials available to us.”

With EDAS largely reflecting Sade’s own vintage personal style, twin sister Samantha is a skin therapist that the designer says acts as an “inspiration and sounding board” for ambitious new designs thanks to their shared love of nostalgia. “She’s my twin, so we speak the same language,” she said. “Any time I design something, I have to have her involved. That’s where we mesh really beautifully, we both gravitate towards old things.”

Mims describes her creative design process as visceral, hoping to connect with her buyers from the moment an idea comes to her. “I want people to feel about my work, because that’s how I create,” she explains. “It’s literally from the top of my head, to the bottom of my feet.”